Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett has been very quiet these days, as has his sidekick, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. As the terrorism rages and the unofficial, yet obvious building permit freeze in the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria continues to be enforced by Israel’s political leadership, why is Bennett silent?
There is a background to this. When the current Islamic terror wave of shootings, stabbings, firebombs, and rocks began, Minister Bennett went on a fact-finding tour of Jerusalem and then shared his reaction with the public, “I just came back from the field. I questioned soldiers and policemen,” said Bennett, “and they told me that they are not responding to provocations. I visited the Old City, and the police officers stationed there told me that there was no deterrence and that no one was afraid of them. Enough restraint on our part! Enough being so worried! We must act with force and determination.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu was enraged, venting at the subsequent Cabinet meeting that no minister in his Cabinet will voice opposition to the government position (meaning his weak-kneed, defensive position), while at the same time remaining a minister in his government. Bennett was apparently intimidated by this not so veiled threat. Apparently, because he hasn’t expressed this publicly, but his silence since that October 5th Cabinet meeting speaks volumes. The deafening silence wasn’t even broken after the supposedly “pro-settlement” Netanyahu boasted recently that in his recent years in office, he has enabled less building starts in Judea and Samaria than any of the previous prime ministers.
Why is Naftali Bennett sitting quietly in the coalition, as the government takes no visible offensive action to stop the terrorism that is plaguing our nation every day? Why is the leader of the Jewish Home, as well as his fellow minister Shaked, remaining silent, as the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, his main power base, are being suffocated by the planned and actual scarcity of housing? When other parties in the coalition are upset about certain Netanyahu actions, or even just his statements, they don’t hesitate to voice those objections loud and clear, including implied threats of impending havoc within the coalition if demands are not met. Then when they speak behind closed doors afterwards, Netanyahu listens.
There has been one recent exception to Bennett’s silence policy. Last week, he called on protesters to accept the Supreme Court order to destroy a Givat Ze’ev synagogue, based on the usual dubious Arab land claims, which in turn are usually based on illegal land grants from the 1948-67 Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria. Furthermore, when has the Supreme Court ordered the destruction of the many illegally built mosques, where calls to violence against Jews are proclaimed every day? When will Bennett voice his firm objection to that?
The ostensible political leader of Religious Zionism must be the voice of Jewish pride, not retreat, of strength, not weakness, of faith, not fear. The silence must end.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News