There is no difference between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the more centrist Israel Resilience party leader Benny Gantz, said Knesset candidate Baruch Marzel of Otzma Yehudit, a far-right party. Marzel, whose party is seen as the most right-wing of those running for the April 9 elections, spoke to The Jerusalem Post's chief political correspondent and analyst Gil Hoffman on his Inside Israel Today podcast on The Land of Israel Network.
"There is no way we will have quiet or peace inside Israel as long as we have here millions of supporters of terror, people that believe in their religion that all of the Land of Israel, including Tel Aviv and Haifa and Beersheba, is theirs, and that we are occupiers and the Jews have no right to a state or can even exist here... The only way to have peace is to get them out of Israel."
Marzel served as parliamentary aide to MK Meir Kahane in the 1980s when the Kach party was elected to the Knesset. Since then he has lived in Hebron. Marzel echoes the words of his mentor who was eventually banned from running for Knesset and later assassinated by an Arab terrorist.
Marzel explained that his party's population-transfer idea should only come about through a decision of the State of Israel and only in a bloodless and non-violent way. Unlike some right-wing elected officials that call for annexation of Jewish population centers in the West Bank regardless of the number of Arabs living there, Marzel feels that the majority of Arabs harbor anti-Israel feelings and would prefer not to incorporate Palestinians as citizens of Israel.
The minority of Arabs, according to Marzel, who have no problem living in a Jewish State, should serve some form of national service in lieu of the army like regular Israeli citizens. "We are fighting our enemies, not all Arabs," he stated.
As far as deporting those that Marzel sees as enemies, Marzel says it will take a lot of money and "we have to use the Jewish brain, with no aggression or force. The ones that want to leave we can help them to leave."
Otzma has been in the news as of late when Netanyahu called for them to join together with other smaller right-wing parties such as the National Union, Bayit Yehudi and the libertarian Zehut, headed by Moshe Feiglin. Marzel said he is open to joining them, noting that in this election, the threshold has been raised - meaning each party will need many more votes than in previous elections to make it into the 120-seat Knesset. Those parties that just miss the threshold, even if they would have been enough in the past for three or four seats, will be seen as "wasted votes."
"Netanyahu isn't my cup of tea and I don't think I'm his cup of tea, but he is one of strongest politicians ever in Israel and he understands without us joining together with other parties he could lose power," Marzel stated.
Marzel's thick Israeli accent belies his place of birth. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, his parents made aliyah when he was a baby. Marzel says he has a warm place in his heart for immigrants and called for increased government support for their integration. When Hoffman questioned, "even the left wing Jews?" Marzel replied, "every Jew - Orthodox, Reform, secular - any Jew that comes here is a blessing to the country. We want all Jews from all over the world to be a part of the amazing story here. It's part of the redemption of the Jewish people. Play the game, don't just watch it on television."
Hoffman's Meet the Candidates series, in conjunction with the Post, has profiled a wide mix running the gamut, from Meretz party candidate Mehereta Baruch-Ron, who was born in Ethiopian and currently serves as deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, to Tehila Friedman of Yesh Atid, to Likud's Uzi Dayan, a former deputy IDF chief of staff.
Inside Israel Today is recorded every Tuesday in partnership with The Land of Israel Network and The Jerusalem Post.