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Daily Israel Report

Ben-Ari on Iran: Ready to Fight? Hit Gaza

MK Ben-Ari says that if the government is ready to fight enemies, it should start in Gaza. “We have bigger problems” than Iran.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/3/2012, 3:12 AM

MK Michael Ben-Ari (file)
MK Michael Ben-Ari (file)
Flash 90

Israel has bigger problems than Iranian threats, MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said Sunday. Speaking to supporters in the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa, he warned that internal threats to Israel’s identity are the real cause for concern.

If the government is prepared to strike Israel’s enemies, he said, it should strike Gaza. Hamas is constantly attacking Israel, he noted, telling the audience, “While you were enjoying your Sabbath meal Saturday, or going to the beach, people in Sderot had to stay close to their bomb shelters."

Ben-Ari joked that his stance on Iran “doesn’t sound right wing.”

There is another practical reason not to prioritize a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, he said: the fact that the Iranian regime can obtain a nuclear weapon without producing one itself, by buying it secretly from allies in eastern Europe or China. “We need to fight regimes,” he said, “not bombs.”

Israel’s most pressing concern is a lack of connection to Jewish heritage, he said. “A generation is being raised that doesn’t understand why it is here in Israel,” he declared.

He linked problems from the Anat Kam spy case to the illegal immigrant influx to the eviction of Jews from Migron earlier in the day to that lack of identity. "There's a feeling that we're in some device, and someone has pressed the self-destruct button," he said.

A video clip shown by activists in the Eretz Yisrael Shelanu party lightened the mood, as Ben-Ari was seen confronting actors who boycotted the theater in Ariel - during a live performance. "Is this what they're missing in Ariel?" he asked, drawing laughs from the Haifa audience.

The clip also mentioned the party's involvement in initiatives to assist the poor. During his speech, Ben-Ari noted that while he is not an economic expert, his core issues all have an economic impact. When business owners try to save money by hiring illegal migrants, Israelis lose their jobs, he said, and when the government reinforces the walls of every school near Gaza rather than attacking Hamas, Israeli taxpayers spend billions.

He concluded his speech by telling his audience to support not him, but the ideas he represents. His hope, he said, is to “make some small crack in the insanity here” in his lifetime.