(JNS) Evyatar, the unauthorized settlement outpost that was voluntarily evacuated in July as part of a deal with Israel’s fledgling government, is back in the news. It returned to the headlines on Feb. 1 when Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, on his last day in office, gave the legal stamp of approval to the deal, touching an ideological nerve within the coalition and raising the question whether Evyatar will become a wedge splitting its left and right blocs.
As to be expected, the Meretz Party, on the far-left of the government, issued the harshest condemnation, likening the settlement to a criminal project. “If I can overthrow Evyatar—I will, even if it means overthrowing the government,” said Meretz Knesset member Moshe Raz on Feb 2. Two days later, his party lodged a formal complaint with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
Lapid sided with Meretz, sending his own letter to Bennett. In a meeting of his Yesh Atid Party on Feb. 7, he told the press, “This agreement was not made with me. I represent half of the government and therefore it is not valid in my eyes, and I oppose it.”
As Evyatar advances, some question if it will cause the government to weaken.
“Evyatar has become a symbolic hot potato,” said Yechiel Leiter, a senior fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a Jerusalem-based think tank. He told JNS that Lapid, by raising its importance, forces the right-wing of the coalition to do likewise.