It’s been a month since Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in office for some 14 years, was ousted and a new Israeli government, led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, was sworn into power.
The new governing coalition is a fragile one at best. For supporters of Israeli control of Judea and Samaria, it’s unfortunate that the new government is a combination of left and right wing parties, and for the first time in history, an Arab party.
Prime Minister Bennett—who has long been seen as a more hardline conservative and right wing figure than Netanyahu— has made his strong support of Israeli sovereignty clear in the past, but today many Israelis feel betrayed over his dealmaking with the left. In 2015, then-Education Minister Bennett said “The time has come to say Israel is ours,” reports the Times of Israel. “To go from strategic defense to a process of initiating the implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the territories under Israeli control in Judea and Samaria. We need to mark this as a strategic objective and stop the misunderstood message sent from Israel abroad.”
While Bennett may still see sovereignty over Judea and Samaria as an important objective, with powerful coalition partners of differing opinions it’s hard to see how he can accomplish much in that direction. Fortunately, approval of building projects continues for now, but not without criticism from both sides—from those who are against any new construction and from the settlement movement, which says it’s not nearly enough.
In addition, according to current agreements, Naftali Bennett will be replaced by left-wing senior coalition partner Yair Lapid as Prime Minister in less than 17 months. Lapid has made no secret of his support for the division of the Land of Israel. "It is no secret that I support a two-state solution. Unfortunately, there is no current plan for this…" he told the European Union Foreign Affairs Council last week.
Also of concern is the return of President Biden to the anti-Israel policies of the Obama administration. It appears likely there will again be pressure on Israel to halt construction and concede land.
In the meantime though, lovers of Israel do not have to sit back and watch. We can and should do all we can to strengthen the Jewish presence in the heartland. That’s why Blessed Buy Israel was started : to provide you with a way to directly stand with the small businesses and families of Judea and Samaria, while enjoying awesome products! Visit the Store Now »