Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer publicly criticized Didi Dickstein on Thursday. Dickstein, whose parents and brother were murdered in a terrorist attack in 2002, was evicted this week from his home in the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El.
He carried a picture of his slain family with him as he was taken out of his home.
Someone who had witnessed the eviction posted a picture of Dickstein on his Facebook page. Oppenheimer saw the young man’s decision to carry the family photo as a cynical attempt at manipulation – and wrote as much.
Several people slammed Oppenheimer for the criticism. “You threw him out of his home after murdering his family,” said one, while another responded to his accusation of manipulation by saying, “What, like you [Peace Now activists] do with the Supreme Court?”
Oppenheimer defended his criticism. “The person who knowingly built illegal homes, encouraged families to move in, blackmailed the government and got it to dismantle stone homes in 108 pieces at the public’s expense is the cynical one in this story,” he said. “To come in front of the cameras with a picture of victims murdered in a terrorist attack, and to tie them to the corruption in the Ulpana affair, does not honor the memory of the slain or the family itself.”
In fact, Ulpana residents believed their homes had been built legally, and the land was in fact purchased from a Palestinian Authority resident. A second PA resident filed suit against the buildings only years after the families had moved in, claiming to be the real owner of the land.
Oppenheimer’s defense just led to further criticism. One Facebook user said, “As someone who knew the family before the murder and after, I say they have the right to make any use of their parents’ memory, cynical or not. Nothing they do will come close to a tiny part of what they went through over the past ten years.”
A response accused Oppenheimer of hypocrisy in complaining over the cost of removing the homes. “Given that the land will never go back to the ‘Arab owner,’ and he will never work the land – like he never did in the past – the only ones wasting public money on uprooting the homes are the Jewish organizations that went to the Supreme Court in the matter,” the author wrote.
Another poster told Oppenheimer that he was trying to believe that Peace Now genuinely believes its path is correct. “Unfortunately, I can’t do it,” he said. “You’re making too many people feel and think that you’re a traitor… I don’t know what makes a (sane??) person obsessively go after his Jewish brothers??”
Oppenheimer told Arutz Sheva that he stands by his words. He reiterated criticism of the plan to disassemble the homes, adding, “I expect the sane settlers to oppose this adventure as well.”
In a rare occurrence, Oppenheimer agrees with nationalist MKs Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad of the National Union Party, who oppose the cost of "moving" the homes.