Prominent Herut Figures Revolted by Dekel’s Plan to Transfer Palestinians

Prominent Herut figures have recoiled in disgust from a proposal by Deputy Defense Minister Michael Dekel of Herut for the mass transfer of Palestinians to the Arab countries as a solution to Israel’s demographic problems.

One of the most outspoken critics is Benyamin Zeev Begin, son of former Premier Menachem Begin, who told a Herut symposium here Sunday that Dekel’s ideas “blurred the distinctions between Herut and that ghastly phenomenon represented by Meir Kahane.” leader of the extremist Kach Party.

The younger Begin, a geologist, insisted on a television interview later that he spoke for himself, not his father, when he made political pronouncements. But the two Begins are known to be very close in their views.

He said Dekel’s “words thrown into the air, have their own dynamics.. In the eyes of a portion of the population — especially the youth — the dividing line between Kahane’s proposals and Dekel’s are thin indeed. Some might say let’s go for the original and vote for Kahane.”

Kahane advocates the ouster of all Arabs from Israel and the administered territories and legal bans on intermarriage and sexual relations between Jews and Arabs. Begin said he felt “nausea” when he heard Dekel’s ideas.

DEKEL INSULTED BY THE COMPARISON

Dekel said he was “shocked, disappointed and deeply insulted” by Begin’s comparison of his views to Kahane’s. He had offered a “non-operative political plan for the future” to resettle 500,000 Palestinian refugees from Israel’s 1948 War of Independence in Arab countries. He would give Arabs in the administered territories a choice between “full citizenship and allegiance to the State of Israel” or emigration “not by coercion by international agreement.”

His plan was also assailed by Eliahu Ben-Elissar who was Israel’s first Ambassador to Egypt and by Herut Central Committee member Moshe Amiram. Ben-Elissar called it “immoral and impractical.” Amiram said Dekel’s proposal “smacked of Zionist defeatism.”

“You have given up on the Jewish transfer. You can’t get the Jew from Beverly Hills to come (to Israel) so you want to send the Arabs away from Gaza,” he said.

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