'A grain of sand won't move from Ofra or Amona'

Science Minister Ofir Akunis sounds off to Arutz Sheva about possibility of unity government, looming demolition of Ofra and Amona.

Shimon Cohen ,

Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis
Flash 90

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Science Minister Ofir Akunis of the Likud was asked about the reported reopening of negotiations for a unity government between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog of the left-wing Zionist Union. The reports have started quite a furor in Zionist Union circles.

"I am not one of those who supports the Zionist Union's entering a right-wing coalition that has been successfully governing for a year and a half. We passed the biannual budget a week or two ago, and this gives us political as well as financial stability. I don't think including the Zionist Union will help this, certainly not if they would replace our sister party--Jewish Home. I strenuously oppose a unity government, there is an ideological gulf between us and the Zionist Union, we see that in every issue."

Akunis also doesn't accept the analysts' opinion that Netanyahu needs Herzog in his government in order to have a political card to play against Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett or any other "dissidents" in his government. Akunis says that in political life the political "cards" aren't what's important but rather one's actions are. "Therefore when you get things done, like this government does, I don't see any necessity to bring in the Zionist Union, not a political need and not an ideological need. We are now standing before two tough tests: Amona and Ofra. We need to make it our top priority - aside from our standing security concerns - to ensure that not a grain of sand from someones house is expelled from Amona or Ofra. This is a difficult and challenging mission which pits us against internationally-funded organizations that search high and low for Palestinians to make ownership claims on land even they never knew belonged to them.

"I have no doubt that our government will find the best possible solution to ensure that both Amona and the houses in Ofra will remain standing as they are. This is a government whose main purpose is building. There's a housing crisis and we need to keep building and settle our entire land whether it's in Amona, Ofra, Ariel, Judea, Samaria, the Golan, the Galilee, Eilat or the Negev. This is a Zionist mission and not the mission of any specific administration. With the current coalition members - the Likud, Yisrael Beitenu and Jewish Home - real right-wing parties, we will do everything we can and we will succeed to leave the Jewish residence everywhere in our land standing. And I will soon say this in Amona itself.