Responding to an online threat of Arab takeover, Gantz said the danger is real if the Negev and Galilee aren’t massively settled by Jews.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Defense Minister Benny Gantz has responded to threats of an Arab takeover of Israel by saying that the danger is real unless Jews settle in massive numbers in the Negev and Galilee, Israel Hayom reported Sunday.
In a closed meeting of his Blue and White party last week, Gantz reacted to a post that has gone viral, which claims that an Arab victory over Israel will soon be realized.
“It’s not far from reality. I estimate that in a few more years, we’ll be in a situation where the Jewish state will exist between Gedera and Hadera,” meaning only in central Israel. “We are [only] a few years away from this.”
The message included such statements as: “Slowly but surely, we are taking bites out of your state. We have a region in the Negev the size of Gush Dan [central Israel] full of tin shacks with young Bedouin children. What will you do?
“In practice, this is Palestinian territory, and the moment one tractor comes – we’ll use the left-wing organizations such as ‘Peace Now’ and ‘B’Tselem,’ who will turn to the country’s true ruler (the High Court of Justice) to issue an injunction. We will send children and youth to throw stones and barricade themselves in until you scatter away like mice.”
The message also boasted that no business exists and no neighborhood is built in the region unless the owners pay protection money to the Arabs.
A second part of the threat dealt with the northern part of the country.
“The Galilee will also be ours soon, with Allah’s help. We are buying one dunam [0.2 acres] from the Israel Land Authority for NIS 50,000 while the Jews pay NIS1.15 million. We are already 85% of the Galilee population and are quickly seizing control, building homes in every corner, without permits.
“Who’s going to do anything about it? The Jews who live in the Galilee – all are fleeing to the center of the country because they suffer from harassment, violence on the roads, protection, shootings, theft and robbery.”
No one has taken credit for the long Whatsapp message, which could have also been written by Jewish activists trying to encourage government action against the actions they describe.
Nevertheless, Gantz acknowledged its essential truth, saying that “the future of the country is at stake. If we don’t invest in the Galilee and Negev, we will in essence end up with an agreement to divide the country.”
Following the leak regarding Gantz’s sobering words, the defense minister’s spokesperson said in a statement that there was nothing new in what Gantz had said.
‘The defense minister has said many times that Israel must be looked at through the vision of decades forward and that a [special] authority must be established to help Israel prepare for half of its population to live in the Negev and Galilee,” he said.
In a seeming attempt to satisfy the Arab sector, he then referred to Gantz’s recent efforts in the community.
“There’s supreme importance in maintaining the law and order in the south and north, giving equal treatment, developing all the populations in terms of employment opportunities, improving infrastructure, education, and health,” the statement said.