With the 2013 Israeli elections just a little more than a week away, The Mideast Update spoke with Jeremy Gimpel, a candidate from The Jewish Home party—or Habayit Hayehudi in Hebrew. Here is part one of excerpts from the interview:
The Mideast Update: You guys have been gaining a lot of seats in the polls recently. To what do you attribute the success for The Jewish Home party in rising from being a very small party in the current government to possibly being the second or third largest party in the next Knesset (Israeli parliament)?
Jeremy Gimpel: I think the key to our success is that we’re speaking a totally different language than any other party. And it’s a values-based language, it’s a Zionist language, it’s a message filled with Jewish pride, and we represent the next generation here in Israel.
In fact, out of all the polls show that if elections were held only between the years of 18-years-old and 45-years-old, meaning the younger generation in Israel, The Jewish Home party would be the largest party in all of Israel and [party chairman] Naftali Bennett would be the prime minister.
And I think the second [key] to our success has been Naftali Bennett himself, who is a young, charismatic, talented guy that has just galvanized the country.
The Mideast Update: You mentioned values, you mentioned Jewish pride, but what are some things that you’re particularly supporting as a party that seem to be resonating with voters?
Jeremy Gimpel: We’re the only [major] party in Israel today that is absolutely against the Palestinian state inside the Land of Israel—meaning the Likud [led by current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] has many members inside the Likud party that are also opposed to a Palestinian state. But our party is a bloc of 16, 17, possibly 18, 19 people [who could be elected] that all say that the Jewish people have a right to live as a free people in our land. And every land that we have given over to the terrorists has only been used as a base to continue to try to destroy us, and it’s time to say to the world, ‘Enough is enough. This is our land, this is our country, we have a right to be here.’
And that I think is the message that has resonated. 20 years we have been trying this ‘land for peace’ process and it hasn’t worked. It’s only brought us more Kassam rockets, more terrorism, the Hamas government in Gaza, and we’re now an alternative, an alternative road, an alternative path.
The Mideast Update: And part of that, of course, I’ve seen on your website, you do actually have a plan for what to do with the Palestinian situation, what is your approach? It’s different from a lot of other people’ s.
Jeremy Gimpel: Well I think that the approach is not a ‘solution’—meaning I think that it’s quite clear at this point that there is no immediate solution, sometimes problems don’t always have immediate solutions. So the question really is, ‘How do we deal with the situation that we have and make our lives as good as possible and make the lives of the Arabs in the area as easy as possible?’
And the answer that we’ve come to, is to annex Area C, which is the Jewish-populated areas in Judea and Samaria [the Biblical name for the West Bank], and simply apply Israeli sovereignty, Israeli law, in that land. To Arabs who live within Area C would be offered Israeli citizenship, because you obviously can’t have two levels of citizens, Jew and non-Jew or anything like that, it would be a democracy as any democracy.
And Areas A and B where there are no Jewish settlements, no Jewish population, we would continue the status quo… and hope for a new leadership to arise in the future [for the Palestinians], possibly open up dialogue with local leaders instead of propped-up government leaders, to try to think outside of the box, instead of this nowhere… there is no solution by giving land away to the other side.
So I think if that’s the case, then let’s annex what we have control of now, and the other side, we’ll wait, we’ll wait to see what happens. Five years ago Israel was considered a dry country with no natural resources. And in just a few years, now in the region it’s almost considered a wet country and we have billions of dollars of natural gas.
Meaning the Middle East is so dynamic, and this little country is so dynamic, that we don’t need to make any wild decisions now that would ultimately bring our national suicide on us. What we could do is wait, wait and see—wait and see how things develop. Maybe the ‘Spring’ that’s happening in Syria would spread to Jordan—and the 70 percent of Jordanians that are now in Jordan are actually Palestinians—who knows what might be, maybe a confederation of Jordan and Arabs who live inside the Land of Israel.
There’s just so many different options, there’s no reason to declare a Palestinian state, and then open that state inside our borders to the six million [“Palestinian” Arab] refugees and their descendants that live outside the Land of Israel that would then flood into Judea and Samaria. That would be a mistake for which we would never be able to turn back the clock. We would have three million new Arabs that would then be pushing on the borders towards the West of Israel.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 13, 2013)