The State of Israel without Hebron and Nablus, without Tel Aviv and Deganya, without Ofakim and Kiryat Shmona is not complete, Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) said on Thursday.
Speaking at a conference at Ariel University, Piron said: “We cannot reduce greater Israel, we cannot continue to agree to the shrinking and narrowing of the great vision.”
According to Piron, in order to achieve peace “we will have to strengthen the settlement blocs, and see them as a source of strength, development and prosperity.”
Though he immediately added, “I do not know peace without mutual concessions.”
The education minister outlined his vision of the greater State of Israel, and said “we are not talking only about the limits of borders, but rather a state that evokes an entire lifespan: that has social, moral, cultural and ideological manifestations.”
Piron questioned whether the “narrowing of the dream and the focus on the question of borders does not hurt our national consciousness? Did it not distance generations of Israelis?” He continued to say that the political negotiations should be conducted at the negotiating table, “not in Ariel and not in Herzliya.”
He added that there are those in society wishing to emphasize the contradictions and place labels such as “Jewish” or “liberal” and “borders” or “concern for society,” referring to the Right and Left, respectively.
He said that only a culture including all labels will “lead to the formulation of a world of Jewish roots and democratic conception committed to modern and innovative values.”
Piron’s speech comes in stark contrast to Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid who spoke at the Herzliya Conference at the Interdisciplinary Center on Sunday, calling on the government to freeze additional settlement building outside the major settlement blocs and threating to quit the government if it annexed any West Bank settlements.
Though, according to Piron’s vision, the government and the people must open a new discourse, connecting between different sectors of society, connecting the center to the periphery and Jews from the east (Sephardim) and the west (Ashkenazim).
“The Land of Israel is not a limited idea. It is a great vision, alive and breathing. It is in our hands to expand it,” Piron concluded.