Education Minister Naftali Bennett and members of the Bayit Hayehudi on December 17, 2018.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government won’t annex Area C of the West Bank, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday.
Bennett, who heads the Bayit Yehudi Party in Netanyahu’s coalition, spoke just before holding a faction meeting at the Givat Assaf outpost in the Binyamin Region of the West Bank.
Flanked by other politicians from his party, he said that the Givat Assaf outpost was on “the land of Israel but it is not yet considered today [to be part of] the State of Israel.
“One of the key core elements of our platform is to apply Israeli sovereignty on [Area C],” he said. “However, this will not happen in the current political situation.”
He pointed out that his party has eight out of the 120 Knesset seats. His Bayit Yehudi Party therefore has enough power in a government of 61 seats to pressure Netanyahu to act by threatening to quit that coalition
, a move that would likely bring down the government.
But Bennett was clear that this is not the time to make such a threat. He indicated he was hopeful that after the next elections, his party would gain strength and thus be in a better position to push forward its policy.
“We need to be stronger to affect our policies, and that is why we are here to say what we believe and what we are going to do,” he said.
“There are half a million Israeli who live here, but they are considered second-class citizens. But someone who lives here in Judea and Samaria... should enjoy the same rights as someone in Tel Aviv – and we are determined to make that happen,” Bennett said.
Adapting a well-known political slogan, he said that: “The fate of Judea and Samaria is like the fate of Tel Aviv.”
Bennett described how, in the aftermath of three terror attacks in the Binyamin Region last week, his party was able on Sunday to advance what it considers to be two key pieces of legislation.
The first would authorize some 70 outposts and the second would allow for Palestinian families of terrorists to be expelled from their home communities to another area in the West Bank.
“Today it pays for terrorists to kill Jews,” Bennett said. “To deter future attacks, a heavy price must be exacted from those who choose to engage in terror activity.”
Bayit Yehudi’s goal “is not to topple the government. The goal is to restore security in the land of Israel. We are trying to help; we have done that many times in these two governments,” he said.
“We are fighting to save lives, and that is what this is all about,” he explained.
Before the meeting, however, he announced no new initiative, nor was one published after the faction meeting, which was closed to the press.
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