Daily Israel Report

Jordan Valley Chief Unfazed by PM's Speech

Local authority head Elhayani says no matter what happens, Israel will retain Jordan Valley.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/18/2011, 7:40 PM / Last Update: 5/18/2011, 10:24 AM

Flash 90

The head of the Jordan Valley local authority, David Elhayani, says he is not worried by the speech Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered in the Knesset Tuesday. In the speech, Netanyahu said that any peace treaty with the Arabs would have to allow the IDF to maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. 

Coupled with the term "painful concessions" - a euphemism for withdrawal from land and the tearing down of Jewish communities - the speech was seen by some as an indication that Netanyahu  would tear down Jewish communities along the Jordan.
 
Speaking with Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language service, Elhayani made it clear he does not share this view. A continued IDF presence along the Jordan does not mean there will not be Jewish communities there as well, he said. "I trust that the Prime Minister knows how important the Jordan Valley is to the State of Israel. Eighty-four percent of Israeli Jews want continued Israel sovereignty  in the Jordan Valley."
 
Elhayani hinted that Netanyahu speaks differently in face-to-face meetings, and explained that the Prime Minister chose his words carefully because of the public nature of the speech. "When the Prime Minister spoke of a military presence, he was just being responsible. After all, I know the true opinion of the Prime Minister and of ministers who support a continued presence along the Jordan Valley. Security was simply the most trivial thing to talk about."