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Photo: Avihu Shapira
Netanyahu: We are rooted in Golan
Opposition chairman attends tree planting ceremony in northern Israel, promises Likud-led government will never divide Jerusalem, cede Golan Heights

With just two days left until the general elections, Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu toured the Golan Heights on Sunday along with Likud members Yossi Peled, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, former Minister Benny Begin and Knesset Member Effie Eitam.

 

The five attended a Tu B'Shvat (Jewish Arbor Day) tree planting ceremony in the Aniam artists' village, and Netanyahu used the occasion to promise the attendants that "Jerusalem will not be divided. Gamla shall never fall again."

 

Should Kadima win the elections, he said, "we will not stay on the Golan Heights, we'll just keep ceding (land). You strike peace with the strong, not with the weak. Israel with the Golan is a strong nation, not one that gives away its assets."

 

Netanyahu refused to address the negotiations to retrieve kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit: "I've refrained from addressing the subject throughout the campaign and I will not address it now. This is not the time to do so."

 

The Likud chairman's son, Avner, also took part in the tour and helped his father plant a eucalyptus tree.

 

"Years from now, my son will bring his children here and tell them how his father planted this tree, that is so rooted in the ground, just like we are rooted in the Golan," said Netanyahu.

 

MK Eitam reiterated the sentiment, saying that "our roots will grow deeper here for years to come."

 

Benny Begin spoke of his father, former Prime Minister Menachem Begin: "When we struck peace with Egypt, Menachem Begin taught us that if you must cede land for peace you do it, but only under certain conditions.

 

"He was the one that made sure to pass a law cementing Israel's sovereignty in the Golan Heights, out of strategic foresight, and there is a wide public consensus on this issue. The man made very courageous decisions."

 

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