The creation of a Palestinian state, not boycotts of Israeli products, will destroy Israel’s economy, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday at the start of his Bayit Yehudi faction meeting.
Bennett spoke the same day that a group of Israeli business leaders en route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland pressed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to reach an agreement with the Palestinians in order to avoid international boycotts on Israel.
Using charts indicating Israel’s economic growth through the years, Bennett said the economy did better when there were not Israeli concessions that led to terror attacks.
“Imagine what the economy of Israel would look like if one missile each day hit Shenkar Street in Herzliya Pituah,” Bennett said, referring to a street that hosts branches of several international hi-tech companies. “What would the economy of Israel look like if once a year, a missile launched from Judea and Samaria brings down a plane headed to Ben-Gurion Airport?” Bennett said that when he worked in hi-tech, nearly all his company’s profits came from exports, so he was aware of what impact boycotts could have on business. But he said that nevertheless, Israel should not give in to pressure to make concessions to the Palestinians.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is currently in Washington DC to head negotiations with US Secretary of State John Kerry, attacked Bennett for downplaying the threat of boycotts. She accused him of listening to extremist rabbis rather than business leaders.
“The economy and trade minister must decide if he represents all Israeli citizens or just residents of isolated settlements,” Livni said. “Responsible Zionist leaders must not stick to ideology that will isolate Israel and harm the economy and every citizen, but rather work for a diplomatic agreement that will strengthen our standing in the world and ensure Israel’s economic security as a Jewish and democratic state.”
Bennett also got attacked from the Right for telling The Jerusalem Post that he intends to draft the support of enough MKs to block Netanyahu from making concessions to the Palestinians.
He said he is obtaining the support of MKs in Likud Beytenu to prevent Netanyahu from replacing Bayit Yehudi in the coalition with Labor and Kadima.
Meir Indoor, head of the terror victims organization Almagor, said that Bennett was merely trying to contain the far Right.
Baruch Marzel, who was part of the Otzma Le’Israel party on the far Right that ran in last year’s election, said Bennett was just pretending to prepare for his government’s concessions and not really doing anything to stop them.
“The only thing Bennett has learned in politics is how to spin and take credit for work done by others,” Marzel said.
“After a year of Bennett, the Land of Israel is facing the greatest danger since the Oslo agreements.”