Business tycoon Rami Levy has denied reports that he joined a group of top Israeli businessmen in pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Yediot Aharonot reported Monday that Levy, who owns the supermarket chain bearing his name, was part of a business owners’ group called Breaking the Impasse which has demanded that Netanyahu find a way to reach an agreement with the PA.
“I’m not a part of that,” Levy told Arel Segel of Galei Yisrael radio. Levy explained that he did meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu – but that he supports Netanyahu’s stance.
“I was in a meeting with the Prime Minister and he explained there that his goal is a diplomatic agreement, but that we also have security needs to consider. I definitely don’t think we need to surrender our strategic defense needs,” he said.
“I definitely do not think that settlements are an obstacle to peace,” added Levy, whose grocery chain has branches operating in Judea and Samaria (Shomron), and employs and serves both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs.
Regarding Monday’s report, Levy said, “I don’t know if the mistake was made by people at Yediot Aharonot or by the person who told them the story, but I’m not part of that declaration.”
Breaking the Impasse’s reported heavy pressure on Netanyahu to make concessions for the sake of an agreement was met with criticism from political leaders, among them Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home).
Bennett stated that while there is economic pressure on Israel to concede territory, “dividing the land of Israel would crush the Israeli economy.”