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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Redefining Zionism for political expediency

The Knesset returns to work on October 16, and according to a report on Israel Radio this morning, the coming session will be dominated by two themes:

1. Whether 10-12 MK's will break off from Ehud Olmert's Kadima Achora party and return to the Likud so that Likud leader Bibi Netanyahu can form a government to replace Olmert's without having to face a primary against Silvan Shalom followed by general elections.

2. Avishai Braverman and Ami Ayalon will fight it out for the right to meet (and probably defeat) Defense Minister Amir Comrade Peretz as Labor party leader in the party's primaries in February.

As you might imagine, that leaves Prime Minister Ehud Olmert no place good. Olmert - with his 7% approval rating - is trying to broaden his government. He is trying to 'reach out' to the religious Zionist community by 'redefining' Zionism. If the religious Zionists are smart, they will respond to him with a good hard slap across his arrogant face.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reached out to the right-wing religious Zionist community Tuesday, saying, “We must understand the troubles of the religious Zionist public and find a path for honest and deep discourse with them.”

“We need to create a new atmosphere of discussion, and even strive towards a new definition of Zionism,” Olmert said at an Israel Democracy Institute summit addressing the Jewish nature of the State of Israel.

During the conference, Olmert turned to the right-wing “Orange” camp, which bears a grudge against him since the days of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

“The religious Zionist community is in deep distress due to the public conflict which raised basic questions as to the State’s character and outlook on life. They dealt with the difficult experience of having to reconcile themselves with the concession of the territories and settlements. We must understand their distress and find a path for honest and deep dialogue with them,” he said.


“We must remember that in the State of Israel there live hundreds of thousands of people that for over 35 years served in the territories and participated in enforcing Israel’s policies there, despite their wholehearted belief that the State’s actions were erroneous and severely harmed our social tapestry.”

“Israeli society is composed of many sectors,” Olmert continued. “Religious Zionism, the population that lives on the periphery and has felt neglected for years; another sector opposes with all their might Israel’s holding onto the territories, and sees them as the source of all evil and would like to refuse to serve there.”

As for future plans, the prime minister said: “We must create a new atmosphere of dialogue and maybe strive towards a new definition of Zionism. It cannot be that Zionism is defined on the basis of supporting or opposing withdrawals. Anyone who believes in the people of Israel’s right to have a sovereign Jewish state on some part of the Land of Israel is a Zionist. Agreeing on a new, broader definition of Zionism is pivotal to safeguarding the internal unity of Israeli society.”
His chutzpa knows no bounds.


At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the religious Zionists are smart, they will respond to him with a good hard slap across his arrogant face."
By even atending this event they are showing that they are not very smart.


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