New York-born Likud contender promises to promote aliya and fight a two-state solution
Shmuel Sackett has served prison time for blocking roads while demonstrating against Oslo Accords.
By SHELLY PAZ
New-York born Shmuel Sackett, who was convicted of sedition for blocking roads during demonstrations against the Oslo Accords, hopes to run for Knesset with the Likud, and is contending for one of the slots reserved for immigrants in the party's primary Monday.
Sackett, 47, a supporter of far-right Likud Knesset hopeful Moshe Feiglin, has been publishing his cell phone number in ads in The Jerusalem Post and other media outlets, promising to make himself personally available to residents if he is elected.
He said that if he makes it into the Knesset, he will work to bring all Jews waiting to make aliya to Israel. He also rejects the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, saying this is the state of the Jewish people only.
"I am for settling any place we can in the State of Israel and building more settlements and more homes," he said. "My solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a strong Jewish state and a strong army that doesn't allow the terror to raise its head.
"Once you are weak, terror raises its head, but when you are strong and proud and you show them [the Palestinians] that you won't give away one centimeter, then the problems with the Arabs will be resolved," he said.
Both Sackett and Feiglin were given prison sentences for their anti-Oslo activity but they were later converted into community service. Sackett says he is still proud of what he had done.
Sackett, who made aliya 18 years ago with his wife and his four oldest children (two more were born here) says he feels more comfortable aiming for an "immigrant slot," slots 21 or 30, although his chances of defeating other candidates for those slots are considered slight.
Sackett and Feiglin established the Zo Artzeinu movement in December 1993, with the aim of blocking Israeli land concessions to the Arabs via civil disobedience.
Sackett says that as a representative of the movement, he has spoken in some 500 Jewish communities in North America about aliya and its challenges.
"I have been a wonderful ambassador for Israel and the Likud," he said.
Sackett studied and worked in marketing in New York. When he and his family moved to Israel they moved first to Karnei Shomron and then to Ra'anana; now they live in Herzliya Pituah.
Sackett said he is not concerned about Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu's efforts to keep Feiglin and his supporters out of realistic slots.
"I am motivated by Netanyahu's efforts," Sackett said. "He is afraid because he sees how strong we are. We don't appeal to the leaders of Likud but rather to Likud members who vote and who want a strong country with a strong Jewish identity and a strong IDF like we had in the past."
Though he has only praise for the work of Nefesh B'Nefesh, which has brought thousands of North American Jews to Israel, he believes a lot more can be done.
"There is a waiting list of 3,000 Jews who want to make aliya and are standing in line. I can understand a waiting list for a Paul McCartney concert but a waiting list for aliya? That doesn't make sense. The problem is that Nefesh B'Nefesh's resources are limited," he said.
Other issues he promises to tackle if elected are poverty and relations between the haredi and secular populations.
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