This past Saturday we read the first section of Exodus in Synagogue:
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people: ‘Behold, the people of the children of Israel are too many and too mighty for us; come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there befalleth us any war, they also join themselves unto our enemies, and fight against us, and get them up out of the land. Exodus Chapter 1, verses 8-10
Similarly this week the President of the United States declared that the Jews living in the West Bank cannot have children, and if they do those kids cannot live with their parents. Oh, that’s not what he said, but the result is the same. What he said is that there cannot be natural growth in the West Bank settlements:
‘Obama’s decrees are like Pharaoh’s’
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“The American demand to prevent natural growth is unreasonable, and brings to mind Pharaoh who said: Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river,” Science Minister and Habayit Hayehudi head Daniel Herschkowitz said Sunday, referring to US President Barack Obama’s demand to freeze all settlement activity, even that ensuing from natural growth.
Speaking ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, mathematician Herschkowitz furthered his point with a simple equation. “If there is a family that expands from one child to four or five, what should we tell them – to ship the children off to Petah Tikva? This is an unacceptable demand, even if it comes from the Americans, and Israel should reject it decisively,” he affirmed.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said, “The American demand to freeze construction means expulsion for young people living in large locales. I hope the US administration understands that. If not, I don’t want to be an apocalyptic prophet saying we’re facing struggle and confrontation. The concessions they’re demanding of us are a security impediment we cannot withstand.”
Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein chose a positive perspective on the dispute threatening an Israeli-American rift.
“The recent days prove what luck we have that it is [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s government conducting talks on West Bank natural growth and construction in Jerusalem,” he said. “Just imagine someone else, he would have led us to an entanglement lasting generations.”
“We aren’t headed for a confrontation with the White House, but rather for understandings, and Netanyahu’s visit there proved it. President Obama is a friend of Israel, and I’m sure we can resolve the disagreements,” Edelstein added.
Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog of the Labor party stressed the importance in preventing a head-on collision with Obama.
“The current American administration sees things differently than the last two presidents did. Construction is being undertaken around Jerusalem according to understandings with previous administrations. Israel wants very much to reach understandings, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s upcoming trip to Washington proves it,” Herzog said.