Smotrich breaks promise on Hevron eviction

January 27, 2016  

Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich decided Wednesday to break his promise from last Friday, when he said he would not vote with the coalition until the return of 200 Jews evicted that morning from two buildings in Hevron they purchased in full from an Arab buyer.

Smotrich again voted with the coalition on Wednesday, even after Ya’alon conditioned the return of the residents on an examination of the purchase, “political” considerations, and security considerations, highlighting the draconian measures imposed on Hevron Jews.

Aside from Smotrich, Deputy Regional Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) and Likud MK Oren Hazan also had threatened to buck coalition discipline until the residents were returned to the homes they had bought.

The Jewish Home MK justified his return to voting despite the fact that his demands were not met, by saying the Prime Minister dealt with the matter personally and announced an outline to return the residents to their homes.

“From checks that I conducted in the last two days, it’s become clear that a process of examining the purchase documents is being advanced quickly, and therefore it will be possible to complete it within the period of time that the prime minister set,” wrote Smotrich on Facebook.

“Under those circumstances, in my estimation my continuing to insist not to vote with the coalition will not advance the return of the settlers and may even cause harm by reducing the motivation of the defense minister and the prime minister to complete the check as quickly as possible.”

“Public responsibility”

The MK went on to say, “public responsibility obligates me not to shake up the coalition again today. I give the prime minister credit for standing on his obligations and enabling the return of the settlers to their home in the coming days.”

The statement comes in contrast to Smotrich’s words on Sunday, when he said, “under the applicable law in Judea-Samaria, you do not need purchase approval to move back into your home.”

Smotrich on Wednesday concluded by saying, “I ask to strengthen the hands of the heroic Hevron settlers in their justified demand to immediately return to homes that were purchased, and to further strengthen the settlement of the city of the patriarchs and throughout Judea and Samaria. We will stand ready on guard in order to ensure the return of the settlers is not delayed, and I trust that if there is a delay the Jewish Home faction will all stand with me in a firm struggle.”

Jewish Home last Friday condemned Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) for the eviction, saying, “a check of the purchase documents can be done without throwing Jews from their homes.”

Meanwhile the Jewish Home Forum in Samaria showed frustration with their own party, demanding that Jewish Home chairperson Naftali Bennett do something against the eviction. Joining the criticism of Bennett for his inaction was nationalist activist attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir of Otzma Yehudit, who lives in Hevron.

“Naftali Bennett needs to do a self examination and decide where he’s going,” said Ben-Gvir. “You can’t sit in a government that expels the settlers and treats terror with kid gloves, and at the same time give criticism like the leading member of the Opposition. Bennett can bring down Defense Minister Ya’alon, and not only criticize his failures. The time has come to stop talking and start doing.”

Ben-Gvir noted that the coalition government is made up of a minimum 61 MK majority, meaning one MK could bring it down.

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