“And unto the children of Gershon, of the families of the Levites, out of the half-tribe of Manasseh they gave Golan in Bashan with the open land about it, the city of refuge for the manslayer; and Beeshterah with the open land about it; two cities.” (Joshua 21:27)
Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett called on the world to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights Sunday. Speaking at the 15th annual Herzliya Conference of the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya, he announced his new plan for ensuring Israeli security, including the Golan.
“I want to challenge the entire world,” Bennett was quoted by Ynet as saying. “I want to give the international community an opportunity to demonstrate their ethics. Recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967, during the Six-Day War which also saw the reunification of Jerusalem. This week marks the anniversary of that conflict.
In 1981, Israel extended its law to include the region, effectively annexing it in a move disputed by the international community.
“In 1981 the Golan Heights law was passed, applying Israeli law in the area,” said Bennett. “The world in that time shouted and sharply criticized Israel, and no country has recognized the Golan as part of the State of Israel up to this day, but that didn’t stop Begin who understood that the Golan Heights is ours and that we can’t give land to our enemies.”
Regarding the West Bank, Bennett acknowledged, the circumstances are different. “I understand that we agree to disagree there. It’s obvious to me that there is a disagreement there; the world is still trying to promote fantastical plans [of a Palestinian state]. But let’s put that aside. Unfortunately, the world isn’t implementing any plan for Judea and Samaria, but for the Golan? Prohibiting agricultural products from the Golan Heights? What’s the logic?
“Who do they want us to give the Golan to? To Assad? Today, it’s clear that if we listened to the world we would give up the Golan and ISIS would be swimming in the Sea of Galilee. Enough with the hypocrisy.”
Bennett also called for expanded Israeli presence in the Golan, from 20,000 residents today to 100,000 in five years.