In the first lecture ever delivered on the University’s campus by a member of the Israeli Parliament, Knesset member Aryeh Eldad stook a hardline stance defending Israel’s current boundaries.

“We must end the occupation of Arabs on the land of Israel,” he said before 150 people in a talk at the Michigan Union last night. “We must seek justice. We must protect what is ours.”

Eldad, a member of the National Union-National Religious Party and chairman of the Knesset’s ethics committee, said he thinks the notion of separate Israeli and Palestinian states has hit a dead end and that Arabs should learn to live in an Israeli state. He said the problem is that Arabs are unwilling to accept a Jewish state in the world.

“A lot of our leaders fooled themselves, (saying) that the conflict is territorial and if we give them some land, we can get some peace,” said Eldad, who was a general in the Israeli Defense Force and the director of plastic surgery at Hadassah Hospital from 2000 to 2003.

Eldad used his background in medicine to illustrate his points.

“As a physician,” he said, “I can say if you misdiagnose the disease, the chance you’ll be able to prescribe the right medication is very slim.”

Eldad said he’s performed surgery on several terrorism victims, but also suicide bombers.

He said the use of suicide bombers illustrates that Palestinians have fundamentally different values from Israelis.

“It’s not only a religious war, but a clash of civilizations,” Eldad said. “The (Arab) culture does not sanctify life, but death.”

LSA junior Eitan Ingall, the president of Israel Initiating Dialogue, Education, and Advocacy — the group that organized last night’s event — said they invited Eldad to speak because it was a historic opportunity.
“The reason he’s here,” Ingall said, “is because there has never been a member of Israeli Parliament on this campus.”

One audience member angrily shouted during the speech that Eldad’s plan for the elimination of a Palestinian state was “bullshit” and “bigoted,” and said Eldad was suggesting that “all Arabs are terrorists.”

LSA senior Eric Rosenbloom said he was surprised by some of Eldad’s comments.

“I wasn’t expecting, necessarily, that Dr. Eldad did not support a Palestinian state outright,” he said. “His stands overall, are farther right than my own, but he also is a very powerful speaker who made very convincing arguments.”

The way to reach peace, Eldad said, is to make sure the other side understands Israel will not be defeated. He said both Israel and Palestine need to acknowledge their need to coexist, with the underlying idea that Israel will not give up its land.

“We are not going to have peace with the Arabs forever, but they will respect us and we will respect them when convinced they won’t destroy us and we won’t destroy them,” he said.

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