(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The cabinet approved the allocation on Sunday of NIS 10 million to mark 50 years since Israel gained control of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, with the central ceremony scheduled for Kfar Etzion in September.
“The Six day War was one of the greatest victories in the history of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the defensive 1967 war. “It brought us back to parts of our homeland and completely changed our strategic situation.”
An additional budget will be allocated to mark the jubilee of the reunification of Jerusalem.
The central ceremony will take place at Kfar Etzion on September 13, marking 50 years to the day when the first settlers established the Jewish community there that was wiped out during the War of Independence.
Kfar Etzion was the first settlement after the war to be set up across the Green Line.
The budget for the various ceremonies during the year will come equally from the Education Ministry and the Culture and Sport Ministry.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev said the celebration “touches every Israeli, because these parts of Israel were always, and will remain, the heart of Eretz Yisrael. These are the areas where Abraham struck the roots of the Hebrew nation, and they are full of Jewish history from then until today.”
Regev added that “our deep connection to them [these areas] needs to be beyond all political arguments.”
But it is not. Peace Now director- general Avi Buskila told Israel Radio that the planned celebrations were just another way to funnel NIS 10m. to the settlements, and that he doesn’t understand what’s to celebrate.
“I think the 50th year should be a year when Israel leads a diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and ends the occupation, not celebrates ‘liberation.’” he said. “I am trying to understand what exactly we ‘liberated.’ We control almost three million Palestinians.
What did we liberate? The security burden is on us, the economic burden is on us, as is the international burden.”