Israel is undergoing many challenges since the new government was formed, internally and externally. Terror has accelerated, and on the international scene, Israel’s internal judicial reform initiatives have been met with criticism from around the world.
Many of these challenges have been created by extreme left-wing Israelis who understand the international political landscape and are abusing it to take away legitimacy from this new government and its plans. Immediately coming off the right’s election victory, Israel’s political left went on the offensive against the legitimacy of Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, which was voted in through a democratic election. As time has passed, their behavior has become more intolerable and is pushing Israel to the brink of civil war and international isolation.
Immediately after the elections, Yair Lapid, the former prime minister and current head of the opposition, called on new officers of the Israel Defense Forces at their graduation ceremony to question the new government and their orders to the Israeli army, saying, “the call to use force without laws, without rules, without adhering to the model of a law-abiding army.” These calls weaken Israeli society and the IDF.
Additionally, on Dec. 1, Lapid wrote an open letter to Israel’s municipalities that said the parties set to form the next coalition government have “abandoned the education of our children and handed them over to the most extreme and darkest elements in Israeli society. I urge you not to cooperate with the unit for external programs and partnerships in the Ministry of Education.”
That was three months ago. Unfortunately, things have gone downhill quickly. Since then, there have been calls by former prime ministers, mayors and generals in the army for armed civil war against the right, and thousands of death threats against ministers and members of parliament alongside violent protests against the State of Israel. Former prime ministers and senior ministers of Israel have besmirched the Israeli government on international media platforms and have called for a boycott of the state and the ruling coalition by foreign powers.
The protesters have interviewed and written op-eds on leading media publications worldwide, have called on Israeli and international companies to withdraw or not initiate investments in Israel; called for Israelis to stop serving in the IDF and in the reservist army; and even called for Israelis to abandon their home and move to Europe or the United States.
At their protests, they display posters of Netanyahu alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hitler and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and call the prime minister a traitor. They have blocked roads illegally and vandalized property in Israel for months. Still, Israel’s police have not acted with force to disperse them as they did in the past with protesters from other social sects in Israeli society.
The protesters knew this would happen. They are looking for pictures of police dispersing them with force so that they can run to the world media and say that Israel is a fascist and oppressive state. Meanwhile, Israel’s elitist and most privileged citizens are disturbing millions of Israelis’ daily movements.
Recently, left-wing Israelis have even started protesting in front of embassies of foreign nations in Israel, and Israeli expats have protested at central locations in cities of Western countries. They are aware that the international mainstream media and left-wing governments will gladly be on their side in weakening Israel’s right-wing. They ignore the fact the introduction and invitation of foreign intervention in Israeli politics will weaken Israel’s sovereignty and respect on the world stage for decades. Everything is “kosher” for left-wing Israelis if it means holding onto their self-ordained power structure, which is the Israeli Supreme Court.
Knesset members have been barricaded inside their residences by hundreds of left-wing activists attempting to prevent them from leaving and being able to vote. A protester tried to get close to Simcha Rothman, head of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, at his home to possibly harm him. A few weeks ago, a crowd of thousands barricaded Sara Netanyahu outside a hair salon in Tel Aviv. Later that evening, she was escorted home by hundreds of Israeli police officers. Last week, Israeli Minister of the Economy and Industry Nir Barkat attended a political event with the Likud Party’s branch in Kfar Saba that became surrounded by hundreds of left-wing protesters who broke the building’s windows, and shouted and hurled objects at Barkat as he was escorted in and out of the event.
In the Knesset itself, two members belonging to Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party jumped over the table, shouting at Rothman. The Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beiteinu (led by Knesset member Avigdor Lieberman) parties have threatened to withdraw from Israel’s Knesset in an attempt to signal to the rest of the world that Israel is no longer a democratic country worth serving in its parliament.
The proposal laid out last week by Israeli President Isaac Herzog was not nearly a compromise from the very basic fact that every party in the opposition supported it and every party in the coalition opposed it. A different kind of proposal could have been a life preserver to begin to pull us out of this terrible situation we are in. Instead, Herzog, who was the leader of the left-wing Labor Party before becoming president and a career left-wing politician, chose to pander to his political colleagues and ignore the collation voted in democratically by the Israeli public. His proposal and the attitude of the left signal to the Israeli right that Israel’s democratic elections don’t have to mean much, and that even if they are democratically elected, any significant policy they wish to enact must receive approval from the left-wing political elites.
On their recent trip to Israel, the organizations of the Conference of Presidents didn’t request to meet with Rothman or Israeli Minister of Justice Yariv, who are leading the reforms from Israel’s coalition government. They caved into the pressure by mainstream media and political correctness instead of becoming educated on the issues and taking a balanced approach. These organizations and others have released two letters in just a few months to show their concern about the new government’s policies—something they didn’t even do once during the 18 months of the last government.
For Jews who hail from the Diaspora, we need to remember our commitment to Israel. As a people who look in from the outside, we understand the uniqueness of Israel, a nation-state for the Jewish people. We were not educated with a scorched-earth approach to our eternal homeland when politically things don’t turn out the way we want. The Jewish Diaspora has a responsibility during a time of internal turmoil in Israel to urge the left-wing not to “burn it down” and to stand on the right side of Jewish history.
Benjamin Sipzner is the director for international operations at Ad Kan. He was the Anglo coordinator for outreach and events for the Religious Zionist Party in Israel’s last two elections. Email him at: [email protected].
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