Stav Shaffir: Netanyahu Has Led to the Disintegration of the Zionist Dream

WATCH: In Knesset address, Zionist Union MK slams prime minister for lack of leadership and goads the Israeli right to annex the West Bank and Gaza Strip if they truly believed it was wisest move.

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Haaretz
Stav Shaffir's answer to Netanyahu
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Haaretz

Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir harshly rebuked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the opening of the Knesset's winter session on Monday. In a speech that rivals her infamous January 2015 Knesset address taking on the Israeli right, Shaffir accused the prime minister of leading to the disintegration of the State of Israel and the Zionist dream.

Shaffir also goaded the Israeli right for their "incitement and intimidation" against the Israeli left, MKs, NGOs and "good citizens who are trying to make a change," challenging them to annex the West Bank and Gaza Strip if they truly believed it was the right step.

"We, the generation that was born a little before the first intifada and served in the army during the second intifada, really did not intend to now find ourselves in the midst of a third intifada," Shaffir said at the beginning of her remarks, referring to the recent wave of violence that has erupted throughout Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank.

"We are looking for solutions. The prime minister, who spoke here today, needed to stand here bravely and courageously and begin to speak about solutions," Shaffir continued before asking "how much cynicism can there be in this chamber?"

"For the prime minister and his friends on the right, there is simply nothing left to say," she said. "You shout that it's all the fault of Oslo. Please, finish it! Go and re-occupy Jenin and Ramallah!"

"Who's preventing you from annexing the territories? Who's stopping you from rebuilding [the settlements in Gaza]? Annex the territories! Why aren't you doing it? Because you know that it's a mistake, you know that you'll never do it, you know that if the territories are annexed, we will lose all of Israel," Shaffir said amid heckling from Habayit Hayehudi MK Yinon Magal.

"The only thing [Netanyahu] is trying to extract from these speeches is a little more incitement," Shaffir continued. "This is Israel's big problem? Two or three MKs that say things that I also would never agree with and are not easy to hear. But with all due respect - this is not the problem in this wave of terror. The problem here is a lack of policy."

"A true leader needs to provide for the security of Israel and its citizens - and this security will come if and only when we reach a separation from the Palestinians," the Zionist Union MK said.

Shaffir continued to criticize the government for funding settlements over funding the periphery and further integrating Arabs into Israel - "to make it so that an Arab child can feel Israeli exactly the way a Jewish child feels Israeli - in a shared Israeli identity. This is real coexistence."

Shaffir then accused Netanyahu of inciting against the entire Arab public and rejecting his criticism of the current Arab leadership for not striving for coexistence.

"This is the same prime minister that in the elections preferred to say that 'the Arabs are coming in droves to the polls' to cause the right-wing voters to get out and vote."

"The prime minister has led to the disintegration of the State of Israel, the disintegration of the Zionist dream," Shaffir said before her concluding remarks.

"I have spoken a lot in the last couple weeks with settlers and asked them - what are the solutions? What do you see? What's it going to look like here in the next 10 or 20 years?"

Shaffir said that one of the most common responses was that "we are always going to be living under attack or recurring waves of terror, with war and military operations. This is the life we've been condemned to."

"The State of Israel deserves much better than this. It deserves real security and real peace. The youth of Israel deserve to know that we are heading to such a solution - that we are on the way to a strong Israeli society that sees its future ahead of it and not only fear. We mustn't accept a fate of unceasing fighting and endless fear. We need to strive for a different reality - and we can because there are solutions here on the table in front of us. They just demand a little courage."

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