Minister Naftali Bennett. (Flash90) (Flash90)

With ISIS approaching dangerously close to Israel’s border with Syria, Minister Naftali Bennett called on world powers to finally recognize Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

IDF artillery north border

An IDF artillery unit facing the northern border. (IDF Spokesperson)

Minister of Education Naftali Bennett called on the international community to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in northern Israel. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost control of the Syrian side of the border to rebel forces as the Islamic State (ISIS) rapidly advances towards Israel’s border.

The Golan has been part of Israel since the 1967 Six Day War, and Israel officially annexed the area in 1981 under the Golan Law that was passed in the Knesset (parliament). The world has so far not recognized Israeli sovereignty on the Golan.

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference on Sunday, Bennett said: “I call on the international community – stand with us and recognize Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights. It is time to do justice and halt the advance of the insane and extreme Islamic forces knocking on our northern border. It’s Israel or ISIS. It’s the choice between a democracy that elects its heads [leaders] or a barbaric organization that beheads people.”

Pointing to the vast differences between Israeli democracy and Assad’s oppressive regime in Syria, as well as the roving terror gangs in that country, Bennett declared: “I want to present a challenge to the entire world…to give the international community to display morality, values and justice. Where can they do that? At the Golan Heights.”

Slamming Double Standards and Boycotts

Bennett conceded that Israel has disagreements with several countries regarding the status of Judea and Samaria, but regarding the Golan, “it is time for the Western world to stand up and with a clear voice stand beside the just side – Israel.”

Syrian border

A view of Israel’s border with Syria. (IDF)

Bennett condemned plans to boycott products manufactured in the Golan Heights because they were made in “occupied territories. “What does this serve? Where is the morality? Who do they want us to turn the Golan over to? Jabhat Al-Nusra [terror organization]? Al-Qaeda? ISIS? To Assad, who has massacred his own citizens? Today it is clear that if we would have ceded the Golan, ISIS would be swimming in the Sea of Galilee.”

Bennett called on the European Union (EU) to cease with its double standards when it comes to Israel.

“Let it be clear to any company or organization that is considering boycotting us: we will hit back, we will attack our attackers, and we will boycott our boycotters. The boycott weapon is a double-edged sword. We will no longer remain silent,” Bennett asserted.

Orange Incident: A ‘Watershed Moment’

“The Orange incident is a watershed moment,” he continued, referring to statements in Cairo by the CEO of the French telecommunications giant that he would end business ties with Israel and his subsequent apology. “It is the first time that Israel and its allies fight back,” Bennett said. “A loud and strong action of Jews and non-Jews around the world resulted in a total upheaval of Orange’s policy. Many of our friends cried out against Orange and demanded to disconnect from their services. And the pressure worked. Orange receded and apologized….

“Up until today it was easy to it was very easy to hit Israel, because you didn’t pay a price. No longer,” he vowed. “The state of Israel has moved from the defense to the offense.”

Bennett concluded by noting that there are only 23,000 Jews living in the Golan Heights and urging Israel to push forward with plans to dramatically enlarge the population there. “We must prepare infrastructure and incentives in employment and education,” he asserted. “We should never forget our goal: 100,000 Jews in the Golan within the next five years.”

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel