Video: Olmert vs. Kahane

'Nightline' debate 20 yrs. ago now top Olmert clip on youtube.

November 13, 2007 23:58
2 minute read.
Video: Olmert vs. Kahane

olmert youtube 224.88. (photo credit:


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The demographic threat that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert used to justify forming Kadima two years ago and that he uses now to explain the need for the Annapolis summit has an unlikely critic on the popular Youtube Web site: Olmert himself. A broadcast of ABC's Nightline news magazine from some 20 years ago in which Olmert downplayed the significance of Arabs becoming a majority in Israel has become the top video that comes up when searching for "Olmert" on Youtube's search engine. See video on Youtube The site says the video has been viewed more than 33,600 times since it was submitted a year ago by the right-wing Voice of Judea Web site. The second-most popular video of Olmert on the site shows the prime minister falling asleep during a televised event at the Prime Minister's Office a day after the publication of the interim Winograd Report last spring. The Nightline video begins with then-MK Meir Kahane (Kach) answering questions from host Ted Koppel about his calls for limiting Israeli citizenship to Jews due to the demographic threat posed by the higher Arab birth rate. Koppel then interviewed Olmert, who was then a Likud MK and a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "This is entirely incorrect," Olmert said about Kahane's argument that Arabs could eventually outnumber Jews between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River. "There are 700,000 Arabs in a country of 4 million people [referring to Israel without the Gaza Strip and the West Bank]. The chance that they will become a majority any time in the future is such a remote possibility that it in no way justifies the philosophy he preaches." Probed further about the subject, Olmert said the solution was for Israeli Arabs to learn to live with Israel as a minority; he continued to deny that there was any demographic threat. "The probability that I attach to [Arabs becoming a majority] is so small that I don't think that at this stage we have to give any answers," Olmert said. When Kadima was founded in November 2005, Olmert and other Kadima leaders said the party would seek to create a Palestinian state due in part to studies predicting that there could soon be a majority of Arabs in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Olmert also sounded very different in speeches this week when he used the demographic threat as one of his main arguments for relaunching negotiations with the Palestinians at the Annapolis summit. "We need to [create a Palestinian state] or we can end up like South Africa," Olmert told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday. "We need to maintain the Jewish majority and prevent the idea of two states for two peoples from being lost."

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