Sources close to Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Saturday lashed back at earlier jabs
by Likud ministers, saying that the ministers had been infected with "a
serious case of Feiglinism," a reference to Manhigut Yehudit leader Moshe Feiglin.
The officials were responding to
earlier criticism of Barak's handling of settlements by Education
Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz.
In an accusation that the Likud is following extremists, Barak's office said, "Feiglinism,
is no good for the state, for security, or for the public's future, at
all," quipping that they hope "Feiglinism" is not
Ya'alon said Saturday that the coalition is in danger of falling apart if the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El is demolished, in a continuing show of force by Likud ministers calling to save the settler homes.
"The neighborhood may not be removed," Ya'alon said at a lecture in Beersheba. "Totally normal people live there, and then suddenly they're facing complaints because a Palestinian claims the land is his."
If the Ulpana neighborhood is evacuated, the coalition will break apart, the minister added.
The High Court has ordered that the 15 buildings, constructed on a hilltop in Beit El between 2002 and 2008, be removed by the first of May. The land on which the neighborhood was built was purchased from Palestinians in 2000, but the paperwork for the sale was ruled unauthentic. Netanyahu asked Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Wednesday to find a way to postpone the demolition.
Ya'alon said that Barak has "a different political agenda than the government. Unfortunately, [his ministry] is responsible for settlements in Judea and Samaria."
According to Ya'alon, the defense minister used unnecessary force to evacuate settlers, in order to "make sure the left understands who its leader is," and so Barak's Independence party would pass the elections threshold.
Sa'ar also campaigned for the Ulpana neighborhood to be saved, on both Channel 2's "Meet the Press" and a Saturday-afternoon lecture in Kfar Saba, but had kinder words for Barak.
Sa'ar pointed out that the land on which the homes were built was bought over 10 years ago without knowledge that the sale could not be authorized.
"To destroy these homes now is unreasonable, wrong, and dangerous," he said, explaining that, while he does not believe outposts should be built on private Palestinian land, this principle cannot be executed retroactively to uproot people from their homes.
The Education Minister said he disagrees with Ya'alon, in that the government will not fall; rather, it will find a solution and save the Ulpana neighborhood.
Meanwhile, one-third of the Likud faction plans to attend an event in Beit El calling for the Ulpana neighborhood not to be demolished.
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat, as well as MKs Ofir Akunis, Ze'ev Elkin, Tzipi Hotovely, Miri Regev, Danny Danon, Yariv Levin, Carmel Shama-Hacohen and Zion Pinian are expected to attend, in addition to hundreds of Central Committee members.
Likud sources say other ministers planned to attend the event, but will not be able to. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a meeting of his security cabinet for the same time, a move seen by some as a deliberate attempt to lower the profile of the event.
As such, numerous Likud ministers spoke out against the neighborhood's destruction over the weekend, such as Ya'alon, Sa'ar and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who visited the Ulpana neighborhood on Friday, saying the government must change its.
The event, meant to save 15 buildings scheduled for demolition next month, was organized by the Ulpana neighborhood residents' task force – which includes Harel Kohen, a parliamentary assistant for National Union leader MK Ya'acov Katz – as well as Manhigut Yehudit group, and the Nationalist Camp in the Likud.
"Only a left-wing government would evacuate this neighborhood," Danon said. "The Likud is facing a test it cannot fail."
According to Danon, the threat to demolish homes in Beit El crosses a red line for pro-settlement Likud members, and will not be tolerated.
Earlier last week, Likud ministers learned held a heated meeting with Netanyahu, in which they said the Ulpana neighborhood must be saved.