Photo Credit: Menachem Lederman/Flash90
The Hassi River flowing through the center of Kibbutz Nir David in the Beit She'an Valley in northern Israel, August 9, 2020.

On Tuesday, Minister for Community Empowerment and Advancement Orly Levy-Abekasis attacked from the Knesset podium the members of Kibbutz Nir David in the Beit She’an Valley in northern Israel who blocked access to the general public to a stretch of Hassi River, a.k.a. Naẖal ‘Amal, which runs through their land.

Knesset Member Orly Levy-Abekasis / Hillel Maeir/TPS

Levy-Abekasis, who resides nearby and is the daughter of former Likud kingmaker David Levy, was offended by statements made by kibbutz members, according to which their section of the stream had been cultivated and nurtured through decades of their hard work.


“When you tell us ‘we worked hard to cultivate this natural treasure,’ I will tell you how hard you worked – you brought in the residents of Beit She’an as a substitute for the cheap work of the Arabs—who today you present yourselves as their friends,” the angry minister said.

A political battle has been waged since 2015 between the residents of the kibbutz and the residents of Beit She’an and the surrounding area regarding access to the river. Inevitably, the confrontation took on racial ad e economic characteristics, perpetuating 72 years of gripes. The kibbutz members argue that they can’t have tourists in bathing suits running through their lawns, but the other side says the law, which was validated in several court rulings, requires access to the state’s natural resources for the public at large.

Like her father, Levy-Abekasis has been riding the racial demon her entire political career, and she expertly released it for this battle. But a former secretary of Kibbutz Nir David, Amichai Geller, told Walla on Wednesday that for a period of two years starting nine years ago, Levy-Abaxis tried to settle in Nir David, but could not find a suitable home there to buy or rent.

“Thirty-three families started building on our grounds and somehow Orly did not register in time for the list, which was open. For two years she tried, with my help, to find a way to swap with some of those families. So it didn’t happen in the end, but let’s hear her deny that she wanted to live in Nir David,” Geller Geller said.

See, if the angry minister was trying to make her home in the “segregationist” kibbutz, it kind of changes the narrative…

“It didn’t really bother her that we were ‘racists.’ In the end it didn’t work out, and maybe it’s better this way. God save the queen of hypocrisy,” Geller said.” I really don’t want to tell what she said about the city of Beit She’an…”

That’s Daddy’s stronghold, the city of the salt of the earth, working class folks, the downtrodden.

According to Levy-Abekasis speaking from the Knesset podium, for years she had seen “not only the discrimination and racism, but also the same gates that kept us children away from enjoying the same natural treasure that God created for everyone.”

The gates she would have liked to go through to her home in the midst of that den of racism, but couldn’t buy in.

She even made a claim during her speech that about 15-16 years ago, when she lived in nearby Mesilot, the kibbutz refused to accept the son of the kibbutz physician into its education system, because he was an Arab.

Geller wrote that “the story about the Arab boy from Mesilot is a plain lie.”

In his support, some Israeli politicians have been known to lie on occasion.


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