Shanah Tovah and Hag Sameah!
Every week, we bring you the words of various public figures who briefly describe what sovereignty means for them. For the New Year, we would like to expand for you our basic principles of the aspiration for sovereignty.
Sovereignty for us is the current task of Zionism .
The Jewish People established a state, gathered and continues to gather Jews from the diaspora and we liberated parts of our historic homeland and settled them in order to implement our historic right and the Zionist vision. Following the extensive and vibrant settlement boom, the time has come to bestow permanent status upon the Jewish settlement and the holdings in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley. For this, we must take the next step: sovereignty.
The application of sovereignty is the natural path of progress for Zionism. The implementation of sovereignty will bring about the realization of our right to the Land, according to the Tanach, history, geography, international law and especially, according to justice. Only a sovereign people can build large, new communities in a stately way and bring another 2 million Jews to the area.
The process of applying sovereignty depends on the consent of the cabinet of Israel and/or Knesset, which represents all of the citizens of Israel. In the past decade, our goal, and accordingly, our activities, were twofold: first and foremost, to bring the matter of sovereignty to the center of public discourse and to remove from this discourse dangerous ideas of dividing the Land, concessions, withdrawals and establishing an alien state in the heart of our Land. In parallel, we acted to bring about a governmental decision to apply Israeli sovereignty over all parts of our Land.
After ten years of activities in the field, in urban centers, with conferences, in the corridors of the Knesset and ministers’ offices, we can summarize by saying that so far, we have succeeded to implement the first part. This vision of sovereignty is today the central vision on policy and the political agenda. Even if there is opposition from the Left, it is also clear to them that the question before us is the question of sovereignty, yes or no, when, how, while ideas from the Left have been shelved, at least for now. On the other hand, the other channel of our activity has not yet succeeded. We still have not achieved the governmental decision to apply sovereignty.
This situation does not weaken our position at all. Our movement has a great tailwind from the Israeli public and its voice resounds among Israeli policy makers. After ten years of intensive activity, it is clear that more efforts are required, but we will succeed because historic justice is on our side.
At this point, we must carefully weigh our steps to the desired governmental decision. We must locate the weak points in our activities and strengthen them.
Until now, we have worked hard in the aspect of consciousness-raising. The first steps were in the “hard” nucleus of the Right and the settlement enterprise, from there we progressed to members of Knesset and ministers, we brought the vision of sovereignty to the heart of the Likud, the ruling party, and from here to the entire national camp, with the sense and understanding that this camp expresses the position of the majority of the people in Israel.
It is important to emphasize that we set out on our public way based on the public activities of those who began before us, people like Mike Weiss, Caroline Glick, Yoram Ettinger, Rav Benny Elon, obm, Uri Elitzur, obm and others. Following the change of consciousness that occurred among the people, politicians and statesmen began to present various plans for sovereignty, to bring them up for public discussion and promote them in various arenas. In the Likud Central Committee, a resolution was passed supporting the application of sovereignty over the areas of Jewish settlement, and members of Knesset and Likud ministers clearly expressed their support for sovereignty over the areas of settlement (in the first phase?) and against a Palestinian state. Public figures such as former ministers Naftali Bennett and Bezalel Smotrich, former Member of Knesset Moshe Feiglin and others also wrote orderly plans for sovereignty whether over the entire area or in phases.
We received dramatic proof of the success of the hasbara and consciousness-raising activity in the last elections, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found it appropriate to promise to apply sovereignty immediately after his victory. This, with the understanding that sovereignty would bring about broad public support and be expressed at the ballot boxes.
Steps of sovereignty advanced, one after the other, until the appearance of the U.S. President Donald Trump’s Deal of the Century. The plan, that was presented as promoting sovereignty, returned to the political discourse the idea of a Palestinian state, long after the people in Israel had already become disillusioned in it.
The Deal of the Century led to a deep debate within the Rightwing community. The argument was on tactics, an argument between pragmaticism and idealism. Many members of the Likud, like many others in the Right camp, clearly oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state, but support the application of sovereignty over 30% of the area of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley (only 10% of the area of Judea and Samaria) and faced a difficult decision, whether it is correct to agree to a political deal that includes agreeing in principle to establishing a Palestinian state. Some tried to “kasher” the unkosher animal in the belief that the usual Arab refusal would not allow the idea to come to fruition, and as long as we had the possibility to take a first step forward sovereignty, even if only partial, it should be done.
In contrast to this position, we and others, including the majority of the YESHA Council, oppose any step that includes concessions, even if only in principle. You don’t give up your principles – you don’t make deals on the Land of Israel.
Also, many on the Right and the Left believe that now, following many disappointments and over the various generations in PA leadership, the Arabs might just surprise us and agree to the partial step, if only so that they can establish a state on 90 percent of the territory of Judea and Samaria.
Also, the idea that the Deal of the Century is a political plan whose two parties are Israel and the U.S., excluding the Palestinians, is very concerning. Israel’s commitment to the plan is independent of Arab agreement or rejection, because it is a commitment to the Americans, in a way, an Israeli agreement to cede territory to the Americans, who will continue from this point to manage negotiations with the Palestinians. The agreement that was signed this past week between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain is an integral part of the overall deal that includes what is known as the Deal of the Century. Jared Kushner, the U.S. President’s son-in-law, is striving with all his might to implement the plan and has changed the order a bit in order to do it. After the hope of first establishing a Palestinian state and then arranging peace with Arab countries (as in the Saudi initiative) failed, Kushner, the main sponsor of the recent agreements, changed the order of things out of the belief that after the agreements with the Gulf states, the Palestinians’ turn at the negotiating table would also come and this time, with a tailwind of urgency provided by the Arab world.
At the time of this writing, the content of the agreement and what is written in its accompanying appendices is still not known exactly. We must think and plan the next phase in the campaign for the application of sovereignty:
1. We must change the perception that Israel must always pay with hard currency for making peace. Why? If Israel is a secure and prosperous, start-up power, then the Israeli “payment” can and must come with these strengths. The idea that Israel should pay in parts of her homeland comes from weakness and the sense that the Land of Israel does not belong to us. Indeed, no one would give up his son for any price in any kind of deal. It seems that this simple principle is still not clear.
2. We must focus on education, to learn and teach the value of the Land of Israel, her role in the process of redemption, her ethical role. For this, we must enlist spiritual people to build a curriculum, activities for various media, videos and other things.
3. We must progress from idealistic settlement to popular settlement. The circles of settlement must expand both in the field de facto and in Israeli consciousness.
4. Economic sovereignty. We must emphasize the economic benefits of sovereignty for the People of Israel. For this, we should formulate a well-reasoned hasbara procedure, distribute it and instill it.
5. Emphasize the security value of sovereignty. History proves that there is calm only in the places where we rule. Any place where Israel’s hand is weak, there is no end of trouble.
6. We must continue the political activity in the Knesset and the government, in the hope that all of the bodies of the ideological Right that have been calling recently to join the Likud, indeed succeed in having influence and overcoming the Prime Minister’s world-view as it was expressed in the Bar Ilan speech.
7. We must not cease to protect the land, to settle, settle, settle.
8. We must always be the initiators and lead sovereignty forward.
We await the results of the elections in the U.S. to formulate a detailed plan of action for each of these points. There is no doubt that we must complete the process of sovereignty! We would be delighted to hear your suggestions.
Peace for sovereignty
The prime Minister’s brain washing is working (he knows how to sell). He waves an agreement with the Emirates as “peace in exchange for peace” and our friends, especially from abroad, ask us what is so bad about a temporary delay of sovereignty. What is so bad about cultivating relations with Arab countries, and meanwhile, the Palestinians will see that they will lose out by cutting relations with Israel and in the future, they will agree to sovereignty as well.
It will happen in a few years, have a little patience, they tell us.
And we respond: No! It is impossible to wait and delay! The Salam Fiyyad plan for Area C is continuing to be implemented. It is not being delayed. Every moment the PA grabs more and more hectares of Area C land. The Arabs are establishing a de facto state, determining facts on the ground. Anyone who read the excellent article last Shabbat by Yehuda Yifrah (and it’s a must read) on the actions of the Civil Administration and the legal system understands that we are acting with bound hands and feet, as the Jews are perceived as “temporary” in the area while the Arabs are the “locals”. This is why sovereignty and settlement are essential. Only in this way can we protect our Land.
There are those who mistakenly view our actions as part of a narrow-minded view that opposes agreements that strengthen Israel’s international standing. We hear this and they ask us why we don’t cast our glance higher, in a more global view, which doesn’t see only the Land of Israel. We are commanded to repair the world, they say.
There is no doubt that even while we support political agreements that increase Israel’s strength and position, political agreements must be reached from a position of strength. We must not be dragged to the negotiating table as weaklings, as those who make concessions and withdrawals and who leave behind their national and territorial values, even if it is only for a symbolic statement that will not yet be implemented. The State of Israel must reach political agreements from a strong position, from faith in the justice of her cause and from a sober, geo-political view.
We must consider well what is the correct order, whether from outside in or the opposite, from inside out. Will our strength come from forming alliances or from fulfilling our national obligations to conquer the Land and liberate it? Our view is that the correct order is to complete the great task that began with the Six Day War, the conquest of the Land and applying sovereignty over it. We must establish a spirit and morality that will radiate upon the entire world. And if they ask us what comes first, it is clear that sovereignty is first, because sovereignty is forever, while agreements might be temporary and transitory, as recent history has shown.
Israel’s strength allows her to promote in parallel, both the vision of sovereignty and political agreements. These things are not contradictory. We must not be as grasshoppers in our own eyes, we must not underestimate the strength and power of Israel. Political agreements that include an agreement to postpone sovereignty and freeze settlement have practical significance as well as significance in the aspect of international consciousness, that we agree, Heaven forbid, to concede on the Land.
Congratulations to the Sovereignty Movement’s activists and Sovereignty Youth, who mobilized this past week to send messages to ministers and members of Knesset with the demand to reveal the details of the accords with the Arab states, to stand strong and ensure that there is nothing in the agreement to harm the Land of Israel.
Congratulations to the YESHA Council and its head for the intense pressure that they exerted on members of Knesset and the government to assure that the peace agreement will indeed be an agreement and not an extortion of Israel to give up building in Judea and Samaria while quietly promoting the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The youth writes
Here is a letter, one of many, written by members of Sovereignty Youth this week to the Prime Minister and other ministers:
Thanks to the peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates, we can all go for a vacation in Abu Dhabi in just a few weeks, pack our suitcases with some clothes and leave all our values behind.
We will not forget to take a camera to document the wonderful moment, but we will already have forgotten the land that we dreamed of for thousands of years.
But just before we forget, run away and board a flight, let’s think carefully whether we are willing to pay the high price of this vacation. Are we ready to sacrifice our homeland for it? Will we have an enemy state in the heart of our Land in exchange? And haven’t we forgotten ourselves during the shutdown, and has the dream of a vacation overcome the dream of the application of sovereignty? Have we not been deceived by the promises of our leaders, and forgotten to examine the details of the agreement with utmost care?
Benjamin Netanyahu, now it all depends only on you. You are the one who will decide one way or the other. Between Abu Dhabi and Greater Jerusalem, between the application of sovereignty or a vacation. It is up to you.
We cannot forget ourselves. We cannot forget who we are, what we are, and what we have always dreamed of. Please, don’t forget yourself.
The lack of sovereignty
Shortly, we will be sitting at the holiday table, laden with blessings and symbolism. We will all dip apple in honey and savor the sweetness. But for the Goldin and Shaul families, bitterness will also be at the table. And it will be so at the tables of the many friends and dear ones of Hadar and Oron, z”l.
One more holiday without Hadar and Oron, fierce fighters who gave their lives in defense of the People and the Land. We have not yet fulfilled our obligation to return them and bring them to Jewish burial. There is no limit to the suffering of these families. The suffering and pain are increased because again and again, there have been opportunities to force Hamas to return the sons, but again and again, for 6 years now, we have been missing these opportunities.
We have a sovereign government but it behaves weakly and submissively. The government submits to the whims Hamas. It would have been enough to not allow money to be transferred from Qatar every month, it would have been enough if we had not given them ventilators, if we hadn‘t returned the bodies of terrorists to them, but our government is not resolute and we allow Hamas to extort us.
The government and the IDF have an ethical obligation to return Hadar and Oron. We must work with the government and the Knesset in such a way as to bring this absurdity to an end.
May the Year 5781 be a year of intensive activity to return the sons to their families, to the bosom of their People.
For the new year, we would like to wish the government of Israel to stand strong, to work for the application of sovereignty, acceleration of settlement and victory over the plague.
To you, dear friends and partners, we wish you much strength so that we will be able to continue our activity and achieve our goals from strength to action, from the joy of creation and unity of purpose.
We have no doubt that the course of sovereignty must be completed and will be completed please G-d. The people of Israel and the Land of Israel are on the track towards redemption, with many ups and a few downs. The voices rising from the Jewish world to continue to gather Land, the scientific flourishing, the greatest Torah world ever, a strong IDF and especially a lot of thirst for truth , these are all steps to an even better future for our great People in our amazing G-d given Biblical Homeland.
"Delight to your Land and joy to your city”
Do good in Thy favour unto Zion; build Thou the walls of Jerusalem (Psalm 51)
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar