PM: Hamas could replace PA if peace deal rushed

Netanyahu says in spite of "voices urging concessions," he will avoid allowing a "third Iranian terror base" by putting security first.

January 1, 2013 22:29
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu at Bible study circle

Netanyahu at Bible study sesh 370. (photo credit: Courtesy GPO)


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In apparent criticism of President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu used this Shabbat’s Torah portion to explain Tuesday why it would be foolish to run headlong into a peace agreement with the Palestinians that would entail deep concessions.

Netanyahu, in comments made before hosting at his Jerusalem residence his third Bible study session since May, quoted from the first chapter of Exodus: “A new king arose over Egypt who did not know of Joseph.”

“That is true today as it was then,” he said. “The regime has changed in Egypt, in Syria the government is shaking, and that can happen as well in the Palestinian Authority territories in Judea and Samaria.”

Netanyahu said that every sensible person understands that Hamas could take control of the PA, as it did in Gaza.

“Therefore, contrary to the voices I hear in recent days encouraging me to run ahead, make concessions, withdraw, I think the diplomatic process needs to be managed in a responsible, not hysterical, manner, and with wisdom, not hastily. Otherwise a third Iranian terror base [in addition to Gaza and southern Lebanon] will be established in the heart of the country.”

“Peace can only be achieved when security is guaranteed.”

Peres on Sunday said Israel should embrace the changes in the Middle East, saying it has the choice of either sitting passively as things happen around it, or taking the initiative and with courageous steps positively influencing events.

Tuesday’s Bible study session, which was two-and-a-half hours long, marked the third installment of the Prime Minister’s Bible Study Circle, something that began under David Ben-Gurion and continued when Menachem Begin was prime minister. It is dedicated to Sara Netanyahu’s father, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, a noted Bible teacher and enthusiast who passed away in November 2011.

Unlike on the two previous occasions, this time Netanyahu’s two sons – Yair and Avner – took an active part in the discussions. Avner, Netanyahu’s younger son, asked why Pharaoh – if he was interested in an effective slave force – would opt to kill the boys, but keep the girls alive; while Yair asked what it meant that no archeological evidence of the Israelites’ sojourn in Egypt has ever been found.

Netanyahu, explaining how during his first term in office he asked the Turkish prime minister at the time to return the Shiloah inscription to Israel, said that concrete, solid, scientific evidence going back thousands of years was important in proving Israel’s connection to the land at a time when many were trying to falsify history.

The Shiloah inscription is a passage of Hebrew text dating back to the 8th century BCE, recording the construction of the Hezekiah’s Tunnel that brought water from the Gihon Spring to the Shiloah Pool. The Turks turned down his request, Netanyahu said, noting – jokingly – that it will be much more difficult to convince today’s Turkish prime minister to return the historic inscription.

Netanyahu asked the rabbis and scholars in his home two questions: when the book of Exodus was written, and what parallels there are to the Exodus story in ancient lore.

While no definitive answer was given to Netanyahu’s first question, Rabbi Yaakov Meidan, co-head of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut, did not look for ancient parallels to the story, but instead drew a parallel between the assimilated Moses – who saved his people – to the assimilated Theodor Herzl. Netanyahu said he found that parallel very apt.

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