A two-state solution would be “suicide” for Israel, Bayit Yehudi Knesset candidate Jeremy Gimpel said in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night.
He made the comment at a political debate sponsored by The Jerusalem Post and the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel, attended by about 100 people.
The English-language event at Beit Daniel, a Reform synagogue and community center, enabled politicians to reach out to Anglos living in Israel ahead of the January 22 elections.
Former MK and current Knesset candidate Mossi Raz of Meretz weighed in on the deadlocked peace process, arguing, “We have a partner in the Palestinians – I doubt they have a partner in Israel.”
Knesset candidate Nily Shiryon from Strong Israel said, “There already is a Palestinian state and it’s called Jordan.”
The Post’s Knesset reporter Lahav Harkov moderated the debate, which covered topics ranging from electoral reform, education and, of course, national security.
The panel also included Knesset candidates Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud Beytenu), MK Doron Avital (Kadima), Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), Alon Tal (The Tzipi Livni Party/Green Movement) and Hilik Bar (Labor), and Menahem Shemtov (Shas).
After their opening remarks, the debaters took questions from the audience. When asked about their feelings regarding women being allowed to wear tallitot (prayer shawls) at the Western Wall, the audience eagerly awaited a response from the representative of the Shas party.
Shemtov responded by citing various biblical sources, which state that everyone is allowed to pray at the holy Temple, saying he believed the same should be true today.
Tal, the head of the Green Movement running on a joint list with Livni’s party, said the environment is a notable challenge facing Israel. Matters such as the disappearing Dead Sea and the dearth of people with PhDs in environmental studies working in the nation’s universities and colleges must be addressed, he said.
Tal, a professor at Ben-Gurion University who grew up in North Carolina, added that Israel needs an American worldview that has an “authentic, liberal and optimistic view of the country.”
The first debate was held in Netanya on Monday night. The next debates will be held at Kehilat Ra’anan in Ra’anana at 8 p.m. on January 9 and at The Jerusalem Great Synagogue in the capital on January 16.