“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
Main topics covered in this Publication:
- Netanyahu-Trump Meeting
- Evacuation of Amona and controversial Regulation
- Another War in the Gaza Strip?
- Selection of Articles
More than a symbol
(…) For Trump to set a meeting with Netanyahu so quickly after taking office carries symbolic meaning for both Israel and its leader, and emphasizes that Israel is the superpower’s most important ally. (…) A vast majority of those in Congress see Israel as a key, irreplaceable ally and a partner in the values of freedom. The American defense establishment sees us similarly. Now the top of the pyramid is joining them, and he is not hampered by ideological blindness. He clearly sees who the Middle East good guys and bad guys are. (…) The meeting between Netanyahu and Trump will put a lock on the past eight years and usher in a new chapter in the history of our region. (…) The time has come to put pressure on these who really sow murder and put world peace at risk: the various Islamic terrorist organizations, from Hamas to Hezbollah, and dark regimes like the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas and, of course, the evildoers in Tehran. (…) What’s more, the Americans will no longer see the Jewish hold on Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria as something to be condemned. (…)
Ariel Bolstein, IHY, 01.02.17
Netanyahu and Trump: A relationship based on flattery and groveling
(…) Netanyahu, who always argued that his murky relationship with the previous president was not his fault but Barack Obama’s, will do anything to ensure that the new president looks like his best friend, partner and supporter. (…) But it seems that with Trump, like with Netanyahu, flattery and groveling generate the opposite outcome. And the closer and more loyal the flatterer, the faster he is betrayed and thrown to the dogs. When the Israeli Right rejoiced after the elections and increased the pressure to expand settlement construction, move the US embassy to Jerusalem, confiscate land, and legalize outposts, Netanyahu told everyone to calm down and asked them not to present Trump with difficult facts. In other words, let him carry out what he promised in his own time. (…) The flattery reached new heights with Netanyahu’s miserable tweet, in which he first of all praised himself, but also flattered Trump on the future construction of a wall on the Mexico border. (…) At the same time, a storm began washing though the world. By signing an executive order banning the entry of citizens of seven countries defined as infected by terrorism, the Trump administration enraged nearly the entire world, apart from Israel. (…) Almost all governments in the world issued a condemnation. (…) And the Israeli government, led by Netanyahu, is silent. (…) It is very tempting to define Netanyahu’s silence in light of the violence, racism and even anti-Semitism of the new administration as an attempt to satisfy Trump with flattery and support to achieve practical goals in the future. A more thorough examination reveals a concerning suspicion that there is more to it than a dirty tactic.
Sima Kadmon, YED, 07.02.17
(…) When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in the US capital next week, he will be greeted by the most supportive political climate Israel has ever seen in Washington. (…) radical Jewish groups have been unsuccessful in rallying the more moderate leftist Jewish leadership to their cause. Case in point is the widespread support Trump’s appointment of David Friedman to serve as his ambassador to Israel is receiving from the community. (…) Given this political climate, Netanyahu must use his meeting with Trump to develop a working alliance to secure Israel’s long-term strategic interests both on issues of joint concern and on issues that concern Israel alone. The first issue on the agenda must be Iran. (…) Then there is Syria. And Russia. (…) Netanyahu must present Trump with a viable plan to reconstitute US-Russian ties in exchange for Russian abandonment of its alliance with Tehran and its cooperation with Iran and Hezbollah in Syria.(…) Then there are the Sunnis. For the past six years, Netanyahu successfully withstood Obama’s pressure by developing an informal alliance with Sunni regimes that share its opposition to Iran and to the Muslim Brotherhood. (…) Will Trump push Israel to make concessions to the PLO or won’t he? The short answer is that it doesn’t appear that Trump has the slightest intention of doing so. (…) Not only did the administration’s statement not reject Israel’s right to build new communities, it rejected completely the position of Trump’s predecessors that Israeli communities are an obstacle to peace. (…) Trump and his top advisers have made clear that they see no upside to US support for the PLO. (…) The administration’s desire to disengage from the PLO is well aligned with Israel’s strategic interests. No good has ever come to Israel from US support for the PLO. (…)
Caroline B. Glick, JPO, 09.02.17
First Netanyahu-Trump meeting will focus on Iran, not Gaza
(…) Iran has two bitter enemies in Trump’s cabinet: Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. They both fought in Iraq a decade ago—Mattis as a division commander, Flynn as a senior intelligence officer. They saw with their own eyes Iranians killing American soldiers, intentionally. They have not forgiven the Iranians. (…) When it comes to Iran, these two side with Netanyahu. (…) He has a golden opportunity here. He must not succeed too much, however. If he convinces Trump to bomb Iran, the immediate Iranian response won’t be on American soil but in Israel, in the form of thousands of rockets that will be launched from Lebanon and Syria. In addition, when the war will get more complicated, as wars do, the war opponents in America will point an accusing finger at Israel.
Nahum Barnea, YED, 12.02.17
Israel treating Trump stupidly
Less than a month after taking office, President Trump is rapidly back-tracking on his campaign promises concerning Israel, including moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, approving settlement expansion in the West Bank and abandoning the two-state “solution.” Why? The inauguration of the Trump (…) was followed by euphoria on the part of Israelis in general and a massive display of hubris on the part of the government in Jerusalem. Without giving the administration even the courtesy of waiting until the prime minister had met with Trump (…) politicians such as Naftali Bennett are exacerbating the folly by threatening Netanyahu with violent retribution if he retreats even one centimeter from those premature measures. Such behavior would seriously annoy even a new president less prickly than Trump, who is notoriously sensitive to perceived slights. (…) It may be that the PM is trying to divert attention from what may be an impending indictment for corruption, as well as protecting his right flank. But the motive doesn’t matter. What matters is that such behavior is incredibly stupid and counter-productive and is a terrible start for what looked like what was going to be an excellent bilateral relationship for the next four or eight years. (…)
Norman Bailey, GLO, 12.02.17
Seeing eye to eye
(…). Trump campaigned on setting a different tone with Israel, promising to upgrade the relationship in both substance and attitude. (…).The early timing of the visit seems to reflect its importance for both leaders. Even if no major announcements are made, the meeting presents an opportunity to demonstrate a new, friendlier mood at the very outset of Trump’s presidency. (…) Trump shares Israel’s concern over the destabilizing effect of Iranian influence in the region. (…) The only conceivable future for the Golan Heights is under Israeli rule. This simple fact should be clarified during Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump. (…) Today it is clear to all that, in any conceivable arrangement that redraws the borders of a disintegrating Syria, the Golan Heights must remain an integral part of the State of Israel. (…) Clearly Trump and Netanyahu see eye to eye on this issue, because stability in the region is not just an Israeli interest – it is an American one as well.
Editorial, JPO, 14.02.17
Trump-Netanyahu: How to avoid previous setbacks
(…) If, indeed, the new Trump Administration aims at leading an effort to facilitate Israeli-Palestinian peace, it should take into consideration lessons drawn from past failures. (…) The United States should pursue an Israeli commitment not to establish or permit the building of Israeli settlements outside pre-defined major settlement blocs east of the security barrier. In return, the international community should be ready to differentiate between settlement activity within and outside the blocs rather than adopt the notion that all settlements ‘have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation under international law’ or present a ‘major obstacle to peace’, as recently stipulated in UNSCR 2334. At the same time, the U.S. should guarantee to Israel to veto any UN Resolution that will impose a final arrangement on the parties. (…) President Trump is well positioned to recognize that economic development in the Palestinian territories is one key-element for shaping the region’s stability. A third party initiative for a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Palestinian development, preferably led by the U.S., should invite the relatively moderate Sunni-Arab states to be partners of Israelis and Palestinians, rewarding an Israeli diplomatic commitment by publicly acknowledging joint strategic interests and strong security cooperation in the region. (…) In conclusion, President Trump should carefully craft the U.S.-led third party’s effort in pursuing the trend for an Israeli-Palestinian two-state reality. Peace is still possible. (…) The formula of “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, applied in Camp David 2000 and the subsequent 2008 Annapolis talks should be replaced by the credo “whatever is agreed will be implemented.”
Gilead Sher and Jonathan Heuberger, TOI, 14.02.17
Trump will be the arbitrator between Israel’s petty rivals
It’s as if we’ve sent our prime minister into the heart of darkness (…), Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to warn his rivals on the fervent right that Israel shouldn’t get into a confrontation with the new U.S. administration lest the Americans pull the pin out of the hand grenade. Suddenly the right wing’s (…) bursting with doubts about the “deal” on the Middle East that the businessman sitting in Washington has in his head. For the left wing, all this provides a brief moment of pleasure. After all, the Trump administration has now said that new construction in West Bank settlements wouldn’t be helpful to the peace process and that it has a vision to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This comes from a president who basically shifts positions every other day; which of Trump’s statements can be relied on? (…) does Trump support a two-state solution to the conflict? (…) In Washington, Netanyahu will be encountering a situation of uncertainty. (…) In the meantime, Netanyahu’s real problem isn’t Trump (…) but rather the “hilltop youth” ideology in the Knesset and the real estate gangs in the settlements. Netanyahu is trapped in a situation where he should ask Trump to pull his chestnuts out of the fire, but he doesn’t even know which chestnuts belong to him. Should he be inviting American pressure to counter the headlong rush of his political rivals? (…) Netanyahu will be considered the one giving Trump the keys controlling domestic Israeli politics. From now on, Trump will be the arbitrator – not when it comes to international conflicts, but among petty rivals that have turned the country into a punching bag. It’s hard to remember another time when Israel was in such a weak situation vis-à-vis the United States. (…)
Zvi Bar´el, HAA, 15.02.17
Mr. President, take the money you give Israel and run
Dear Mr. President, Prime Minister Netanyahu is on his way to you this very moment. (…) You’ll lie to each other happily, skillfully, enthusiastically and persistently. You will tell him that all Muslims are dangerous, and he’ll tell you that he wants peace. (…) Together, you will climb the highest peaks of bluffism, to the point where even the opposite of what you say will not be true. (…) But all of the above, Mr. President, is nothing but a preamble to a bit of advice I wish to proffer to you, advice that will help you to demonstrate just how true you are to your main campaign promise: America first! No more funding, maintaining, arming and pampering of foreign powers. From now one, only America first! (…) Follow your own slogan and simply set yourself free of us. Free America of our burden. Stop funding us, maintaining us, arming us, pampering us. (…) Take the money and run. (…) you’ll prove to your voters that you are a man of your word: America truly is first (…) and most amazing – as soon as you stop standing behind us like an obedient goon, we will also have to get ourselves out of the mud. Believe me, we won’t stay there on our own. (…)
B. Michael, HAA, 14.02.17
The tragedy of Amona
(…) If Amona stays, and with it the other settlements outside of the settlement blocs, we (…) will not have the peace we are praying for. We will not have a State of Israel living in peace and security, but rather an Israel engaged in ongoing conflict, alienated from Palestinians and our Arab neighbors, and a pariah in the international community. (…) I want borders that (…) can enable such a peace. (…) I am saddened when the trauma of today hinders our hopes, our vision, and our ability to plan for the actualization of these hopes and implementation of this vision. Today is a sad day, for the trauma of Amona is being used as an excuse for not talking about who we want to be. (…) It is easy to forget that the trauma of Amona is (…) the result of the decision to permit its building in the first place. The strategy of the settler movement and the political right is to make sure that today was as traumatic and difficult as possible, pushing the lines of protest and disobedience, acquiescing to some (…) measures of violence that hopefully stop before actual bloodshed. The more horrific the evacuation, the easier it is to argue that we ought not to be a people who uproot Jews from their homes. I do not want to remove people from their homes, but I also do not want to be a people that sanctions the theft of others’ land. (…)
Donniel Hartman, TOI, 01.02.17
This used to be my home
Eighteen years ago, I stood at the entrance to this caravan in my wedding gown. (…) I came to Amona, to a bald and wind-battered rocky mountain, to establish a permanent community, to build a stone house. I only dared build a home after then-prime minister Ariel Sharon encouraged me to do so in a personal meeting. “(…) We chose to build the permanent home as close to the caravan as possible. At the spot with the most beautiful landscape, at the edge of the mountain over the green wadi. (…) And then the bulldozers came exactly 11 years ago and destroyed the house. And destroyed the dreams. And left a wound in my heart. (…) Eleven years ago, I saw the walls of my dreamhouse collapse before my eyes. In the caravan yard, I see a monument of stones and twisted iron from those walls. For what purpose were they destroyed back then? Did anyone in the world benefit from it? What’s the point in an incomprehensible demolition? (…) Is there no way to solve the Amona mess without uprooting people from their homes? Can’t the land owners be compensated? (…) It was a mistake to establish Amona and parts of Ofra on lands registered as private lands, although no one ever lived on them. A mistake cannot be fixed with a bigger mistake. (…) The pioneers who came to the mountain made it flourish and put down roots. (…) Pioneers don’t break down. They always get up and climb the mountain again. (…)
Yifat Erlich, YED, 01.02.17
How can settlers take my land and say it was God’s will?
I haven’t been on my land for 20 years. (…)My name is Maryam Hamad, I’m 83 years old and was born and lived my whole life in the village of Silwad on the West Bank. My father had farming lands, which he cultivated for many years with hard work. (…) When I was a little girl my father would put me on a donkey and ride with me to those fields and groves. (…) In 1996 Israeli settlers built the outpost they call “Amona” on them. (…) I’ve waited so many years for this moment (…), and I still only want to return to my plots safely and peacefully, legally and without any problems. I’ve never understood how the settlers could come, take my land and tell me it was God’s will. (…) They took my land against my will. I’m glad it’s finally over.(…) I’m so happy. I want to give people sweets because I’m about to return to my land, to cultivate it again. (…) I haven’t been on my land for 20 years. (…) I still remember well the days we had before the settlers came. (…)
Maryam Hamad, HAA, 02.02.17
Policy or anarchy
(…) the residents evicted from their homes deserve sympathy. They were sent there by their elected leaders (…). All of that though doesn’t whitewash the illegality of the outpost. (…) its removal will have no impact on the overall settlement enterprise which has almost doubled in population since the first time Amona was evacuated 11 years ago. (…) Nearly 50 years after Israel conquered the West Bank, the country has yet to decide what it really wants there. Does it want a Palestinian state on 90-plus percent of the territory, or does it want a single state for all of the people in the country? Or is there a possible third option, something like autonomy-on-steroids for the Palestinians that some government ministers talk about? The announcement this week that Israel will build 3,000 more housing units in the West Bank is an example of how this policy vacuum works. (…) When there is no policy there is no direction, and when there is no direction, there is stagnation. (…)
Yaakov Katz, JPO, 03.02.17
Necessary and constitutional
The new Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law is necessary because large areas of the territories were never properly registered in land registries. (…) Under Israeli law, if a person builds on someone else’s land unintentionally and in good faith, he or she may stay on the property as long as the landowner is properly compensated. The new law has a similar provision because, under Palestinian law, selling land to Israelis is punishable by death, making it all but impossible to buy the rights to contested plots. The law is constitutional and is in line with Israeli values. It is as valid as the other property laws passed by the Knesset because Israel (…) believes that giving Israelis the same rights as Palestinians advances the state’s vision. The law (…) serves a worthy purpose because it allows the residents to stay on the land if it lies near or in an already built community, rather than just theoretically allowing Palestinians to reclaim it. The law strikes the right balance because it only allows the state to temporarily expropriate land and does not change the status of the landowners. In fact, thanks to the law, landowners who were previously unable to exercise rights on the land will now be eligible for compensation that exceeds the value of their property. (…) Israel cannot be an occupying power in land that the League of Nations designated for a Jewish national home. Moreover, Israel liberated the land from illegal Jordanian occupation. (…) Israelis who live there (…) should not be treated any differently from the Palestinian population. It is time to end the discrimination against Israelis there when it comes to property law. (…)
Yossi Fuchs, IHY, 08.02.17
Palestinian landowners, take the money, now
When a foreign government takes away a person’s land and the right to demand it back, that person won’t be in a hurry to agree to limited compensation in the form of “usage fees” offered by the regime. However, that is exactly what you, the owners of lands upon which 16 settlements have been established, which have been officially stolen from you though the new “expropriation law,” should do. Take it now, before the bleeding-heart leftists in Israel get the High Court of Justice to repeal it. (…) You have to learn from experience and internalize that no one – not the Israeli High Court, the international community, the court in the Hague, Palestinian opposition (both violent and nonviolent) or “the peace process” – will get you your land back. The miserable payment the Israelis offer you is the only thing your valuable property will provide you in the foreseeable future. (…) It has never been made so apparent that the so-called peace process is nothing but a vessel for Israelis to preserve the discriminatory status quo against you. And yes, you should remember that the same status quo serves not only Israelis but the PA’s bureaucrats, who continue to receive their salary and their power by virtue of the peace process leading nowhere, but are expected to press you not to take the money. (…) Israelis do not want, and cannot change the status quo. The unelected and corrupt leadership of the PA also does not want to and cannot bring change. The international community will not be able to force a solution on the sides that neither one wants, and will not adopt other solutions as long as you do not offer them. The change depends only on you (…) – if only you give up on the illusions of independence and start demanding equal rights in this place.
Asaf Ronel. HAA, 08.02.17
The AG’s war to protect Israeli democracy
(…) The Regulation Law and the petitions filed against it to the High Court, which will have to discuss its constitutionality, will keep the legal and political system busy in the coming year. If no interim order is issued to freeze the law, the settler and legal systems will find themselves at a frontal collision regarding the interpretation of its implementation. The petitions will turn the focus once again to the Supreme Court’s position in Israeli democracy. (…) petitions to bleach or to evacuate the settlements are being discussed every now and then. Meanwhile, calls are always being made to impact the Supreme Court’s authority by changing the panel of judges, changing the way the selection committee works and reducing the ability to fil a legal claim (…). Attorney General Mandelblit (…) sees himself today, together with the Supreme Court, as being at the forefront of the battle against the attempt to change basic principles in the state’s democracy and in the independence of its elected institutions, including the institution headed by him. (…) The Supreme Court’s ruling on the law’s constitutionality will largely define the extent of the defense Israel will have in the international legal arena. Mandelblit warned in the cabinet meetings discussion the law’s ramifications, and Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed, that this law brings Israel closer to being charged with war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.(…)
Tova Tzimuki, YED, 13.02.17
Hamas’ new leader in Gaza: A radical and a militant
The election of Yahya Sanwar as Hamas’ new leader in the Gaza Strip is a significant change, and not for the better, as far as Israel is concerned. (…) Sanwar shatters any hopes that Israel may have had for a prisoner and body exchange deal with Hamas. (…) Sanwar’s election is bad news also in terms of Hamas’ general orientation in the Gaza Strip. It means that from now on, all of Hamas’ resources in the strip will be subject to the needs of the military wing and the tunnel excavation. (…) Sanwar (…) likely wants to retighten the relations with Iran, as Tehran had funded weapons for Hamas’ training activities and military technologies, which are much needed in the strip right now. Tehran can also transfer funding for the production of weapons and the tunnel digging through the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force and its commander, Qasem Soleimani. Sanwar is not interested in an escalation with Israel right now (…) he likely wants to prepare for the next round of fighting. (…) under his leadership Hamas will speed up its arming and training efforts ahead of the next round of fighting. (…)
Ron Ben-Yishai, YED, 14.02.17
Israel’s masters of war set their sights on Gaza – again
The Gaza Strip is dying. Its inhabitants have just three years to live, according to a United Nations report that predicted that in 2020, Gaza will cease to be a place fit for human life. It has long ago become a cage unfit for life. But when they’re not shooting at Israel from Gaza, no one takes an interest in its fate. Hamas is holding its fire, but it’s enough for two rebel rockets to be fired to prompt 19 (!) Israeli aerial attacks and to extract all of our warmongers from their holes. Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant’s eyes lit up and the color seemed to return to his face when he talked about Gaza. (…) Galant, a former military man is trying to get back to destroying. (…) The Defense Ministry is also coveted by Education Minister Naftali Bennett. Getting there, however, requires fanning the flames. No official report about the failure to deal with Hamas tunnels in Gaza will suffice, so Bennett is also dreaming about another war. (…) He hasn’t concealed the extent to which he is in a hurry to return to the killing fields of Shujaiyeh and the confidential briefings with army officers. And then, of course, there is the current defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who even in his new temporary role as a moderate, also won’t pass up a chance. (…) Again came the hollow promises of decisive victory that will never come about and yet again everyone is willing to buy the argument. Again everyone is waiting for the next war, as if it were fate handed down by the almighty when it isn’t even handed down from Gaza. (…)
Gideon Levy, HAA, 12.02.17
A ‘certified’ terrorist leader
(…) Hamas’ new government largely comprises well-known, “certified” terrorists (…). Sinwar’s associates in Gaza describe him as a tough, level-headed, obsessive Jew-hater, but also a wise and charismatic leader. (…) Sinwar was molded as a Muslim Brotherhood-inspired terrorist by his mentor, the arch-murderer Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. (…) Sinwar executed Palestinian collaborators and took part in murderous terrorist attacks against Israel (…) After 22 years in Israeli prison(…) he (…) called on the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades to abduct soldiers and Jews to exchange them for the remaining Palestinian prisoners. (…) Those close to Sinwar say Deif was his subordinate in the Izzedine al-Qassam “usra” (…) they established in Khan Younis. This link and his abundant experience in terror-related activity also explain Sinwar’s place in the Hamas hierarchy as a supercoordinator, who now holds sway over the organization’s political and military wings alike. Sinwar will now serve as a type of prime minister for Hamas, and it is within his authority, apparently with consensus, to determine the political, internal, military, religious and economic direction of the organization. His election, which is politically and financially supported by Qatar, leaves no room for interpretation. His political doctrine, which negates the existence of Egypt, Israel and the “treasonous” Palestinian Authority alike, does not bode well. (…)
Dr. Reuven Berko, IHY, 14.02.17
Is war with Israel on the horizon with Hamas’s new Gaza leader?
The selection of Yahya Sinwar, a Palestinian hard-liner, as the new leader of Hamas in Gaza is a further blow to Israeli-Palestinian relations and the international community’s hopes for peace in the Middle East. However, it doesn’t mean another war between Israel and Gaza is imminent. (…) Sinwar is the first Hamas leader to be selected for this post from the military wing. In Israeli terms, he can be compared to a former general, with a strong background and leaning toward the military, who is appointed as a political leader. As a young guerrilla fighter, Sinwar (…) showed a penchant for cruelty, determination and ruthlessness.(…) The appointment of Sinwar, together with a few other military commanders to the Hamas politburo, has put an end to the internal power struggle that has shaken the movement in the past year. (…) It is now apparent that the military wing is cementing itself as the dominant force of the movement, which has touted itself as an alternative to the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. And since the military wing is more interested in building an army and less interested in developing social welfare and political institutes, its “nation-building” will be less important. (…) Surely Sinwar, who even in Hamas terms is considered an extremist in his perception of Israel, will be an even more bitter enemy. He opposes any compromise with Israel, even temporarily, and will demand a prisoner swap more forcefully. (…) Sinwar will try to convince his colleagues to launch a war if, and only if, he thinks the military wing is ready for it. It is not yet around the corner.
Yossi Melman, JPO, 14.02.17
Peterburg should also resign
(…) We have been exposed quite a bit to Erez Vigodman, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s (…) resigning CEO, over the past year. (…) It looked like this reasonable, appreciated, and considerate man, who came from the world of finance (…) was preaching to the converted: himself and Teva’s management and board of directors. The bottom line is that Allergan’s generic division was too big a pill for Teva to swallow – not because the division is not good enough, but because Teva paid an enormous price for it, leaving Teva with a $40 billion debt. (…) It is very nice that Prof. Yitzhak Peterburg is stepping into Vigodman’s shoes as temporary CEO. The question is why he and the entire board of directors, which was swept along into following Vigodman, is not rising as one man and paying the price – especially Peterburg. After all, as chairman, he is responsible for failures to the same extent as Vigodman, or even more. (…) the board of directors (…) does not deserve the trust of the company’s shareholders, in other words, the public. As far as we are concerned, they are a bunch of marionettes. (…)
Eli Tsipori, GLO, 07.02.17
Start-up nation for all
“Time bomb,” “demographic threat,” “takeover of the Negev” – these are just some of the terms used in the discourse regarding the Beduin population in the Negev. The events surrounding home demolitions in the Beduin village of Umm al-Hiran, resulting in the deaths of a policeman and an Israeli citizen who resided in the unrecognized village, were just the brutal culmination of a longstanding campaign of fear. For years we’ve been told that this population is doubling in size every decade, that it poses a genuine threat to the Jewish character of Israel, and that the Beduin’s unruly lifestyle threatens the daily lives and security of neighboring communities in the Negev. But let me offer a different perspective: this is a rapidly growing population, nearly half of whom are below 18, with a low rate of participation in the labor force, especially among women, and an interest in social mobility and exposure to life-changing technologies. (…) Thinking in purely economic terms, ensuring that this steam engine stays on track requires as many passengers as possible, regardless of tribe, race and color and certainly regardless of how they vote or pray. (…) Israeli society is no longer composed of a majority and minority but, rather, several tribes (…) living together, and it becomes clear why this change in perspective is advantageous: to revive our society, so that even the Beduin can stop being the “threat” they are today and become an asset that helps ensure a sustainable future. (…) The time has come, therefore, for a new vision, one that is shared by all tribes living here – at the very least so that we can continue maintaining our home. Every passing moment means wasted time and greater danger. We are, after all, approaching a junction. (…) Think how proud anyone, regardless of tribe, would feel to be an Israeli under this banner and how willing they would be to contribute to keep this train going full speed ahead. Politics, identity and division aside.
Dana Weiss, YED, 13.02.17
HAA = Haaretz
YED = Yedioth Ahronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: February 2017
Dr. Werner Puschra,
Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel