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Ministers Tell Kerry 'Condemn Terror, Not Jewish State'

Ministers slam Kerry statement on recognition 'mistake' during rocket barrage, say Washington is living in an 'illusion.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/14/2014, 11:44 AM

John Kerry
John Kerry
Reuters

Ministers slammed US Secretary of State John Kerry for saying Thursday that Israel's demand for recognition as a Jewish state by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a "mistake."

The statement, which was announced as rockets fired on Israel from Gaza rocket, has seen Kerry criticized for being disconnected from reality.

Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman called on Kerry to condemn the rocket barrage from Gaza on Israel's south, in which over 100 rockets have been fired since Wednesday.

"In days when citizens of the state of Israel are attacked by rockets, I expect clear statements from Kerry against the terror organizations instead of undermining the basic rights of the Jewish people to their land," stated Wortzman.

Noting Kerry's disconnection from realities on the ground, sources in Jewish Home said "from Washington they don't hear the sirens in Ashkelon, and that's unfortunate."

Kerry "doesn't understand the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that he pretends to be solving," said Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely to Yisrael Hayom.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon added "I am certain that Prime Minister (Binyamin) Netanyahu will know to well clarify for our friends in the American administration that we are connected to reality and not to illusions."

The criticism comes following PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's adamant refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Further, a senior PA official closely associated with Abbas on PA TV Wednesday called Israelis "an advanced instrument of evil," claiming "Allah will gather them so that we can kill them."

'Recognition of Jewish state is illegitimate'

However, not all Israeli politicians saw the need for the Jewish state to be recognized as such. Back in January, President Shimon Peres called the recognition "unnecessary."

MK Zehava Galon, Chairperson of the far-left Meretz party, spoke on Friday before her party's national committee, emphasizing Israel's democratic nature over its Jewish nature.

"Israel will be a Jewish state not thanks to Palestinian recognition, but only if a majority of citizens living here are interested in it being so," declared Galon. "As long as there is a democratic majority asking for the day of rest to be Shabbat, and for the holidays to be Jewish festivals, for the language to be Hebrew -- as long as Israelis want that, Israel will be a country with a Jewish character."

Galon further referenced a recent poll, claiming the demand for recognition as a Jewish state "is not only not legitimate, but also against the will of Israeli citizens. When they asked the Israeli public what it prefers, peace or recognition as a Jewish state, the Israeli public said clearly: we want peace."

The poll, conducted by the Washington-based S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, asked participants to select recognition as a Jewish state or “that the entire Arab world sign peace agreements and maintain normal relations with Israel," reports Haaretz. It is noted that on Sunday, the Arab League backed Abbas in refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Putting the results into further doubt is a poll from February, by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University. That poll found 77% of Israelis believe recognition of the Jewish state is crucial.

In context of polls, a survey released Tuesday by the same organizations found that two-thirds of the Jewish public does not trust Kerry’s framework agreement to take account of Israel’s security as a crucial factor.