ADL Letter to Minister Naftali Bennett

May 18, 2017

Minister Naftali Bennett
Chairman of the Jewish Home Party

Dear Minister Bennett,

It was recently reported that during a meeting two weeks ago of religious Zionist public figures, Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich presented a political vision aimed at "eliminating any Palestinian national hope."

According to his vision, Palestinians would be presented with three options: to leave the country, to live in the Land of Israel with ger toshav (“resident alien”) status, or to resist, in which case "the IDF would know what to do." According to reports, when MK Smotrich was asked whether he condoned the killing of families, he replied: "In war, like war."

These statements are racist and incite violence against Palestinians, and they are especially despicable coming from MK Smotrich who is the Knesset’s Deputy Speaker. Furthermore, this isn’t the first time MK Smotrich has made anti-Arab statements, including expressing support for segregation between Arab and Jewish mothers in maternity wards.

To the best of our knowledge, no member of Israel’s top political echelon has condemned these statements, and we believe it is particularly important that you do so, as head of his faction, Minister of Education and senior leader of the Religious Zionist public.

Any future status for the Palestinians must be one that demonstrates dignity and respect for them as human beings.

Best regards,
Carole Nuriel
Director, ADL Israel