Israel should annex all of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip and take full responsibility for the Arabs living there, said Yitzhak Chai Zaga, who is challenging Education Minister Naftali Bennett for the leadership of Bayit Yehudi in a race set to be held on April 27.
Bennett has spoken about annexing Area C of the West Bank, not about full annexation of the land and its entire Arab population. Zaga said he would provide equal education, housing and employment opportunities for the Arab population but would not grant them citizenship or the right to vote until they respect Israeli nationalism.
“I would give them full rights without discrimination and an honorable life, but they are in a Jewish state,” Zaga told The Jerusalem Post. “There cannot be different nationalism here, and it could take them 10 or 20 years to realize that.”
Zaga has a plan for taking responsibility for the Arab population that starts with removing their ammunition and ending incitement. As a lawyer, he has legal arguments to justify the plan.
Aside from his two law degrees, Zaga is also an economist, a rabbi and a father of 10. He has worked for several of Israel’s largest companies and has been involved in billion-dollar business deals.
Zaga warned that Israel is in danger of repeating mistakes of the sub-prime crisis in the US in its current housing shortage. His economic ideas are capitalist, liberal and influenced by the socioeconomic writings of Israel’s first Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook, which he distributes as head of the Spirit of Jerusalem organization.
“The government must be more involved in the housing market,” he warned. “I am entering politics to bring a real, professional change to our policies, so they can then be a model for the world.”
Asked why he is running for head of the party and not starting by seeking a Knesset seat, Zaga said the bylaws of Bayit Yehudi enable the party chairman to decide its ideology, which is what he wants to do.
There are currently at least three other candidates seeking to challenge Bennett: former Nahal Haredi head and deputy Gaza Brigade commander Col. (res.) Yonatan Branski, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Rabbi Yaakov Lapidot and Rabbi Shimon Or of Jerusalem’s Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood.
Zaga said he would meet with the other candidates over the next few days to try to persuade them to drop out.
“I expect that within a matter of days the others will say, ‘We will do what we need to do to change the leadership of the party,’” he said. “I will see if we can be a team.”
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