Photo: Assi Cohen, Hagai Dekel
Uri Ariel
Photo: Assi Cohen, Hagai Dekel
Minister Ariel to Ya'alon: Would you seize a mosque, too?
Housing minister criticizes IDF move to seize Yitzhar yeshiva, calling it 'an undemocratic and un-Jewish action.'

Housing Minister Uri Ariel on Sunday slammed Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's decision to seize a yeshiva in Yitzhar, calling it "an undemocratic and un-Jewish action." Ariel also called on Ya'alon to withdraw Border Police forces from the yeshiva before the Passover holiday.


"Is this how the defense minister acts, capturing mosques and Islamic study halls?" the Bayit Yehudi minister wondered in an interview with Ynet.


"This is unreasonable, unproportional, and unhelpful. In the end, it pushes those in the middle to extremism," Ariel continued. "I hope the defense minister puts an end to this even before Passover, the sooner the better."


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As a part of the IDF's response to the Yitzhar residents' rampage and destruction of an army post near the settlement, a Border Police unit took over the 'Od Yosef Chai' yeshiva on Friday morning. The defense system considers the yeshiva to be the headquarters of extremist activity in the area.


"The acts of some individuals in Yitzhar are very serious and I demand the prime minister and defense minister to arrest the suspects, investigate them and bring them to justice, by allowing the court to decide what to do with them," Ariel said.


"The reality in which the defense minister and prime minister allow themselves (to do as they please) and they are both the investigators and the accusers and, eventually, also those who pass the verdict - this is an unjust justice, that is not possible in a democratic country," he added.


"It is not appropriate for the defense minister to decide to conquer a yeshiva. It is unacceptable in these parts."


Touching on Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett's threat to quit the government if a deal is approved releasing Israeli-Arab prisoners, Ariel said that "the Palestinians are gravely hurting Israel's sovereignty in two ways: the first is that they demand the release of Israeli Arabs who are murderers and criminals, something that doesn't happen anywhere in the world - having one country or authority interfering with another country and giving it an ultimatum to free citizens who are murderers.


"The second thing is (the Palestinians) going to the UN - which is akin to tearing up the Oslo Accords, completely losing (what was agreed upon in) the accords - all of this while many countries, led by the US, serve as guarantors for this accord. When you break the the most basic terms in any agreement - in this case the Oslo Accords - it is obvious that agreement and these talks cannot continue. This is what we told the prime minister, and we insist on that."


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