HereÂ we go again; elections in Israel.
It isÂ always a very interesting time for me, a time for reflection. I have seen a lot in my thirty six years here
I made Aliyah to Israel just after Menachem Begin’sÂ Machal partyÂ ( today’s Likud)Â wasÂ elected for the first time, in 1977 , thusÂ finally breaking the Labor/LeftÂ monopoly on political power in Israel. since before the founding of the State in 1948.
I recall how proud and optimistic I wasÂ when Begin announced ,”there will be manyÂ more “Elon Morehs” -Â Jewish communities in Samaria. The Left, the pressÂ the international community wereÂ very nasty to himÂ which convinced me he was the right man for the job.
In retrospect, I understand that I moved to IsraelÂ a vital turning point in its evolution. What I and many perceived as the start of a new assertion of national pride and attentionÂ to Jewish roots and values was not going to happen as we expected.
Begin wasÂ the man with the great biography of Jewish pride and struggle , first againstÂ Soviet dictatorshipÂ and then hounded by the British occupation – all the while staying one step ahead of theÂ the Left in Israel who wouldÂ turn him in to the BritishÂ authorities- and the gallows. The Begin we all loved and admired and pinned our hopes on…crashed soon after attaining the pinnacle of his career
ButÂ he craved acceptance by the establishment in Israel, to win a consensus he never enjoyed as an under groundÂ fighter or opposition leader. Nobly, heÂ wanted to bring the country together and end theÂ bickering and bitterness.Â Labor’s Ben GurionÂ hated Begin and could not even bring himself to mention his name. This was a oneÂ way enmity and Begin was determined to put an end to it through consensus building.
He did this by bringing his long time LaborÂ political rival, Moshe Dayan into his cabinet as foreign minister.
Dayan began secretÂ peace negotiations with Sadat’s Egypt for a peace treaty in return for massive concessions in the Sinai, an area three times the size of Israel, captured in the Six Days War (it had been captured twice beforeÂ when Israel agreed to withdraw in favor of political arrangements)
Making a long storyÂ short, Begin agreed to the Camp David accords which called for bowing to the total demands of Egypt’s Sadat and president Jimmy Carter to withdraw , again, from the entire Sinai conceding Israel’s best air and naval bases, oil fields that made Israel energyÂ self sufficient, and most significant of allÂ and setting a historic precedent, expulsion of thousands of Jewish pioneers from their homes inÂ the Sinai which they transformed into a Garden of Eden.
Begin balked at this tragic step It was against all that he stood for his entire life. Sadat said, “You can burn your settlements, I do not want a Jew in my Sinai!” Carter nodded his approval. Dayan urged Begin not to miss his historic opportunity for peace.
“Peace Now” demonstrators and the Leftist press warned , do not come home with out peace (in our time..?)
Begin caved in and thus began a down hill spiral for him personally andÂ for the hopes of a real revolution of theÂ Israeli spirit. TheÂ chorus in the LeftistÂ press, legal class and academia of “whatÂ will the nations say? How can we be a nation that dwells alone”?Â infected Begin.
He could face the Soviets, the British and the Arabs – but he craved acceptance by as many of his own people as possible.
TheÂ expulsions of Yamit and the total withdrawal fromÂ every grain of Sinai” as Sadat demanded was the precedent used by the Left ever since. If eventhe toughÂ BeginÂ gave “land for peace” then surely…
It has been down hill since. A huge hole was punched in the dam and the roarÂ of the waters rushing through drowned out any audible voice of protest.
Rabbi Meir Kahane was one of the strongestÂ and uncompromising voicesÂ attempting to shake IsraelÂ outÂ of the cloud of impotence and lethargyÂ that now envelopedÂ them.
He succeeded inÂ reaching increasing ears and hearts… so the Israeli democracy banned him from politics.
Others raised their voicesÂ but the country continued down the slippery slope as the public was kept sleeping.
Then came Oslo in 1993. Israel continuedÂ down the slope – with skates.
“Land for Peace”, “One makes peace with enemiesÂ – not friends” ,
“Sacrifice for peace”, Peace Now” , “The price of peace”,Â “Peace partners”
“Moderate Arabs”,The New Middle East”, “International acceptance”, “Land for Peace” The moderates will protect us from the extremists”, Land is no longer of strategic value”,Â “Israel will be the Singapore of the Mid East”..etc…
Most of these “1984 double speak mantras” were productsÂ of theÂ fantasy world of Shimon Peres, the high priest of national delusion.
And so the bodies piled up as did the securityÂ walls.
Hundreds of thousands were employed guarding schools, coffee shops and bus stops from the extremist thatÂ our moderate partners could not protect us from. Or were our moderate partners blowing us up? It became very confusing.
Israelis were dumb struck, confused, enraged andÂ helpless. The LeftÂ elites assured them it is all part ofÂ an inevitable “process” . There is no other option.
In 2005, facing scandal and indictment, Prime minister Sharon,Â war hero, surprised all by continuing and accelerating the policiesÂ of theÂ Oslo debacle. He announced he was going to expel 10,000 Jewish pioneers from their homes in GazaÂ and Samaria and hand over huge areas of the homeÂ land to the enemy. He explained it was for security reasonsÂ and to enhance international supportÂ for Israel.
Of course the opposite resulted but it did keep him out of jail. The press and the courtsÂ rewarded him for embracing the extremeÂ policies of theÂ Left – just as he hopedÂ they would.
Now in the post Gush Katif period, the LeftÂ has not changed their mantras but the people of IsraelÂ however are not buying it as they once did.
It isÂ clear that the Left parties have noting to offer.Â Personalities and egos squabeling amongst them selves is what is remains. The Right will win. Bibi as prime minister will still try to gain respectabilityÂ by not seeming “too extreme”. He will try hardÂ to form a coalition that willl not turnÂ back the Oslo fiasco, but ratherÂ play the political game of powerÂ and personalÂ survival.
His greatest poltical night mare of the lastÂ ten years was Moshe FeiglinÂ and his attempt to return ideology to the Likud and politics in Israel. Now that he will finallyÂ be a Likud MK, things will become more interesting.Â Bibi can diluteÂ hisÂ and other ideoloical MKsÂ influence by bringing Left parties into the coalition – but the game is just about up.
The people of Israel have suffered twenty years of Oslo andÂ now aÂ growing number of true patriots and God fearing Jews will take their place in the Knesset.
We have turnedÂ a corner .Its not over but the free fallÂ down the slope has been stopped.
Yes, its been quiteÂ a roller coaster for me these thirty five years.
God willling the next thirty five will be a better ride for my childrenÂ and grand children