Former United States president Bill Clinton on Tuesday told the media that the Russian immigrant population in Israel is an obstacle to peace with Palestinians, sparking a furious response from Israel’s main immigrant party, Yisrael Beiteinu.
“An increasing number of the young people in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem,” Clinton told a roundtable with press in New York. “It’s a different Israel. Sixteen percent of Israelis speak Russian.”
Foreign Policy magazine quoting Clinton as saying that Russian immigrants are least interested in a peace deal with Palestinians among Israelis. “They’ve just got there, it’s their country, they’ve made a commitment to the future there,” Clinton said. “They can’t imagine any historical or other claims that would justify dividing it.”