Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud Beytenu) criticized Finance Minister
Yair Lapid on Wednesday for suggesting that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
was wrong to insist on the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish
Netanyahu reiterated his demand at his speech at Bar-Ilan
University in Ramat Gan on Sunday night. Lapid reacted in an interview with the
Charlie Rose show in New York.
“I don’t feel we need a declaration from
the Palestinians that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” Lapid said. “My
father [former Justice Minister Yosef Lapid] didn’t come to Haifa from the
Budapest ghetto to get recognition from [Palestinian Authority President]
Mahmoud Abbas. The whole concept of the State of Israel is that we recognize
ourselves. After 2,000 years of being dependent on other people, we are
independent and make our own rules now.”
Elkin said it was unfortunate
that Lapid did not understand what the root of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict
was: not the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that began in 1967, but the
refusal of the Palestinians to accept Israel’s right to exist.
Palestinians recognize the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Middle East,
any peace agreement will become just another step in [former PLO chairman
Yasser] Arafat’s infamous staged plan to throw us in the sea,” Elkin said. “But
then again, now that we’ve found gas in the sea, they will probably want to
throw us further.”
Labor MK Nachman Shai said that while he agreed with
Lapid that demanding Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state was
unnecessary, he believes Lapid should stop making controversial statements
abroad. Lapid also ruffled feathers when he said in a speech in Manhattan that
Jews were safer in New York than Israel.
“We should urgently send Lapid
home before he opens his mouth again,” Shai said.