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Begin Refuses to Make Promises on More Jewish Settlements

Militants of the Land of Israel movement urged the Likud government last night to intensify Jewish settlement throughout the administered Arab territories. But the guest of honor and principal speaker at their 10th anniversary rally here, Premier Menachem Begin, refused to make any promises in that direction. He offered only the assurance that” Jews will always be the majority in Eretz Israel.” According to Begin, “statisticians prophesied that within a short period Jews and Arabs would live in Israel in equal numbers but this prophecy has proved false.”

The Land of Israel movement was formed after the 1967 Six-Day War by a splinter group of activists who demanded the creation of a “Greater Israel” to embrace all of the territories conquered in the war. Many of the speakers who preceded Begin last night took sharp issue with the government’s stated readiness to give up a considerable part of Sinai in exchange for peace. They contended that any concessions in Sinai would lead to renewed hostilities with Egypt.

Begin said in his speech that he believed in “divine protection” and that “we should do the utmost so that no more Jewish blood will spill and that Eretz Israel will be for the Jewish people.” But his audience complained that Likud wasn’t doing enough to “eternalize” the Jewish presence throughout the “land of Israel.” Outside the Jerusalem convention hall several hundred leftist demonstrators denounced Begin and Likud policies.

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