Is Bayit Yehudi being quiet on settlements?

Bayit Yehudi - normally a force for the settlements - has been replaced by Likud in the latest round of pushes for settlements.

October 16, 2017 20:51
2 minute read.
Naftali Bennett

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

When the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria announces plans for 3,763 homes on Tuesday or Wednesday, the international community will undoubtedly be ready with its usual condemnations of Israel.

On the other side, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu normally feels pressure from the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria and from Bayit Yehudi – to the Right of the Likud – to build more.

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But this time, the noise on both sides could be a bit quieter than usual.

The reason that the world will not be as loud is obvious.

The United States acts as a strategic buffer between Israel and a more hostile world.

When Barack Obama was president of the United States and his policy was “not one brick,” the condemnation of settlements from the international community was more intense.

When Donald Trump is president and he could not care less how many states there will be in a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, much of the world will choose not to bother getting involved in such a complex issue.

Why the leaders of the Right, especially in Bayit Yehudi, will be less loud has to do with politics. Had the Center-Left been in power, it would have been leading mass protests against the prime minister.

But the Center-Left is not in power. Netanyahu’s Likud is in power, and most of the heads of the settler movement are Likud activists.

Netanyahu made a point of meeting with the settler movement heads before he made decisions on where and how much to build. He shared with them the pressure he is under from Washington.

So even though the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria will approve a lot less construction than Netanyahu promised, the settlers will not be raising an uproar.

And if the Likudniks on the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria do not raise an uproar, don’t expect Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett to do so either.

Bennett, who lives in Ra’anana, does not intend to be more pro-settler than the settlers themselves. Even those in his faction who would want to be more militant are not as free to do so when settler leaders are praising Netanyahu.

Keep that in perspective when listening to what Bayit Yehudi and the world say when the Judea and Samaria construction plans are announced.

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