The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
An exciting newcomer has arrived in the turbulent arena of Israeli politics. In her fiery speech during the recent countdown ceremony in the Revava settlement that marked the end of the ten-month moratorium on construction in Judea and Samaria, Tzipi Hotovely seized the moment. She eloquently encouraged the synthesis, so long deferred, between Judaism and Zionism. Even in her first term in the Knesset, at the age of 31 and its youngest member, her future impact already seems assured.
Passionately and articulately, Hotovely insisted that “the only government to rule this land is the government of Israel.” The Likud, she noted, “was not established to build a Palestinian state.” It must not support “any diplomatic process that destroys the Zionist enterprise in Judea and Samaria.”
Not since the days of Geula Cohen has such a forceful female voice – perhaps any voice – been heard in the Knesset asserting that the biblical homeland still belongs to the Jewish people within the state of Israel.
Who is Tzipi Hotovely and what has propelled her rapid political ascent? The daughter of immigrants from Georgia (Russia), she grew up in Rechovot, studied in the Ulpanit Bnei Akiva high school in Tel Aviv, received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in law at Bar-Ilan University, and became a lawyer in 2003 before entering a Ph.D. program at Tel Aviv University.
The Gaza disengagement, which she described as “a disaster, a Jewish-Israeli anti-democratic move against its own voters,” marked her political awakening. A year later she made her debut as the only religious right-winger on the popular political debate program “Moetzet HaHamim” (Council of Sages) and became a contributing columnist for Ma’ariv. One impressed television viewer was Benjamin Netanyahu, who invited her to join the Likud.
Describing her election to the Knesset a year ago as “hashgacha pratit” (divine providence), Hotovely has called for “a politics of values and ideology.” Her bedrock principle is: “Bring ideas and views; don’t play the game, don’t compromise.” In a political culture dominated for more than sixty years by secular men eager to compromise Israel’s biblical legacy, her passionate religious Zionism has the potential to transform Israeli politics.
Interviewed by The Jewish Press in July 2009, Hotovely stated bluntly: “Oslo is not an issue anymore because everyone knows the [peace] process failed and everyone is looking for a new way.” She expressed her belief that Netanyahu “will bring that new approach” even though, as interviewer Sara Lehmann pointed out, he had relinquished nearly all of Hebron to the Palestinian Authority during his first term as prime minister.
Any new approach seems far likelier to come from Hotovely than from Netanyahu, squeezed as he is by the United States to make ever more concessions to the Palestinians and likely, sooner or later, to oblige. In recent months, she has begun to circulate her ideas about the settlements, which currently agitate everyone from President Obama to President Ahmadinejad – and, not incidentally, about the future of the Jewish state.
“What is Zionism all about?” she asked rhetorically in her Jewish Press interview. Her answer: “Zionism is really about going back to Zion, going back to Jerusalem, going back to all those biblical places. We need to start talking about the peace process without removing people from the settlements.”
But how, exactly, can that be done? Early last month, Hotovely presented to the Likud Central Committee her proposal to annex Judea and Samaria and give full Israeli citizenship to all its Arab residents. The idea of “one state for two peoples” came from Uri Elitzur, formerly Netanyahu¹s bureau chief and now deputy editor of Makor Rishon, who introduced it last year at a conference organized by Hotovely.
To date, her one-state solution has received little, and at best tepid, support. But it rests on the reality that since Oslo – indeed, since the Peel Commission partition plan of 1937 – Palestinians have not accepted any partition offer short of Israeli self-dissolution. Nor can Israel muster its superior military power to have its way because, she says, “the world won’t accept inevitable pictures of dead children.” Therefore, Israel should begin to annex Judea and Samaria in stages, starting with the large settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley, where few Palestinians live and where Israel requires a security barrier.
About the Author: Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of “Jewish State/Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy,” to be published next month by Quid Pro Books.
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The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
For nearly sixty-five years national self-definition has been the skeleton in the closet of Israeli politics and culture.
During much of the 20th century, elite American colleges and universities carefully policed their admission gates to restrict the entry of Jews. Like its Big Brothers – Harvard, Yale and Princeton – Wellesley College, where I taught history between 1971 and 2010, designed admission policy to perpetuate a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite.
Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers (Harper) explores the lives of seven Israeli paratroopers in the Six-Day War who, his subtitle suggests, “Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation.” It offers a fascinating variation on the theme of Israel at a fateful crossroads, in search of itself, following the wondrously unifying moment at the Western Wall in June 1967 when Jewish national sovereignty in Jerusalem was restored for the first time in nineteen centuries.
In death as in life, Menachem Begin remained who he had always been: a proud yet humble Jew.
Eighty years ago, in January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Barely a month later Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated president of the United States. For the next twelve years, until their deaths eighteen days apart in April 1945, they personified the horrors of dictatorship and the blessings of democracy.
One of my searing early memories from Israel is a visit nearly four decades ago to the Ghetto Fighters Museum in the Beit Lohamei Hagetaot kibbutz. The world’s first Holocaust museum, it was built soon after the Independence War by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
Nearly sixty-five years ago Israel declared its independence and won the war that secured a Jewish state. But its narrow and permeable postwar armistice lines permitted incessant cross-border terrorist raids. For Egypt, Syria and Jordan, the mere existence of a Jewish state remained an unbearable intrusion into the Arab Middle East. As Egyptian President Nasser declared, “The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel.”
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