Activists from the BDS movement against Israel [File].
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
In a message to anti-Israel “inciters and hostile parties,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) on Sunday warned “all those agents of ignorance and hatred” against testing Israel’s strength and determination to defend the Jewish state.
Addressing the opening plenary of the autumn Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, she said the various boycott movements have “no interest in promoting human rights but in wiping the Jewish nation off the face of the Earth.”
The boycott movement has “suffered resounding defeat,” citing a new record in foreign investments in Israel which has, according to a June Bloomberg report, increased almost three-fold since the birth of the BDS movement 11 years ago, Shaked said.
She referred to the BDS movement as modern antisemitism disguised as a movement for freedom and justice, which disseminates lies and blood libel.
“It’s deeply rooted in classical antisemitism that has spread all over Europe throughout the past few hundred years,” Shaked said. “If during the 18th century blood libel focused on Jews drinking the blood of Christian children, now it is that Jews are occupiers of their own land.”
Referring to UNESCO’s recent “ridiculous” resolution, which denies ties between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, she said a unified Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of Israel. The minister asserted that Israel’s strength emanates from its “inseparable relationship” between Judaism and democracy.
Combating delegitimization of Israel is one of several key topics to be covered at the three-day gathering, which focuses on the Jewish Agency’s strategic partnership with the Israeli government in deepening the relationship between Israel and world Jewry, facilitating aliya and strengthening Israeli society.
Shaked’s address followed an opening speech delivered by Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky in which he spoke about the controversy over the lack of implementation of January’s government decision to create a state-recognized pluralist prayer space at the southern end of the Western Wall.
After an attendee from Washington, DC, expressed US frustration at the lack of progress on issues of Jewish pluralism, Shaked reaffirmed her support for the Kotel plan and said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering minor changes in order to implement it.
“We must be wise and collaborate and try to help the prime minister do whatever needed to implement it,” she said, stressing the importance of unifying all streams.
Sharansky, who spearheaded and led the proposal for an egalitarian prayer section, emphasized that Netanyahu understands Diaspora issues better than any other minister or any of the previous prime ministers.
However, he said Netanyahu has told him: “I will do everything, but I won’t bring down the government.”
Sharansky said Israel must now focus on bringing Diaspora Jews closer to Israel,and enabling them to feel at home, “with their rabbis and their communities.”
“When society will feel like this, the prime minister will not feel any threat that the Kotel issue will bring down the government,” he said.
Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and President Reuven Rivlin are also set to address the gathering over the next couple of days, and attendees will meet with MKs from across the political spectrum.