Mickey Levi
Mickey LeviFlash 90

Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levi (Yesh Atid) spoke at the Knesset on Wednesday, after European Parliament head Martin Schulz delivered a speech in which he leveled several accusations against Israel, triggering a firestorm of criticism. In response to the denigration, Levi noted the archaeological proof refuting the aspersions of "occupation."

"I can't ignore what happened in the previous speech, and previous incidents," remarked Levi. "My fellow MKs, our right to the this land is not in doubt. Because I was the Jerusalem police chief I know every meter and square... I invite you to see antiquities that were excavated from around the Temple Mount."

Addressing the Arab MKs, Levi remarked "I invite you to go there, to what you call 'ancient Al Aqsa,' and the Hulda Steps that lead to the Temple Mount, and there look at the ceiling, where you will see the work of Jewish artists who crafted in the ceiling a lulav, etrog, and pomegranates, to understand our rights to this land once and for all."

"Go to Solomon's Stables," added Levi, "and go to the south-east side, where you will see a stone engraved with a lulav," a traditional Jewish symbol used in the Sukkot holiday. Levi noted that every time he would enter the Temple Mount as police chief, "I would go to that stone that's in the corner (of Solomon's Stables) that apparently most don't know about, I would touch it, and feel that I was touching the wings of history."

"And if you don't believe me, I'll offer myself as a guide who knows all the depths of the tunnels, to come and visit to understand once and for all the rights of the Jewish people to this land, which we have returned to after 2,000 years," remarked Levi. "We don't intend to give up this land again, and we won't lose the next war if it comes, and I hope it won't come."

The Yesh Atid MK concluded "our right is historical, deep-rooted, and ethical."

Sparking Levi's comments were Schulz's accusations, labeling Jewish communities over the 1949 Armistice lines "settlements" and "obstacles to peace." The EU leader added "the blockade of Gaza creates despair and extremism." He also claimed Israel was giving Arabs in Judea and Samaria 17 cubic liters of water a day, as opposed to 70 cubic liters a day to Israelis.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted Schulz didn't bother to check the facts, as indeed even Palestinian Authority (PA) records put the lie to the claims, showing Arabs in the region receive at least 37 cubic liters a day. Israel water company Mekorot and the Water Authority note the number as 60 cubic liters.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett demanded an apology for the baseless claims, noting that Israel fully withdraw from Gaza in 2005 and is not imposing a siege.