Opinion

Blessed is the knower of secrets

The Israeli right came out in a tour de force moment.

Right-wing Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on April 27, 2023. Photo: Erik Marmor/Flash90
Right-wing Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on April 27, 2023. Photo: Erik Marmor/Flash90
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Joseph Frager
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.

In Judaism, whenever one sees a gathering of 600,000 or more Jews, this blessing is recited: “Blessed are you, Hashem our God, king of the universe, knower of secrets.”

What is implied by this blessing? After all the Israeli left’s hullabaloo over judicial reform, the answer is obvious. The right showed up in a tour de force moment last week. The media always plays down the numbers at any right-wing gathering and exaggerates the numbers at a left-wing gathering. The almighty knows the truth and hence the blessing “knower of secrets.”

Numbers do matter. The left knows perfectly well that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the democratically elected leader of the State of Israel. Judicial reform was one of his main campaign promises. The Israeli voter knew this.

Judicial reform is not an option but a necessity. The left is simply using it as a political ploy to bring down Netanyahu and his coalition. The left will benefit from judicial reform too and they know it.

It cannot be said often enough that Israel’s Supreme Court is not at all like America’s Supreme Court. America’s Supreme Court has significant input from the electorate via elected officials. Israel’s Supreme Court has none. It is a self-appointed “old boy network.”

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis came out to make that point clear on April 27. Unfortunately, when the right flexed its muscles in the past, the left paid little attention. I can remember rally after rally against the Oslo Accords with 100,000 plus participants, as well as the numerous protests against the expulsion from Gush Katif in 2005. The media simply played the numbers down and discounted the awesome display of emotion.

Israel’s demographics are changing and the left can’t get used to that fact. There are 7.1 million Jews in Israel. 500,000 are descendants of Jews who are not halachically Jewish. Although Israel’s birthrate of 3.01 is higher than most countries, it is in large part due to religious Zionists and Haredim, who have large families. The left is more like America, which has a birthrate of around 1.7.

The right has gained the upper hand. Election after election has shown it.

The right will continue to win elections in Israel. The left must come to grips with this reality. When they do, an agreement will be hammered out. The agreement will help the left as much as the right. That’s how democracy works. It’s time to settle our differences and move forward. I can’t wait.

Dr. Joseph Frager is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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