Naftali Bennet is convincing me

4 Jan

When it comes to who I would vote for in the upcoming Israeli elections, my choice has been quite clear: Tzipi Livni.

This is because of several reasons: she seems more serious about the peace process than Shelly Yachmovich of the Labor party. She is an established political figure compared to a lot of others in the left, she also seems very serious about the issues of sharing the burden of national service with others who don’t go to the army or perform national service duties ie. majority of the haredi religious minority and Israeli Arabs. Add to all that is her experience as a foreign minister, a role in which I believe she performed well.

But now thanks to Habayit Hayehudi party’s head Naftali Bennett, I am starting to have doubts about my choice.

I have been watching his debates and his interviews over the last number of months. He believes that we need to build more settlements and to annex 60% of the West Bank for a variety of reasons, including to defend ourselves against fundamentalists in Egypt, and yes, you guessed it right, because of Iran. Watch the scary Iranian tank thunder across the border in his party’s promotional video.

So let me get this straight: he is basically saying that houses full of Israeli women and children in annexed parts of the West Bank will defend us against Iran’s “invading army” ?

So if in what he believes to be the likely scenario of Iran’s tanks reaching Iran’s border, then invading Iraq, then invading Jordan, we are going to throw Israeli women and children living in annexed parts of West Bank at those tanks in order to defend ourselves. Otherwise why else would Bennet see their presence as “contribution” to our security against Iran’s invading tanks? what other security contribution would they make to the state of Israel?

Sorry, that is not how we operate.

Houses full of women and children in annexed parts of West Bank are not for security, because the Israeli Defense Forces does not use its own population as human shield. Bennet is using security as an excuse. He wants to annex 60% of West Bank so that he fulfills his religious dream. This is about religion, not about security. If only army bases were in the West Bank, like there were only army bases in south Lebanon before we withdrew (and no settlements) then I would have had more time for the security argument. But not when it comes to Bennet’s arguments regarding the West Bank.

But you could say Bennet is not alone, Netanyahu and Lieberman have been saying the same.

Yes they have. But they are not as religious as Bennet. Also neither have called for annexation of 60% of the West Bank. Yes, I am going to say it: compared to Bennet, Netanyahu and Lieberman are more moderate. I can’t even believe that I am saying it, but its true.

I saw a short clip of his debate with Yossi Beilin (in Hebrew starting from 0:47 minute), one of the chief architects of the Oslo peace process. Bennett doesn’t mince his words, he says that Beilin should apologize for the Oslo accords and the “disaster which it has brought for Israel”.

Note the words “apologize” and “disaster”.

Imagine if we would have still controlled Gaza and all of the West Bank. With the Israeli tax payer funding all the security and food costs for all the 4 million Palestinians and with Israel being a pariah state. Bennet prefers that to Oslo which although has had its challenges, has made life better than before for Israel’s citizens and for some Palestinians.

Now Bennet wants to reverse as much as he can of that, by annexing 60% of the West Bank.

He will do well to remember the words “apologize” and “disaster” as he will need the first while we in Israel will be subject to the second.

Naftali Bennet, with his meteoric rise and his policies is convincing me, that my country is facing strategic disaster. I haven’t even begun to describe the opposition of his party to Gay marriage.

Suddenly, Tzipi Livni looks politically less attractive. I need to be honest, I am now more inclined to vote Meretz. Naftali Bennet is convincing me.

5 Responses to “Naftali Bennet is convincing me”

  1. Uri Schneider January 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Meir – I’m sorry but your analysis is rather poor and shallow and full of demagoguery. You are portraying a completely inaccurate picture of Naftali Bennett’s views. I urge you to read/listen to his words in more depth rather than taking a cartoon literally or face-value. Naftali Bennet’s platform is based on a notion that territorial concessions at this time will not bring peace or security – on the contrary. Based on the actions of the Palestinians he concluded that there’s no real solution to this conflict in our generation that will ensure Israel’s security while maintaining our own self-determination. Of course that’s a debatable point of view and you’re more than welcome to argue why you disagree.

    As far as I know, Bennett is basing this conclusion on the previous experience we had in Gaza for example and on the Palestinians’ own statements and actions. Hamas is not interested in peace with Israel that leaves room for an independent Israel with Jewish self-determination. The probability of Hamas taking over the West Bank AFTER a peace-deal with Fatah is agreed upon for large territorial concessions is HUGE. He can factually defend his notions. Hopefully you can too by presenting facts and logical arguments rather than inaccurately simplifying Bennett’s entire ideological platform – which is not hidden and mostly available online — into a slide from a cartoon which you chose to highlight.

    As if you really believe that Naftali Bennett actually thinks that “settler civilians will physically protect us from invading Iranian tanks – or “ … he believes to be the likely scenario of Iran’s tanks reaching Iran’s border, then invading Iraq, then invading Jordan, we are going to throw Israeli women and children living in annexed parts of West Bank at those tanks in order to defend ourselves” – as you put it. Give me a break!

    What Bennet claims – since the symbolism of the Iranian tank in the cartoon evaded you — is that by turning the entire West Bank into an independent Palestine we will further deteriorate Israel’s security position because that
    1. will enable the Palestinians to amass a regular army against us,
    2. to facilitate Iran’s destructive influence in the West Bank just like in Gaza,
    3. and the danger of 4-5 millions descendants of 1948 refugees flood the West Bank and the spill-over effects of this into Israel which will likely lead to Israel’s demise.
    4. Hamas may take over and the war to “liberate” the rest of Israel will go into the next stage. Hamas is not differentiating between the West Bank and the rest of Israel. Don’t take my word for it, listen to their own words and texts and look at their actions.

    Don’t you think that these four factors are plausible and a threat to the self-determination of the Jewish people in Israel, especially if we opt for Meretz’s policies which you now apparently support?

  2. Lokshin January 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Dear Mr. Naftali Brnnrtt,

    You can get more seats in Knesstif if You will insist on discussion and prove Your attitude, but nevetheless Mr. Netanyahu will never connect with Your party because Your party are right and big.
    If You want to realize Your conception You must meet with me.

    Yours sincerely
    Vladimir Lokshin

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Israel Coalition Talks: Anyone Remember Iran? | The Iran-Israel Observer - February 24, 2013

    […] As I wrote before, there are quite a few aspects of Naftali Bennet’s political platform which I am against. But I must admit that Bennet’s unity with Lapid and his insistence and steadfastness against joining Netanyahu unless he allows Lapid into the coalition plus his demand for equal draft laws for all in Israel have been quite impressive. […]

  2. Naftali Bennet takes on Netanyahu, and wins | The Iran-Israel Observer - January 30, 2014

    […] its important to remember that the Bayit Hayehudi party is much more right wing than Likud.  Among other things, it has advocated annexing 60% of […]

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