‘Israel will never withdraw from the Golan’

Senior Blue and White party officials Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon, Gabi Ashkenazi promise to act against any threat against Israel on tour of Golan Heights • At the same time, Blue and White says social, not security, issues to be top priority.

Speaking in the Golan, Gantz said, “We are now encountering here a terror network, an Iranian front that is sitting on the border with the State of Israel. We know how to handle any threat, in any one of the arenas, for as long as necessary. We will build a responsible and assertive cabinet. We will be unforgiving of any form of aggression against the State of Israel in any of the arenas.”

Lapid said they were there “to remind the entire world that we will never return the Golan Heights [to Syria]. Israel has sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and will always have sovereignty over the Golan Heights. We expect the European Union and the U.N. to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

Ya’alon said the Israel-Syria border before them was more than just a border between countries, but a “border between civilizations: the green, blooming, flourishing and thriving on our side opposite the black, the burned, the bloody on the Syrian side. This is the border of hope against evil,” he said.

Ashkenazi had a message for all of Israel’s enemies inside Syria and the region, saying, “In the face of any existential threat to the State of Israel, we will act and we will not contain: action – not containment.”

Although much of it has already been made public, the Blue and White party will officially release its party platform, Wednesday.

In one of the clauses of the platform, the party says it will not act to repeal the nation-state law, but rather anchor it in legislation that ensures equality for Israel’s citizens.

The nation-state law was one of the main areas where there were disagreements among the parties that comprise Blue and White. Both Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party had said ahead of the merger that they would work to amend the controversial law.

Earlier, the heads of Blue and White clarified that “although this is a party of [former IDF] chiefs of staff, the subject of security is secondary. In a conversation with Israel Hayom, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah said that “the ruling party needs to have a say on all aspects of life, and security is but one of them.” Noting Blue and White’s platform focus on health and transportation, he said that these days, the civilian aspect is “no less important for people” than security. “We have a plan to add 12.5 billion shekels [$3.45 billion] to the health system in the next five years.” Asked where the money would come from, Shelah replied. “There’s no need to worry. We’ll manage.”

The Blue and White party’s platform also includes plans for a regional conference aimed at forging a diplomatic process for Israel to separate from the Palestinians, a commitment not to carry out a unilateral disengagement from Judea and Samaria as well as a commitment not to withdraw from the settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley. The party platform makes no mention of terms such as a “Palestinian state” or “two-state solution,” but does commit to canceling the recommendations law, which prohibits police from making recommendations either for or against an indictment in high-profile investigations, and the supermarket law, which gives the interior minister the power to shutter convenience stores operating on Shabbat, as well as ensuring continuity of the draft law put in place by the current defense establishment.

Blue and White clarified that although differences remained among the various parties, they were largely in agreement on the platform and were committed to it in its entirety.