We are a painfully divided people. This is true of those of us who live here in the U.S. as well as our brethren in Israel.
Last weekend, two young boys and a newlywed young man were killed in Jerusalem when an Arab terrorist behind the steering wheel of a car rammed into them at high speed.
A 6-year-old and 8-year-old—brothers—were murdered. Their ten-year-old brother was injured. Their 42-year-old father is still hospitalized in serious but thankfully stable condition. A 20-year-old young man was also killed in the terror attack; his wife of six months was standing next to him but was uninjured. They were waiting for a bus on the way to the Ramot area of Jerusalem to spend Shabbos with her parents. The terrorist was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer who was driving by and saw the event unfold.
Despite these tragedies and others of the past few weeks, protesters filled the streets near the Supreme Court in Israel as well as at the Knesset, essentially protesting the outcome of the recent elections in Israel because the protesters—yes, tens of thousands of them—did not like the way in which the majority of Israelis voted.
The left, or those who were defeated in the November elections in Israel, is determined not to allow the democratically elected Israeli government to have its way. They are determined to do what they can to undermine that government and even hurt average Israelis so that they can implement their policies.
Oddly enough, it’s not dissimilar to the role of the Democrat Party here in the U.S. The Democrats were arrogant and intolerant of the Republican opposition when they had the majority in the House of Representatives prior to the recent U.S. elections. Now that they are in the minority they are demanding dialogue and compromise on what will become key and important issues as of the day over the short-term.
Here in the U.S.—unlike in Israel today—we have a weak president who, as each day passes, seems to be more compromised internationally then we could have imagined.
The Democrats fought relentlessly to undermine the Trump presidency. They did not seem to mind bringing the country to its knees so long as they could get back into power and regain the White House.
In Israel, the left tried to prevent Bibi Netanyahu from being able to become prime minister again by accusing him and his wife, Sara, of a combination of crimes. No, he did not receive billions of dollars from China or Ukraine; he accepted high-priced cigars from friends, and his wife ordered takeout food to the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem while their chef was still on duty and at the premises. That’s a crime. By the way, she pleaded guilty.
Today in Israel, once again the right is in charge and the leftists are on the loose and going wild. A Likud Party member serving in the Knesset, Boaz Bismuth, commented this week on the sudden desire emanating from the left seeking dialogue and compromise specifically on matters of judicial reform, which Israel desperately needs.
He asked his critics where the dialogue and compromise was when it came to the Oslo Accords and Israel’s near surrender to every one of Yasser Ararat’s demands. As a result of Israel’s agreement with Arafat, more than a thousand Israelis were murdered in terrorist attacks. He additionally queried where the negotiations and dialogue were when it came to the Gush Katif withdrawal. The answer is that even though Ariel Sharon was prime minister, the left had the votes and the power, and there was no discussion about compromise or one party meeting the other halfway.
On Monday, at a meeting of the Law Committee in the Knesset headed by MK Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionist Party, leftist members of the Knesset were shouting, jumping over tables, and threatening people because they do not have the votes and were not getting their way.
MK David Amsalem (Likud) said, “Left wingers are the most violent, deceitful thugs in the country and we are going to push these legal reforms through to the end. This is the task of this government,” he said.
Addressing the tens of thousands participating in protests outside the Knesset earlier this week, he said, “Look at the anarchy you are creating; you’re a gang of thugs inciting to rebellion.” He added that an Israeli attorney, David Hodek, said that he is ready to take up arms and turn this debate into a shooting war.
Amsalem asked in comments to Israeli media directed at Hodek: “Who do you want to shoot? Me? My children? We are going to complete this legal revolution regardless of your rage, and anyone who breaks the law will sit in jail.”
Here in the U.S .the Democrats worked relentlessly to damage Donald Trump in any way possible. Today most agree that it was the combination of that effort along with the advent of the COVID virus that brought Trump down. Our country would have been a lot different if there had been a second Trump term. Inflation would be under control, we would have remained energy independent, Putin may not have invaded Ukraine, and things with China would probably look different as well.
In Israel, the Bennett hybrid government with a partnership with Lapid and the Arab Ra’am coalition was a colossal failure. Matters are too tenuous and sensitive in Israel to believe that a party that works internally to dismantle and hurt the Jewish state is going to be the deciding vote that helps Israel grow and protect its citizens. Bennett and Lapid were foolish and wrong and now they know it.
But that won’t stop them from seeking to undermine Netanyahu; after all, he is a political opponent and they want to regain power no matter who or how many it hurts.
The current government was elected by a significant majority of Israelis and has a mandate to run Israel as a Jewish state, not to retreat from that position as the left would prefer.
That means, finally, no more apologizing for the fact that Judea and Samaria are part of Israel and that the 600,000 Jews who live there are no different than any other citizens. Additionally, if Israel is a Jewish state we have to act like we are such, and that means, among other things, to stop fooling ourselves into thinking that non-Jews are Jews. Of course, non-Jews can live in Israel and be citizens as well, but this masquerade of non-Jews believing that in some fashion they are Jews has to be dealt with legally and with sensitivity.
And finally and perhaps most importantly, the two-state charade has to be put to rest. This week, Israel formally recognized nine communities in Judea and Samaria that have existed for years without any kind of official recognition. Now they will be able to receive services like water and electricity like other settlement communities.
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken said he was very disturbed by the news and condemned the move. He said that the establishment of new communities like this hinder the ultimate plan of creating two states—Israel and Palestine.
This would be a good opportunity for the Israeli government to state clearly and unequivocally that there will be no two states—not now, not ever. But there could, and there should, be peace for all people and the children can stop dying. Finally.
Read more of Larry Gordon’s articles at 5TJT.com. Follow 5 Towns Jewish Times on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and live videos. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome at 5TJT.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
B”H One can be always certain that Larry never gets anything right, unless it’s his extreme, right-wing politics, whether in America our the Jewish Homeland! Thus both of Gordon’s idols, the disgraced 45th and Netanyahu, have “painfully divided” our people! In the pursuance of radical reactionary political positions he mangles the English language —- it’s the Democratic not Democrat Party —- and proves himself to be opposed to the values of a free people. Elections may settle the issue of succession, but speech remains contentiously to employ and continue to debate in Congress or Knesset especially with razor thin majorities. In Bibi’s case made possible with the forging of unholy alliances with former convicts, even himself facing corruption charges and abuse of power. Moreover, the editor of his screed fails to understand that demonstration for redress of grievances are inherent in a democratic polity; with all the glorious color and creative mass they make possible. Instead of examining the underlying conflict as a differing point of view, the publisher lazily resorts to painting with a broad brush, calling it the left. For such trifling with facts and the truth, Larry Gordon’s punishment should be a self-imposed moratorium from further public comment; instead, let him enroll in political science introductory classes, while taking parallel instruction in English composition; in both disciplines he has earned an F. As to his mention of our better President, unable to face and accept an octogenarian’s majestic accomplishments —- in the way an objective mensch would do —- he tosses cheap shots, thinking that the muck he hurls will camouflage the paucity of ideas and inability to offer alternatives for a reasonable discussion. That’s what Jews do all the time; disputing established thought processes in the veritable Talmudic manner. But, then, that kind of Jewish learning continues to escape him. In the wake his mind is terribly wasted; forcing upon our community to deal with his ignorance-intolerance-bigotry. For all our sakes let’s take a pass on reading his regular and expected nonsense! Shavua tov. Asher 😩🤣😢
In 1995, in the aftermath of the Rabin assassination, Nightline held a Town Hall episode focusing on the divided politics and opinions in Israel. I remember clearly sitting next to my father, and our jaws dropping in horror as Chaim Ramon, referring to the scant majority held by the left wing coalition, declared, “This is a democracy and we have the majority. If you don’t agree with our policies, we will crush you.”
By electing a person or even a government, a voter is effectively saying “I trust this person/party to generally steward the country for the next few years.” This does not mean a voter is saying, “I agree with every single opinion that the party leader has on every single topic and every single law, no matter how much it will change the underpinnings of our democratic society.”
A good number of people in these demonstrations actually VOTED for members of the current ruling coalition. It’s quite possible to agree with the need for a right wing government, to agree with their take on national security, on dealing with foreign affairs, even agree that the Supreme Court needs some form of reform … and yet still believe that the reforms proposed by and being voted on by the current government go WAY too far and for all the wrong reasons, and should not be passed. The right to protest is part and parcel of democracy, and Israeli citizens from across the political spectrum are engaging in just that.
That’s why these protests are the definition of a democratic society. The voice of the people is one from across the country, and across the political spectrum saying that NO, these reforms go too far!