Zu Artzenu

views updated


(Hebrew for "this is our land"): Israeli nationalist movement of the extreme right, created in December 1993, following the Israeli-Palestinian Accords, which was signed in Washington, D.C. Zu Artzenu united settlers opposed to the dismantling of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. In the course of the summer of 1995, after months of dormancy, the movement, headed by Moshe Feiglin, returned to the Israeli political scene by supporting demonstrations against the government of Yitzhak Rabin. Its leadership, alluding to the Israeli-Palestinian Accords, accused the prime minister of "selling Israel to the Arabs and pushing the country towards war." At the beginning of September, the Israeli police arrested the principal leaders of the organization, who were accused of inciting revolt among the settlers in the Occupied Territories. On 14 September, Zu Artzenu organized a large demonstration against the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, during which some fifty people were injured. On 4 November, Jewish extremist Yigal Amir assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Amir was later found to have connections to branches of Kach, Eyal, and Zu Artzenu. The actions of the movement found support in the extremist party, Moledet, of Rehavam Zeʾevi. In March 1996, anticipating the Knesset elections of the following May, Zu Artzenu leader Rabbi Benyamin ("Benny") Elon appeared on the electoral list of Moledet. On 29 May, when Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister, Moledet gained two seats, one of which was taken by Rabbi Elon. From then on, befitting to the government's policy favoring Israeli settlements, the movement consolidated its position in the settler community. At the beginning of 1999, some of Zu Artzenu's members, essentially Russian in origin, decided to join the ranks of Israel Beiteinu.

SEE ALSO Elon, Benjamin;Eyal;Israel Beiteinu;Kach Party;Likud;Moledet;Netanyahu, Benjamin;Rabin, Yitzhak;West Bank;Zeʾevi, Rehavam.