WZO Settlement law passes amid name calling

Members of Knesset resort to name calling, and cite 'Blood Wedding' while discussing WZO Settlement Division acceptance.

Raphael Poch ,

 (Illustrative)View of a plenum session and vote
(Illustrative)View of a plenum session and vote
Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Following hours of overnight deliberations, the Knesset approved a bill early Thursday morning that will regulate the legal status of the Settlement Division and make it now part of the World Zionist Organization.

The bill, which was highly controversial was submitted by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home). The bill passed by a vote in the plenum of 53-48 vote. Eitan Broshi (Zionist Camp) abstained.

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) presented the proposal and told the press that "this is something that should have taken place 67 years ago, with the establishment of the State." Slomiansky was unavailable for further comment when contacted by Arutz Sheva.

The bill gives the role of the WZO Settlement Division in funding and developing Jewish communities in the Golan, and Judea and Samaria as well as the Galilee and the Negev legal status. The decisions made however, are subject to the government`s approval.

The bill was proposed with explanatory notes. According to those notes ”The purpose of the bill is anchored in legalizing the longstanding engagement between the Israeli government and the WZO Settlement Division, which for decades has served as the singular body for settlement development in Israel, and the realization of the Zionist mission of the State of Israel.”

Members of the opposition expressed their displeasure with the bill, and connected it to the recent wedding video that aired on Channel 10 showing Jewish extremists appearing to celebrate the deadly Duma arson at a recent wedding.

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) said, ”This appears to be a technical debate, but we just saw the video showing youngsters repeatedly stabbing the photo of a baby who was murdered - this is the general topic we are discussing today. My Judaism is not the Judaism of those who danced at the wedding with knives. My Judaism is not Judaism of hatred or burning or dancing on the blood of babies.”

”This Settlement Division Law is part of that same group. This proposal is meant to fool the Americans,” she added. ”In essence, the government is transferring to the Settlement Division the powers, but not the obligations. I would have been prepared to accept this law had one sentence been added to it – that everything that applies to the government also applies to the Settlement Division. But of course this was not accepted.”

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) said ”perhaps [the law] is meant to deceive the European Union, but it makes room for lying to the state and lying to the court.” Stern even went so far as to single out Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) and called him “a dishonest and inciting man”. “It cannot be that funds allotted by you will go to incitement and deception,” Stern concluded.  

MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) said the situation is more  complex and will not work in the favor of settlement blocs in the long run. The Settlement Division “is trying to create a political reality that will come at the expense of the settlement blocs. Ma`ale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel are being held hostage by the illegal outposts. We are protecting the settlement blocs. "

Lapid, also referred to the Channel 10 footage and called it "The Blood Wedding". 

"Earlier we saw footage from the blood wedding. These people are not Jews, and we must fight them just like we fight Hamas and Hezbollah. They did not grow in a void – they have rabbis and an ideology. It is time that we come out against the extremism of the blood wedding, which was born in those same outposts which people are trying to fund through this bill.”