They're scared. The best test of truth is the ability of a thought to be endorsed in the free competition of opinions and ideas, Justice Barak ruled in the past. Yet the current government does not wish to be put to this test, and it therefore tries to curb the funding sources of human rights groups, in a bid to silence them.
They are scared. For almost 60 years now, we have been accompanied by the "voice of the people" verdict of Justice Agranat, which ruled that freedom of expression can only be curbed in case of a certain, imminent threat to national security. Yet the new judge selection bills do not even make pretenses of meeting this criterion.
The government is concerned with its own survival, not with national security. It therefore plunders the legislative powers available to it in order to silence others. The government also distorts the image of civil rights groups. This is how all tyrants operate. They always argue that their foes receive funds from foreign countries and groups and hint that these human rights groups are enemies or traitors, in order to smear them.
The government is scared of the truth. It knows that it doesn't have the upper hand in the argument. It's scared of those who are in favor of equality and the prevention of prejudice. It's scared of those in favor of freedom of religion. It's scared of anyone who tries to resist tyranny and tries to counter the attempt to turn Israel into a type of dark regime.
The new bills mark a new record of hypocrisy. After all, ever since its inception Israel has raised funds from other states and world Jews for various purposes. Indeed, this government curries favor with foreign investors so that they pour their money here.
Bothered by free voicesThe scent of foreign money never bothered the government when it traded with oppressive regimes in South Africa or South America. This foreign money was not an issue while trading with military gangs. Foreign money does not stop ministers from being hosted at the expense of foreign millionaires and working for them in exchange for millions after failing in the elections.
It is not foreign money that bothers this government. Indeed, it is bothered by free voices that do not hinge on government funding and do not comply with government dictates. The rolling thunder of silencing did not start with the latest bills. This sly government realized that the best move is to get its hands on the money.
Hence, the government is trying to take over the national television channel and aims to turn the slander law into a scary whip. Everything is done under the pretext of lofty interests, but the truth is that these interests seek to turn everyone into marionettes that dance in line with the government flute.
All of it is part of the same package deal. Nobody can feign innocence in the face of this murky wave, and whoever voted in favor of these bills made his or her negative contribution to it.
Playwright Hanoch Levin wrote that the foot was meant for walking and the mouth for singing, rather than for kicking and for being kicked, respectively. Yet for this government the foot was meant to trample over human rights and the mouth was meant to be silenced, should it fail to recite what it's told.