Hershkowitz Evades the Question of Further Land Concessions
In an interview with Voice of Israel Radio on Wednesday, the new chairman of the Jewish Home party, Prof. Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz, was evasive when asked directly if he'd reject further territorial concessions and evictions of
"[Each] case, according to the circumstances, for each agreement, according to its price..." -- Prof. Rabbi Hershkowitz
Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. In a later interview with Arutz Sheva, he explained that a clear Jewish vision would have prevented past "expulsions," as he termed the 2005 Gaza-Samaria Disengagement.
According to a translation provided by Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA), Hershkowitz told Voice of Israel interviewer Aryeh Golan that "in the development of diplomatic positions, the right of every Jew to live in every place in the Land of Israel wasn't even part of the consciousness of those making the [Olso] agreements. When these values are missing it is easy to also make agreements where parts of the Land of Israel are easily ceded."
Aryeh Golan then asked, "You are not prepared to cede any inch of the Land of Israel?"
Hershkowitz : "First of all, I said that it is the right of every Jew..."
Golan interrupted and pressed, "There is 'right' and there is, you know, 'implementation'."
Hershkowitz: "Look, when you come to an agreement, there should be an awareness of this right and it should be in the background. ...[Each] case, according to the circumstances, for each agreement, according to its price, one must weigh everything."
Golan: "So you would be prepared to consider gathering in the settlements to settlement blocs as under the famous Bush Plan?"
Hershkowitz: "To the best of my knowledge at this juncture there is not a specific plan on the table so I prefer not to deal with hypothetical questions."
The Jewish Home chairman went on to reiterate his position that no leader should "forgo the right of every Jew to live in every part of the Land of Israel. This is a value of Judaism and the vision of Zionism - and by the way, not just of the national religious movement, but has always be a general Zionist value and this value should be in the background of matters...."
These values, he said, when held by the decision-makers, "by their nature, influence the nature of the agreements that they accept."
In a later interview with Arutz Sheva Radio in Hebrew, Hershkowitz explained the connection of the religious-Zionist vision to appeasement initiatives: "When there is no vision, you get the expulsion from Gush Katif and the expulsion from Amona, etc."
Hershkowitz's Wednesday interviews echoed the tone of his premier press conference on Monday, when he said of the Jewish Home party: "We do not see ourselves as a right-wing or left-wing party, we see ourselves as a party that is building a vision according to the values of Judaism - the Torah, Land and People of Israel - and in this party there is room for everyone."
In matters of national policy, he explained, the party decided that every Knesset member will be free to vote his or her conscience and will not be obligated by party discipline. The new party has yet to present a platform with detailed positions on specific issues on the national agenda.