March 30, 2005
A student brought the President’s wife to tears when she asked how
the government can expel Jews from Gaza, when the weapons that Israel gave the
terrorists at Oslo already cost so many lives.
When a student asked the President of the State of Israel, attending a
conference at a college in Ariel, how the government can expel Jews from their homes
in Gaza, after the failure of Oslo and four and a half years of war with the
Palestinian Authority, the President’s wife broke out into tears.
The student, Batya Gutman, from Bet El, approached the microphone suddenly,
after the conference chair, Prof. Moshe Arens, former Minister of Defense,
asked if there were any questions from the audience for the President.
Arens was startled when she grabbed the microphone just as another student
started to speak. ‘You’re grabbing the microphone!’ Arens shouted. But Batya
refused to relent, saying she had an urgent question for the President.
President Moshe Katzav then asked her to speak.
‘The first time I met you, Mr. President, was when you arrived at our home to
console my family on the death of my brother, Hezi, who was killed in an IDF
operation in southern Gaza two years ago. Sitting next to me is my friend
Aliza Siton, whose brother was murdered in a terrorist attack in Itamar,’ said
‘I would like to ask you, Mr. President, how we can implement the
disengagement plan when we already know the catastrophe of the Oslo accords? We already
know the disastrous results of the weapons [that Israel put] in the hands of
Gutman spoke for about three minutes as her classmates listened attentively,
maintaining absolute silence.
As she spoke, the audience saw the President’s wife weeping. When Gutman
ended her words, the audience applauded.
The President responded, saying that Israel chose its representatives to the
Knesset democratically, and as such, it represents the will of the nation.
Gutman interrupted his words. ‘We didn’t vote so that for the price of NIS 700
million, they would pass such a dangerous measure.’
Gutman was referring to Shinui’s decision to support the State budget after
receiving an allocation of NIS 700 million for projects favored by the party.
Had Shinui not received that appropriation and voted against the bill, new
elections would have been called, and the expulsion plan might have been
The President responded in the same vein, saying that while he identified
with Gutman’s family’s sorrow, the Knesset, which approved the expulsion plan,
democratically represents the nation.
The President thanked Gutman for her statement and expressed his pain over
the government’s decision to destroy the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and
‘Every Israeli citizen needs to feel the pain resulting from a plan to uproot
Jewish communities, a difficult decision that’s not limited just to the
Knesset. My heart goes out to the Jewish communities of Gush Katif,’ the President