Israeli Deputy Economy Minister Yair Golan came under fire on Thursday for referring to the residents of Homesh in Samaria as “subhuman,” “despicable” and “a disgrace.”
“These people keep resettling a place that has been legally evicted … they shouldn’t be there,” said Golan in a Knesset Channel interview. “Let’s not even mention the fact that the people who live there riot in [the nearby Palestinian village of] Burka, demolish headstones and stage pogroms,” continued the former IDF deputy chief of staff.
“We, the Jewish people, who have been tormented by pogroms throughout history—do the same to others? These are not people, they are subhuman, despicable people. A disgrace to the Jewish people. They should receive no [government] backing. We should forcibly remove them from the area and restore law and order,” he added.
Golan’s remarks drew immediate backlash from politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called Golan’s remarks “appalling.”
“Yair Golan’s remarks about the settlers in Homesh are appalling, [a generalization] and border on a blood libel. The settlers in Judea and Samaria are today’s pioneers,” he tweeted.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party went further, calling on Bennett to fire Golan.
“The settlers in Judea and Samaria are not ‘subhumans,’ [but] rather pioneering Zionists who settle our ancestral land,” said Netanyahu. “After this shameful statement, taken directly from Nazi terminology against the Jewish people, Bennett must fire Yair Golan.”
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked called Golan’s remarks “disgraceful,” adding that “he can keep talking. These wonderful pioneers will continue to settle the land.”
Culture and Sports Minister Yehiel Tropper said he was “ashamed” as a fellow coalition member by Golan’s statements.
“The settlers in Homesh are not ‘subhuman,’ but rather Israeli citizens who hold different views, with which he profoundly disagrees. Sinking to this level of discourse won’t advance dialogue—it will only tear us apart from the inside,” said Tropper.
Gush Etzion Regional Council Head Shlomo Ne’eman said, “It looks like the deputy minister, who is well versed in history, has become hysterical. His hysteria stems from the success of the communities in Judea and Samaria. He should remember the dark times when the terms coming out of his mouth were directed against the Jewish people. We will continue to succeed in working towards pioneering in the Land of Israel.”