|Date of birth||March 13, 1979|
|Place of birth||Nahariya, Israel|
|Party represented in Knesset|
|2013–||The Jewish Home|
Yonatan "Yoni" Chetboun (Hebrew: יונתן "יוני" שטבון, born March 13, 1979) is an Israeli politician. He is a member of the Jewish Home party and placed 11th on its list for the 19th Knesset. He is a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, and sits on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Early life and military career
Chetboun was born in Nahariya to French Jewish immigrants and grew up in Netanya. He attended a Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school, before becoming a student at Yeshivat Otniel. In 1998 he began his national service, and joined the 51st Battalion of the Golani Brigade. He was selected to join the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit. The Egoz unit consists of special forces, with their main theatre of operations being against Hezbollah in Lebanon, though the unit takes part in operations in all theaters, such as Judea, Samaria and Gaza. He fought in the Second Lebanon War, seeing action at the Battle of Bint Jbeil, and was awarded the Chief of Staff citation. He continued to serve in the reserves after active duty, and left the IDF in 2008.
He is married with 6 children.
Prior to his political career, Chetboun was active in the Religion Zionist community and founded the Ra'ananim – Religious Zionist Youth movement. The organization was active in strengthening Jewish Identity among Israeli youth. During Operation Cast Lead, Chetboun was one of the organizers of a demonstration in support of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the residents of southern Israel. He was motivated by the lack of public confidence in the IDF during the Second Lebanon War in which he fought, which according to him hurt the morale of the troops. In lectures and events, Chetboun advocated a foreign policy based on three pillars: Military Prowess, Diplomatic Finesse and most importantly, the assertion of principles in the robust pursuit of the national interest.
Knesset life and policy stances
With his entrance in the Knesset, Chetboun was appointed a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. He sits on the following select committees: Foreign Affairs and Defence; Education; Social Security and Welfare.
He also represents Israel at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
National Security. After a decade of experience on and beyond the front line, both in Lebanon and in the West Bank, and seeing how government policy works out in practice, Chetboun advocates a strong and unflinching stance in Israel's conduct with its immediate neighbours. An example of this would be his outspoken opposition to the decision of the Israeli Government to apologise to the Turkish Government in order to allow the renormalisation of bilateral ties, arguing that a foreign policy based on assertion of principles as opposed to capitulation would ultimately bear fruit.
Chetboun's contention that the assertion of national principles and interests form the base of a successful foreign policy was given further authority after the signing of an interim agreement between the P5 +1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the subject of the latter's nuclear program. Despite US Secretary of State John Kerry contention to the opposite, many onlookers, foremost among them Chetboun, saw the unwillingness of the Western Powers to extract major concessions from Iran.
By happenstance, Chetboun was attending a conference of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly at the time that the interim agreement was signed and decried publicly the inability of the West to confront Iran's march to regional hegemony. It is also the reason that elements of the Israeli political establishment are loath to challenge international opinion. Consequently, it is much more expedient for the Western Powers to accept the Iranian charm offensive, despite their continuing support for the Assad regime in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Being part of the HaBayit Hayehudi/Jewish Home Party, he opposes the creation of a Palestinian State. This opposition derives from his view that the conflict is not of a territorial nature but an ideological one. He also emphasises the natural, spiritual and historic connection of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel.
Furthermore, he is of the opinion that the creation of a Palestinian state poses a strategic threat to the main population centres in Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The fragmented nature of the Palestinian body politic also precludes a putative Palestinian government from enforcing a peace from hostile elements, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda.
Chetboun is of a growing number of Israeli politicians who have publicly announced alternatives to the two state solution, his own entitled "A Jewish State with an Arab minority."
1. A process of shared ownership: An agreement that built on gradualism, reciprocity and most of all realistic expectations.
2. Israeli civilian law would be extended to Judea and Samaria. As part of this extension of civilian law, citizenship would be offered to all Arabs. Reduction of threat levels from Arabs in Judea and Samaria would be reciprocated with increased rights until Arabs will enjoy full equality, including the right to vote for representation in the Knesset. This would be bound up with a commitment on each individual to play a constructive part in Israeli society.
3. The demographic threat: In parallel to the extension of citizenship to the Arab population in Judea and Samaria, The State of Israel will aggressively incentivise Aliyah from the Diaspora to neutralise any perceived demographic threat. Funds previously focussed to security needs would be able to be reallocated to fund these initiatives.
4. The result will be a Jewish State with an Arab minority: The Arabs population throughout the State of Israel will constitute a minority in a Jewish State with full citizenship.
Domestic Policy positions
Chetboun supports Arab-Israelis taking part in national service within their own communities, citing the Arab population's reluctance to serve in the army, which would deal several blows to morale and cohesion.
Chetboun is spearheading a campaign to draw community organisers together in a forum which will raise the issue of the periphery onto the national agenda. He sees the improvement of deprived neighbourhoods as a critical mission, where targeted investment in projects within communities, both in terms of infrastructure and education as being the best way of giving those stuck in difficult circumstances a way to improve themselves.
- "The Jewish Home". Israeli Central Elections Committee. (Hebrew)
- Ezra, Hezki (May 22, 2012). "Yoni Chetboun: Candidate for the Jewish Home Party". Israel National News. Retrieved January 30, 2013. (Hebrew)
- Habayit Hayehudi: A helping hand for Francophones Le Ptit Hebdo, August 29, 2012 (French)
- "Medal and Citation Recipients in the Second Lebanon War in the Golani Brigade". Golani Brigade website. Retrieved January 29, 2013. (Hebrew)
- Zemer, Michal; Shapira, Efrat (January 6, 2009). "Combatants from Lebanon Strengthen IDF Soldiers in Gaza Strip". nrg Ma'ariv. Retrieved January 29, 2013. (Hebrew)
- Yoni Chetboun on the Knesset website