Michael Boyden

The Tail Wagging the Dog

Government ministers and coalition Knesset members marched to the Israeli outpost of Evyatar today.

Evyatar was originally established in 2013 in response to the murder of Evyatar Borovsky by a Palestinian terrorist. As Minister Ben Gvir put it: “The response to terror is to build and settle the land…. We won’t give in to them. We shall be strong in Evyatar, in Tel Aviv and everywhere in our country.”

Today’s march is part of an ongoing campaign to legalize this West Bank outpost, and both Itamar Ben Gvir, minister for National Security, and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich took part even though Evyatar is currently considered an illegal outpost under Israeli law. They want to change that.

Palestinians from local villages claim rights to the land. As a consequence, Prime Minister Netanyahu has deferred addressing the issue of its status until after Ramadan in order, among other things, not to create an unnecessary provocation at this sensitive time.

Knowing what the result was of the police raid on the Al Aqsa Mosque last week, that seemed like a wise move.

However, people like Ben Gvir and Smotrich are not interested in “live and let live”, but in creating confrontation. They believe that all of the land from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean belongs to the Jews.

Ben Gvir’s much publicized visits to the Temple Mount attest to that and, as he himself declared, “I went up to the Temple Mount, I shall continue going up to the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is the most important place for the Jewish people.”

In any normal government the Prime Minister of the day calls the tune and keeps his coalition partners in order. But this is no ordinary government and Bibi is weak. When you include extremists like Ben Gvir and Smotrich in your coalition, you can hardly be surprised when they start running the show.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.