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      MKs Seek Forgiveness for Freeze

      MKs from the Jewish Home and Yisrael Beiteinu parties apologize before Yom Kippur for the Judea and Samaria construction freeze.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 9/17/2010, 10:15 AM / Last Update: 9/17/2010, 10:58 AM

      Yoni Kempinski

      Members of Knesset from the Jewish Home and Yisrael Beiteinu “confessed their sins” Thursday, saying the Judea and Samaria construction freeze was a bad decision and they were sorry it had begun. Jews traditionally confess their sins prior to Yom Kippur and apologize to those they have wronged.

      Minister of Science Daniel Hershkowitz, head of the Jewish Home party, said, “Everyone has their personal introspection to do, but as a minister in the government, on a national level, the greatest mistake was the construction freeze, the decision made ten months ago. We came to the land to build and be built, and also, putting politics aside, it is absurd to freeze construction only for Jews.”

      If it weren't for the decision to freeze Judea and Samaria construction for Jews, the government would not currently be under pressure to continue the freeze, Hershkowitz said. “The mistake was that we set the standard that we can freeze construction, that is the sin and the great mistake, and I hope that regarding what we did, the damage can be rectified,” he said.

      Israel can repent for the freeze by refusing to extend it despite pressure from the United States, and renewing construction on September 26, he concluded.

      MK David Rotem of Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) made a similar apology. “We sinned in that we did not sufficiently strengthen our settlement in the land of Israel, and as a result, we did not sufficiently resist the construction freeze. For this we must ask forgiveness,” he said.

      Rotem listed other national sins as well. “We sinned in that we did not allow the soldiers of the IDF to protect the people of Israel with all their might. We sinned in that Gilad Shalit is still not home, because we should have carried out a strong, serious operation to bring him home,” he said.

      He added an apology to non-Jews who have been mistreated while attempting to convert to Judaism. “I want to request forgiveness from all those who wish to convert, and we create unnecessary obstacles,” he said.

      “I want to request forgiveness from all of those I mentioned, and I hope the next year will be a better year,” Rotem continued. He concluded, “We must make every effort to fix things, we may not always succeed, but we must make the maximum effort.”