Thursday, March 13, 2008

Begin on Shiloh (and Shamir, Too)

Here's another version of Menachem Begin's defense of recreating Jewish life in Shiloh (first one here):-

Q. What will be the government's position in the near future in the matter of settlement in Judea and Samaria and other parts of the country?

A. I was asked this question yesterday in New York, and I would like to repeat the answer I gave there. It was given in the form of a rhetorical question. Before we went to meet the President we conducted a geographical search and found that in the United States of America there are 11 places named Hebron, five places named Shiloh, four places named Bethel and six places named Bethlehem, and I gave the following strange example: Let's imagine that the governors of the states in which the Bethlehems and Hebrons and Shilos and Bethels are located issue a proclamation saying any citizen of the United States can come and settle there, but one category of citizens is forbidden to settle there and that is the Jewish citizens of the United States. To them it is forbidden to build a home in Shiloh, in Hebron, in Bethlehem of the United States of America. Would you all not scream and shout about racial discrimination - for why should a Jewish citizen of the United States be discriminated against in this respect?

I asked millions of American viewers if it is possible to expect a Jewish Prime Minister and a Jewish Government to forbid Jews to buy land or to build their homes in the original Shiloh, the original Bethel, the original Bethlehem and the original Hebron, and I ended with a question mark, to say that the question is a rhetorical one. In Tel Aviv too I will end with this question, and all other matters are under the authority of the government which will take its decisions.


And Yitzhak Shamir:-

There still is some misunderstanding on the subject of our presence in Judea and Samaria. Our right to live in the area that was the heartland of Jewish sovereignty and history for thousands of years cannot seriously be challenged. The very idea that the Government of the Jewish State should, by its own action, prevent Jews from living in Beth-El and Shiloh, in Hebron and Shechem is preposterous.

We will maintain our policy of setting up new villages throughout Eretz-Yisrael. During the six years of the Likud Government, 185 new villages, new centres of population, were established in Eretz-Yisrael, compared with 51 during the preceding 10 years. Of these, 62 were established in Yehuda and Shomron, 64 in the Galilee, 17 in the Jordan River Valley and 29 in the Arava.

Peace, the yearning for peace, and the readiness to make peace is not just a matter of policy for us. It is part of our nature and faith. It is inherent in our system and philosophy as a free and democratic nation. But we will not permit our desire for peace to be used by our adversaries as a means of extracting concessions from us at the expense of our security and future.

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