'Peace in the Middle East means a lack of war'

Education Minister Bennett says recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a 'drastic' step towards peace in the Middle East.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Naftali Bennett at the conference
Naftali Bennett at the conference
Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) spoke on Wednesday at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference.

When asked about his opinion on US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Bennett said, "Jerusalem has been and always will be" the eternal capital of Israel.

"We do not second-guess France's decision to have Paris as its capital, we don't say our embassy will be in Marseilles, We don't say our embassy will be in New York, it'll be in Washington D.C."

"I think what we're going to see today shows that Israel's strategic patience has paid off. We've been told again and again that if we want more acceptance, then we have to cut up parts of Israel and hand them over to our enemies. We're expected to sever this tiny country of ours and hand it over, [in order] to be loved."

Yet, he pointed out that "our drop in [world] sympathy and the Palestinian high point of sympathy was in 2005, when we gave up parts of Israel."

"You'd expect that if we're so nice...we'd see a jump in sympathy," he noted, explaining that the world admires strength. "You do gain sympathy for a couple of days," he admitted, but in the long run, "you gain derision."

He also emphasized that "there is no Israel without Jerusalem. Zion is Jerusalem." Recognizing this, he said, is "a big move forward towards peace," since there can "never" be "a peace that's predicated on dividing Jerusalem."

"Peace in the Middle East is not a piece of paper - peace in the Middle East is a lack of war. That's it."

"Ultimately, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel....and the capital of the world.

"We will always allow Muslims and Christians to exercise all religious rights. Jerusalem is thriving as perhaps never before....we're doing so well because Jerusalem is again in its natural place. It's the capital of the Jewish people."

Regarding his party's stance on the various investigations of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Bennett said "the real story of Israel is what the Prime Minister showed two minutes ago."

"Now there's a lot of fluff, there's a lot of noise. In Israel we're a country ruled by law, and according to the law, a mere indictment does not topple a government that was elected by millions of people.

"We back Netanyahu's policies, sometimes we differ, but by and large Israel is on the right path... We stand behind the Prime Minister in making Israel stronger."

Netanyahu is currently being investigated for allegedly receiving illegal gifts from billionaire friends, including large amounts of cigars and champagne - despite the fact that Netanyahu does not smoke. He is also suspected of meeting Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes to strike a deal. The deal would allegedy have seen Netanyahu advance legislation to close down the Sheldon Adelson-owned Israel Hayom freebie, in return for more favorable coverage from Yediot Aharonot. However, any indictment on the meetings would place a good many journalists and MKs, who have had their own secret meetings, in trouble.