Dayan accuses Peres of politicizing the presidency

Yesha head dismisses demographic threat to Israel's Jewish identity, which he retorts is based on connection to heritage, history.

July 11, 2012 09:52
1 minute read.
Settlement leader Dani Dayan

Dani Dayan 370. (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)

Accusing President Shimon Peres of politicizing the President's Office, Yesha settlement council head Dani Dayan dismissed predictions that Israel's Jewish identity will be threatened by Palestinian demographic growth, speaking with Army Radio on Wednesday.

"There is a solid Jewish majority east of the Jordan River," Dayan asserted, which he said will preserved.

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Israel's Jewish identity will not be decided by a head count, the Yesha chairman continued. "What will keep us Jewish is our connection to Jewish heritage, history and culture," but said Beit El, Shilo and Hebron cannot be excluded from that connection.

Peres on Tuesday spoke out against West Bank settlement, saying that it jeopardizes the state's Jewish identity.

“Israeli settlements in territories densely populated with Arabs, which followed their attack on us, can lead to a threatening demographic change. It places a Jewish majority in the State of Israel at risk,” Peres said.

“Without a Jewish majority it is doubtful if the state will remain Jewish,” he said at a ceremony at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in memory of the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl.

Peres spoke just one day after the publication of a government-initiated report on West Bank outposts, which gave a boost to the settlement enterprise by stating that Israel did not occupy the West Bank as an occupation is defined under the Fourth Geneva Convention and that it had a right under international law to build settlements there.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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