The legacy of Likud ideological forebear Ze’ev Jabotinsky will help bring stable
peace to Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset
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
“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
“Jabotinsky understood 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
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 (mazon), housing (ma’on), clothing (malbush),
education (moreh, “teacher”) and medical care (marpeh) 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
Many opposition MKs walked out on the Jabotinsky memorial in
protest of an electoral reform bill that passed immediately before
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
“This is shameful behavior that shows disrespect of
Zionism and the values Jabotinsky represents,” Levin said.
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