Israel’s Economic Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that Judaising the Galilee and Negev does not contradict Israel’s values. He also called for showing “zero tolerance” for the national aspirations of Israeli Arabs.
Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem, Bennett said: “The identity of the State of Israel as a nation for Jews is on its way to being legalised.” He also claimed, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, that “there is no contradiction between Jewishness and democracy. If that isn’t recognised, the Palestinians will have a state-and-a-half and we will have half a state.”
The conference was entitled “Israel’s identity as the Jewish nation state as a matter of law,” and Bennett was one of five ministers who attended.
Bennett also criticised his coalition partner, Financial Minister Yair Lapid, saying that he does not notice the increasing Arab discourse regarding Arab nationality in Israel. “This undermines recognising Israel as a Jewish state,” Bennett observed.
Regarding the new law that will legalise the Jewish identity of Israel, he said: “There are many Jews among us who dream that Israel becomes like Sweden; but Israel is not Sweden.”
On Sunday, Bennett appeared on the BBC with Stephen Sacker, the presenter of “Hard Talk”, arguing that Arabs have 22 states in the Middle East and Jews have only Israel. He mentioned this to defend the position that Jews deserve to have Israel recognised as a Jewish state.