During Tuesday`s special plenary session commemorating 85 years since the establishment of the ”Irgun” (also referred to as Etzel), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the ”bold activity” of the pre-state Jewish underground organization, established by Ze`ev Jabotinsky, ”eroded the regime`s authorities and expedited the decision to end the [British] Mandate.”
”No one knows what would have happened had we missed that point in time at the end of World War Two,” Netanyahu added.
Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said, ”It is usually difficult to identify the significance of events and their consequences as they occur, but the Etzel members understood that they were operating during an historic and fateful time, and they took responsibility, even if that meant a life or death struggle.”
”And the same Menachem Begin, this time as prime minister, stood on the White House lawn during the signing of the Camp David Accords and said, `The ancient Jewish people gave the world a vision of eternal peace, of universal disarmament, of abolishing the teaching and the learning of war… Now it is time for all of us to show civil courage in order to proclaim to our peoples and to others: No more war, no more bloodshed, no more bereavement.` We do not crave blood or revenge; we seek peace.”
”The indiscriminate terror we are facing today, along with the people of the free world, compels us to protect our lives and employ all the necessary means, because in our rough `neighborhood`, any hesitation is perceived as weakness. But we do not forget for a moment, even during the incessant campaign for our safety, that this is not a goal, but a mere intermediate station; the aspiration for peace is the goal, but, as the ancient Roman saying goes, `If you want peace, prepare for war.`”
Minister Ofir Akunis said, ”One thing has almost not changed at all since the 1930s, and that is the delegitimization by political rivals of actions and leadership, just as it is being done to the elected leadership today…Then the leaders were also [referred to] as fascists who silence and are a danger to democracy…these are direct quotes… back then [the leaders] were also described as people who do not want peace. This is what they said about two of the most democratic and liberal leaders of Zionism – Begin and Jabotinsky. Stories and lies were disseminated in any way possible; the truth was not in the way, it was simply trampled on.”
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) noted that her parents were both Etzel fighters who were imprisoned but managed to escape. ”In many ways, my identity was defined by the fact that my parents were Etzel members,” she said. ”The system of values which directed them then has become the personal education system of each and every one if us – the children of the fighting family.”
”After the iron wall comes the need to negotiate from a position of power, and now that the State of Israel has been established and the IDF is the strongest army in the region, and the iron wall has already been built, the time has come to negotiate from a position of power,” Livni told the plenum.