The war of words is on between Bayit Yehudi Chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Likud Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Responding to the Friday morning quick police and army eviction of 20 Jewish families from homes they claim to have purchased legally, Bennett’s party issued a statement saying:
“In the midst of the terror wave, the defense minister acted with determination, obtuseness, and without compromise to kick Jews from their homes.
“This is a case of irresponsibility, intellectual paralysis and a needless fanning of the emotional flames.
“Let the defense minister apply the same zeal and determination to taking care of the Arab terror and illegal construction in terrorist settlements. It would have been possible to examine the purchase documents without throwing Jews from their homes.”
The defense minister said in a statement, “The state of Israel is a state of laws, and I have no intention to compromise when the law has been broken. In the case of the Hebron homes the law was broken openly and crudely. Entering a home requires several legal procedures, none of which was followed. This is why the squatters were evicted.”
Ya’alon also called on coalition members to restrain their statements, saying “the conduct and speech of some politicians on this topic border on anarchy and harm our national resilience.”
MKs Ayoob Kara (Likud), Oren Hazan (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich have informed Prime Minister Netanyahu that the evacuation of the Jews from the two buildings would result in their resignation from the coalition. MK Smotrich tweeted overnight: “If the homes that were purchased by the Hebron settlers are evacuated because the Defense Minister was insulted that they didn’t coordinate the takeover with him, this would be a serious folly which we cannot endorse.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) condemned the eviction, saying that “when settlers follow the law, [Ya’alon] should have waited with the eviction and examine the legal options that would boost the settlement endeavor while upholding the law.” He also said that “at a time when our enemies are trying to attack not only our bodies but also our right to the land, the proper message should be that we’ve returned home.”
Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) said “the previous government collapsed because it practiced arm twisting instead of seeking understanding. The defense minister in Hebron and not only there has been leading us to a similar situation.”
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) also attacked the eviction, saying it’s “a scandal that cries to high heaven, which would not have been accepted anywhere else in the world.” He stressed that “just as a man who purchases a home in Tel Aviv is free to enter it without any needless Bureaucratic procedures, so it should have been in Hebron. It’s time to put an end to the unlawful discrimination against the settlers. I demand of the defense minister stop the eviction process at once and to bring the issue for a decision in the next cabinet meeting Sunday.”