Rabbi Chaim Druckman, head of the network of Bnei Akiva yeshivas, had harsh words Thursday for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent suggestion that Israel concede most of Judea and Samaria (Shomron) to the Palestinian Authority.
According to a leak from senior sources in his bureau, Netanyahu suggested that the numerous Israeli citizens currently living in Judea and Samaria could be allowed to stay where they are, but as citizens of a new Arab state, rather than be forcibly expelled from their homes by Israel.
Speaking in advance of a planned prayer rally at the Kotel (Western Wall), Rabbi Druckman said, “I don’t believe my ears. Who is it they want to give parts of our land to?
“One does not give one’s homeland even to friends, let alone to mortal enemies,” he told IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal).
International pressure on Israel is not a reason to make dangerous concessions, he continued. “The nation of Israel is a stiff-necked people, we have survived for thousands of years despite everything,” he argued.
“We’ve lost our senses,” he lamented.
Rabbi Druckman said he does not oppose the creation of a state of “Palestine” – as long as it is not in Israel’s heartland. “I support creating 100 states for 100 peoples, just not in Israel. The land of Israel is the land of the people of Israel,” he said.
“I am completely against any agreement like this,” he continued. “We will not give any part of our land to foreign rule. No normal nation would do such a thing.”
Netanyahu’s proposal was also criticized by Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, who declared that leaving Israelis under Palestinian rule was impossible because the Israelis would be murdered.
Bennett was slammed for criticizing the Prime Minister, and was accused of having ruined a plan to expose the Palestinian Authority’s hatred by watching it – yet again – reject the notion of accepting Israeli Jews as citizens.
There were reports that the Bennett-Netanyahu tension was being engineered to drive a wedge between the two. Bennett later apologized to Netanyahu, but did not retract his criticism of the plan itself.
Regarding the Bennett-Netanyahu conflict, Rabbi Druckman said, “I won’t get into that topic.” He added, “Of course there is no need to insult the prime Minister, who is under very heavy pressure, but we have to stand up for principle.”