Leader of Bayit Yehudi (Israeli political party) says “whoever thinks our capital of 3,000 years is occupied doesn’t understand anything.”
By LAHAV HARKOV / JPost.com
“Succot is a very Israeli holiday. When we sit in temporary huts, we can appreciate the fact that we have a permanent country,” Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett told a group of Christian legislators on Sunday. [Sukkot 2013 began in the evening of Wednesday, September 18 and ends in the evening of Wednesday, September 25.]
The lawmakers — from the U.S., European Union, Canada, Brazil, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Macedonia, Poland, South Africa, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Uruguay — are attending the Israel Allies Foundation Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference.
The Israel Allies Foundation coordinates the activities of dozens of pro-Israel caucuses in parliaments around the world, which aim to increase cooperation and communication with Israel.
Speaking to the parliamentarians eating their lunch in a succa, Bennett said that “a people who lives in shacks one week a year for 3,000 years -– and I did just that with my children, for the last three nights –- are a people that will remain forever, because we remember our history.”
“Israel’s raison d’être is so the Jewish people will last for eternity,” he emphasized.
In reference to Iran and “so-called moderate President Rouhani,” Bennett said, “Israel can only rely on itself, by itself, and we don’t recommend anyone test us.”
The Bayit Yehudi leader called on the parliamentarians to “stand up and speak up. Whenever there’s an opportunity or a lie being told, don’t be silent.
“We’re being told that right behind this succa [the Old City of Jerusalem] is occupied territory, and we may be boycotted as long as we’re there.
“Whoever thinks our capital of 3,000 years is occupied doesn’t understand anything. Stop the lies,” he said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat reaffirmed his commitment to freedom of religion in the capital.
“We would never think of, God forbid, dividing our city,” he said. “Be ambassadors for peace and tell the truth about your visit here.”
MK David Rotem, Knesset Christian Allies Caucus co-chairman, asked the members of the European Parliament in the group to fight European Union guidelines sanctioning companies and universities connected to the West Bank.
“Our friends in the EP do a lot of good for Israel and the Jewish nation. We need to make sure they are re-elected, because they have the courage to speak up for what they believe in,” Rotem said.
On Sunday evening, the lawmakers participated in a Feast of Tabernacles ceremony at the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyenei Ha’uma) together with thousands of Christians.