The solution to the ills afflicting the Israeli nationalist camp is hiding in plain sight. The solution, which everyone is talking about but which will require real leadership to implement, is to bring Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett into the Likud as quickly as possible, and offer them realistic slots on the party’s Knesset ticket.
Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman’s destructive ploy following the April 9 election sowed confusion and demoralization among the Israeli right. Boosting morale and significantly increasing the odds of winning the Sept. 17 elections requires an act of unification, even if the right’s qualms regarding Bennett and Shaked are justified.
Why is this necessary? One simple reason: Israel is one step away from a post-Zionist and even anti-Zionist government with all of the intrinsically severe ramifications to the country’s security and society that go along with that.
News of Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz’s meeting two months ago with Joint Arab List chairman Ayman Odeh before Odeh’s speech at the opposition rally in Tel Aviv did not receive the media coverage it deserved. The significance of the meeting was also swept under the rug of willful ignorance and mundane headlines.
No one is negating the legitimacy of the Arab parties, although some of them, such as Balad, are in the Knesset simply due to an anti-Democratic ruling by the High Court of Justice in 2003. But according to an article by Shlomi Eldar in the Al-Monitor online news site, Gantz and Odeh made strides toward establishing a “country of all its citizens”—the meaning of which is not always clear.
What’s going on here is essentially an unholy alliance to undermine the State of Israel as we know it. Gantz is weak, and just as Yossi Beilin manipulated Ehud Barak into forming the commission of inquiry into the events of October 2000 and offering the far-reaching concessions at the Taba summit in 2001, Knesset member Ofer Shelah and his cohort, comprising Blue and White’s leftist wing, are manipulating the former Israel Defense Forces chief straight into Odeh’s arms.
Odeh told Eldar that going back was no longer a possibility after his appearance at the political rally, where he declared that a “Jewish-Arab partnership” was the only way to achieve change.
“We [Arab Israeli citizens] alone cannot [enact change], but without us it is impossible,” he told the Tel Aviv crowd.
No one, of course, is rejecting the legitimacy of Israel’s Arab citizens. But the plan is to establish a leftist alliance with the Islamist movement on the political level. This abasement is precisely what Israel’s nation-state law was devised to prevent. But Gantz, Barak, Lieberman and Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid don’t care. Their goal is to topple Netanyahu and “save Israel” via this anti-Zionist amalgamation.
The Bibi-phobia kindled in recent years has been building to this specific moment in history, in which the Israeli Left is prepared to jeopardize the foundations of Israeli society just to get rid of Netanyahu. To safeguard against this danger, all hands need to be on deck.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.