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Two-state solution essential, retired Israeli military officer tells Kehillat Israel

by Ryan Torok

August 2, 2011 | 5:53 pm

A two-state solution between Israel and Palestine is crucial for Israel’s existence, retired Israeli Brig. Gen. Nehemiah Dagan said during a speech at congregation Kehillat Israel on July 28.

“I’m considered to be an idealist in Israel. I believe in the future of Israel … but don’t take it for granted. We can lose it,” said Dagan, who argued that Israel would lose its Jewish majority if the occupation of the West Bank continues.

Approximately 110 people attended the J Street-organized event at the Pacific Palisades Reconstructionist synagogue.

Last week, J Street arranged for seven Israeli security and diplomatic experts, including Dagan; Alon Pinkas, former consul general of Israel in New York; retired Maj. Gen. Natan Sharony, a commander during the Six-Day War; and Gen. Shlomo Gazit, a former intelligence chief, to speak in various cities across the country.

Dagan, 71, was a helicopter pilot for the Israeli air force from 1958 to 1989. Since then he has served as vice president of the Israel Education Fund and as a consultant to the IDF chief education officer for art and culture.

During the nearly two-hour discussion, Dagan said Israel could defend itself if it returned to the 1967 borders with the Palestinians — with mutually agreed upon land swaps — as President Barack Obama called for in a speech last May. Dagan also said that fighting between different political parties and religious groups hinders progress on the Israel-Palestine issue.

“What’s happening today scares me,” he said. “People don’t listen. Right, left, religious and secular. It’s frightening.”

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