A fierce debate broke out in Sunday’s cabinet meeting as Minister of Economy and Trade Naftali Bennett of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) faction faced off against Justice Minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnua over the topic of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
Livni expressed opposition to the government’s inclusion of Judea and Samaria towns as “national priority” areas.
“I don’t understand why we have to include those towns? We must not include growth, or give preference, to dangerous areas,” she argued.
Bennett slammed her statement. “We’re lucky that the pioneers of Kibbutz Hanita didn’t think like you,” he told Livni, referring to a town built in northern Israel in response to Arab attacks on Jews in 1936, in pre-state Israel.
He agreed that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria face unique dangers.
“Three-year-old Adelle Biton felt that,” he said. Adelle Biton was critically wounded in an attack on her family’s car.
“Due to the danger alone, these communities must get national benefits to encourage settlement in Judea and Samaria,” he argued.
Bennett also criticized Minister of Environmental Protection Amir Peretz (Hatnua) for his opposition to the plan. Peretz lives in the Negev town of Sderot, which has frequently suffered from terrorist rocket attacks.
“Amir Peretz lives in an area no less dangerous than Judea and Samaria,” Bennett pointed out. He added, “This is our land.”
The government approved the list of “national priority” regions, including Judea and Samaria towns, with a vote of 15 in favor to 4 against.
Those who opposed were Hatnua ministers Livni and Peretz, and Yesh Atid ministers Yael German and Yaakov Peri.