Outgoing Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) told the Jerusalem Conference Monday that a peace agreement in the coming years is not possible, but that he also believes the idea of expelling – or “transferring” – the Arab population out of Israel is no longer taken seriously among Jews.
Therefore, he said, the Jews and Arabs must learn, over time, to coexist peacefully.
Edelstein said that the way to achieve this was not through a “postmodern” discourse that annuls nationality. The former Soviet refusenik recalled a Soviet prison camp guard who berated him for his Jewish nationalism, which ran counter to the anti-nationalist, internationalist Soviet creed. Edelstein noted to the guard with irony that in the Soviet Union members of various minorities have lost their own identities, but are still able to hate the others' identities.
Edelstein also bemoaned the shallowness of the media, which he said does not want to discuss real issues, and instead peddles stories like the “bottle scandal” against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife. He asked politicians to change the agenda and raise more serious subjects for debate.