For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
(If anyone may have doubted, even for a moment, Shelly Yachimovich proves once again that she runs her own show, and states her mind. Y.)
Shelly Yachimovich claims settlement building was completely consensual move; says it was Labor Party that founded the settlement enterprise in the territories.
Prospective Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich has defended her party's role in the establishment of the settlements, saying, "I certainly do not see the settlement project as a sin and a crime." In an interview to be published in Haaretz Magazine Friday, MK Yachimovich added, "In its time, it was a completely consensual move. And it was the Labor Party that founded the settlement enterprise in the territories. That is a fact. A historical fact."
The interview took place against the backdrop of her candidacy to head the Labor Party and the proliferation of tent protest camps across the country, with Yachimovich addressing the settlement issue, her public image and the long-term prospects for her party.
What do you make of the fact that the settlers joined the protest? Do you welcome them, does it make you happy?
"Yes, unequivocally. One of the most significant points of strength of this protest is that you don't see the conventional political posters. There is a new language, a unifying language, a uniting language."
But if the billions that were invested in the settlements had been invested inside the Green Line, maybe we wouldn't need the tents.
"I am familiar with that well-known equation: that if there were no settlements there would be a welfare state within Israel's borders. I am familiar with the worldview that maintains that if we cut the defense budget in half there will be money for education. It's a worldview with no connection to reality."
When it was pointed out that it is part of current public discourse to suggest that less funding for West Bank settlements and defense would mean more money for social service needs, Yachimovich said: "I reject it; it is simply not factually correct, even though it is now perceived as axiomatic. A school that is located in a settlement and has X number of students would be located inside the Green Line and have the same number of children at the same cost. I don't say that the settlements themselves did not cost more money. But even if the defense budget were cut in half, and even if the settlement costs were cut in half, the economic ideology that led us to them would not seek to divert the newly available funds to the service of the state.
""Both [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [former Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert constantly spoke about thinning out the public service. Netanyahu said that the education system is a fat cow that doesn't give milk. When you consider that there is a fat man and a fat cow that doesn't give milk, you don't transfer budgets to them, period, because you think they should be thin or privatized. That is a Thatcherite approach which has nothing to do with the political right or left. What is happening now is so potent that it is shaking off the old discourse that shackles us to the same dogmas and the same rhetoric, but is finally connecting to the truth. Until now that truth has been kept hidden."
Would you buy products from the settlements, such as olive oil from Har Bracha? "Yes. I am not in favor of boycotts."
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"