Netanyahu: Gov't swapped Jabotinsky with Nakba

Likud chairman slams leaders on education and security; says prisoner release is counterproductive.

bibi netanyahu frank 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
bibi netanyahu frank 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
"The government took Ze'ev Jabotinsky out of the school textbooks and inserted the Nakba [the Palestinian "disaster" of Israel's founding] instead," opposition leader and Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday during a special Knesset session called during the legislature's summer recess. Netanyahu was referring to the decision by Education Minister Yuli Tamir (Labor) to remove the writings of Jabotinsky from the curriculum. Jabotinsky (1880-1940) founded the Zionism revisionist movement, the precursor to the Likud Party. He also helped form the British army's Jewish Legion during World War I, and the Irgun (IZL) underground movement. In addition, he was an author, orator, soldier and founder of the Jewish Self-Defense Organization in Odessa. Netanyahu also slammed the government's decision this week to release 199 security prisoners, two of them with "blood on their hands," as a gesture of goodwill to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. "The government decided several days ago to release hundreds of terrorists, and I ask a simple question: Why? What did we get in return? Releasing killers without gaining anything crosses a very dangerous line in the war on terror. They tell us it will strengthen Abbas, but it only strengthens terrorist groups," Netanyahu said. He recounted "failures upon failures" in the government's handling of security issues, "beginning in the Second Lebanon War, through the resolutions that came after the war, Hizbullah's rearmament, rocket fire on our communities and, of course, the [Gaza] cease-fire [that began in June] that is helping Hamas rearm. Now we can add this prisoner release to that list of failures." Netanyahu also criticized the government's economic policies. "After it has finished harvesting the fruit of the economic growth we created, this government is going to lose [this growth] - the tsunami is on its way. This bodes ill for Israel's economy. You cannot have security without [a strong] economy," he exclaimed. Deputy Foreign Minister Majallie Whbee (Kadima) responded by saying that Netanyahu "must think the public has the memory of a fish." Whbee also pointed out that the government had agreed to release only 199 prisoners and "not hundreds," including two murderers who had already served more than 30 years of their sentences. "The government wants to strengthen pragmatic elements in the Palestinian Authority - the forces that wish to make peace with us," he said. Whbee also reminded Netanyahu that when the latter was prime minister in the 1997, he approved the release of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the longtime spiritual leader of Hamas, in return for Mossad agents captured in Jordan.