The legacy of Likud ideological forebear Ze’ev Jabotinsky will help bring stable peace to Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Wednesday.
Speaking at a memorial session marking the 73rd anniversary of Jabotinsky’s death, Netanyahu said the Irgun and Betar founder’s realism should be kept in mind today.
“The obstacle to peace between us and the Palestinians is not just fundamentalist terrorist organizations, but the belief that it is possible to destroy the State of Israel,” the prime minister explained. “These organizations, states and leaders plant hopes in their nations that we can be beaten by sword, gun and bomb. We cannot be defeated by any those means or any others.”
It is immoral, Netanyahu said, to be weak and stretch out our necks to be attacked in a choppy and volatile arena, and Israel’s job is to strike down those who seek to destroy it in order to defend itself and to show that there is no point in continuing an armed battle against Israel.
“Jabotinsky understood the connection the connection between security and peace. Jabotinsky said that only a strong, Jewish defense force can promote the peace that we so long for,” he said.
Netanyahu added that Jabotinsky’s philosophy guides him during talks with the Palestinians, and that Israel is not blocking peace, but is working toward it.
“Jabotinsky’s responsible and balanced ideas, which take the claims and wishes of our enemies seriously will bring a true [peace] agreement that is stable and realistic,” he stated.
The prime minister also said Jabotinsky’s philosophy contributes to Israeli society’s character and culture to this day, and acclaimed his “true liberal views on interior issues.”
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) emphasized those issues, pointing to Jabotinsky’s philosophy that governments should provide food, housing, clothing, education and medicine to their citizens, all of which start with the Hebrew letter “mem.”
“Jabotinsky, as you know, is not my spiritual father, but you, Mr. Prime Minister, say he is your teacher and rabbi,” Yacimovich stated. “If he had to give you, his student, a grade on [the five mems] what do you think it would be?”
Yacimovich went through each “mem,” and explained how the government failed to provide it: food and housing prices shot up, clothing factories closed and companies outsourced manufacturing, Israeli class sizes are the largest in the OECD, and more and more citizens buy private health insurance because the public health system does not suffice.
Many opposition MKs walked out on the Jabotinsky memorial in protest of an electoral reform bill that passed immediately before it.
Coalition chairman Yariv Levin criticized the MKs who did not attend the speeches, saying that “Meretz MKs who joined Arab MKs and defiantly boycotted the special discussion acted extremely, unprecedentedly and inappropriately.”
“This is shameful behavior that shows disrespect of Zionism and the values Jabotinsky represents,” Levin stated.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/PM-Palestinian-leaders-think-its-possible-to-destroy-Israel-318584