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February 6, 2014 2:57 pm

Israeli Economy Minister Bennett: ‘The Israeli Locomotive Continues to Speed Ahead’

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

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Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Economy Minister, Naftali Bennett, said on Thursday that despite boycott threats against the State of Israel, “Nevertheless, the Israeli locomotive continues to speed ahead,” Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

“The fourth quarter of this year has been the most successful one yet for the Israeli hi-tech industry around the world,” he added, during an interview on Israeli radio. “Whoever thinks that Israel is about to become a pariah state doesn’t know who they are dealing with,” he said.

Bennett was responding to a recent wave of threats coming from members of the international community who warned that Israel may be subjected to economic boycotts if the current Israeli-Palestinian Authority framework agreement talks fail to deliver peace, Channel 2 said.

Leading the global chorus of preemptive warnings has been U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who said earlier this week that if Israel does not act to promote peace, it may be ostracized politically and sanctioned economically, Channel 2 reported.

In the interview, which was broadcast on IDF Radio’s ‘Good Morning Israel’ program, Bennett also asserted that, “The Israeli public is stronger than the external threats being leveled against it. No one will force us to divide our country or our capital as a result of such threats.”

The Jewish Home party Chairman then outlined the potentially disastrous consequences for the Israeli economy of a negotiated settlement with the Palestinian Authority. “Historically, whenever we have reached a supposed political resolution, the Israeli economy has collapsed as a result. For example, it was precisely during [former Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s administration, when he offered the Palestinians almost everything, that the Intifada broke out, which badly hobbled our economy,” he said.

On the other hand, whenever an Israeli government has focused on security rather than peace with the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli economy has soared, he explained. This will not be possible with the existence of a Palestinian state in the heart of Israel, Bennett concluded.

Bennett also criticized an idea recently attributed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whereby some Israelis currently residing in lands located over the Green Line would live under Palestinian Authority sovereignty as a result of a peace deal.

“We will fight with all our might against abandoning hundreds of thousands of Israelis. We will never allow NATO or any other foreign power to assume responsibility over protecting us. Only the IDF can defend the citizens of Israel,” Bennett clarified.

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