The settlers’ share in Israel’s security – in blood and money – is greater than that of any other sector in Israel’s population.
As is widely known, there are a disproportionately large number of soldiers from the settlements fighting in combat and elite units. What is less widely known is that the settlers are the most economically productive sector in Israel; they are the true middle-class. As such, their share in taxes paid to the state, which trickle down to the military budget, is proportionately the highest in Israel.
The idea of abandoning them to the murderous hordes of the PLO and Hamas is evil and cruel. But if someone seriously intends to do this, it is only right that the settlers’ proportional part in the IDF be left in their hands – giving them the ability to defend themselves.
The main obligation (according to some, the only obligation) of a state toward its citizen is to provide them with security. If the state of Israel is incapable of upholding its basic contract with its citizens in Judea and Samaria, that is fine. But just as there is a price tag attached to a couple when they decide to divorce, so too is a price tag attached to a state when it chooses to opt out of its basic contract with its citizens. That price tag: the state cannot leave with all of its shared assets. The settlers, who lawfully built their homes and paid with their taxes and lives in order to receive promised security from their state, deserve to have their investments returned.
The settlers should make this case to the state: You want to leave? No problem. Just return everything that you have taken from us, the things that helped you provide us with your basic commitment to us: security. Give us the weapons that were bought with our tax dollars so that we will be able to defend ourselves.
This type of demand by the settlers’ leadership will ensure that the ensuing public debate will focus on rights, not on pleas for mercy.
Anybody who thought that we could prevent Israeli retreats with convincing and love – or with demonstrations and a determined struggle – must understand that those methods will not work. There is one way to prevent retreat and to change direction: to rule.
It is time to understand that he who rules makes the rules.
About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.
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