Naftali Bennet
Photo courtesy of Yesha spokesman

'Yesha cooperating with ministers to change media'

Outgoing Yesha Council director surveys movement's achievements over past few years, warns of consequences of 'price tag' operations

Before he retires as director of the Yesha Council, Naftali Bennet has sent a letter outlining the movement's achievements in the past two years and the challenges it now faces. The Yesha Council, Bennet reveals, has spent the past few months engaged in a campaign to change Israel's media and legal system in cooperation with Knesset members and ministers.


In his letter, Bennet also addressed recent 'price tag' operations which he said "go against all of our values." He added, "Such actions cause an enormous damage to the image of the settlement enterprise which wipes away years of achievement."


Related stories:


Having served as the Council's director for the past two years, Bennet announced last September that he will be retiring at the end of the year. A replacement has yet to be appointed.


בנט במאהל ברוטשילד. "הבנו שחייבים לפעול בזירה של הצעירים" (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Bennet at the Rothschild protest tent site (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


During Bennet's tenure as director, the Yesha Council uploaded more than 100 Youtube videos and created the My Israel movement, which boasts 62,000 members. "Creating the movement is a revolution in the campaign for the State of Israel's future and nature," he stated. "We have successfully by-passed the media in getting messages across and now have the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of people. This has strategic significance."


Much of Bennet's time as Yesha director was spent fighting the settlement construction freeze. With this campaign he discovered the power in getting the public to put political pressure on the government.


בנייה בשכונת גילה, לאחר תום ההקפאה. "יצרנו אווירה פוליטית" (צילום: EPA)

Construction in Gilo (Photo: EPA)


"Many believed that once (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu entered the slippery slope of agreeing to freeze all Judea and Samaria settlements it would be very hard to come out of it," he recalled. "The key to our campaign was identifying that this will be decided on the political sphere and getting the public on board in putting pressure on our elected officials, mainly those in the Likud."


Bennet takes pride in the council's success in creating a political atmosphere which forced Netanyahu to halt the freeze but acknowledges that Yesha was only partially successful as settlements are still under de facto freeze.


"The main lesson we have learned is boosting our activity in the political arena," Bennet concluded. "It is better we invest energy in preventing a bad decision from being made than putting that same energy into fighting the bad decision after it is  reached."


Yair Altman contributed to this report




פרסום ראשון: 12.20.11, 08:47
 new comment
This will delete your current comment