Imagine that we are in the year 2013, and the Left is in power.
The first thing it will do is pass the “Law for protecting IDF
officers and soldiers,” whereby the army would immediately evacuate any community whose residents abuse IDF soldiers.
When the Right would furiously claim that the law’s only purpose is to prompt settlement evacuation in Judea and Samaria, Leftist Knesset members will show puzzlement while playing dumb, saying that this is not a leftist law – after all, leftists who reside in settlements will also be evacuated should they dare abuse IDF troops.
Similarly, leftist coalition MKs will claim that they don’t understand why haredi MKs are upset over the “Advertising equality law,” which will forbid advertising agencies from censoring or modifying billboards just because they are posted in haredi neighborhoods.
“What does it have to do with you? The leftist MKs will say with amazement. “It’s a consumer law, and if it bothers you that a photo of Bar Rafaeli in a bikini is hanging in Mea Shearim just look the other way.”
We can continue with endless examples of this type, but the principle is clear. In a sane democracy, the coalition tends to restrain itself, because it knows that at some point the government will change, and the rules of play set by the current government will be directed against it.
This is a simple and efficient principle that had been adhered to until now in Israel.
The majority safeguards the rights of the minority exactly (exactly!) like it would want its own rights to be safeguarded had it been in the minority.
It is not noble ideas that prompt Knesset members to be cautious about the laws they legislate, but rather, a utilitarian doctrine: If you do to your colleagues what you don’t want to be done to you, ultimately your colleagues will do the same to you.
However, everything has now collapsed. In the past two weeks, the Knesset legislated a series of neo-fascist laws, with coalition Knesset members showing arrogance and disgust towards the other side of the political spectrum. The fact that the Left raised a hue and cry and fiercely objected did not bother them too much. In fact, it even proved useful to them among their voters.
What they failed to understand is that while the Left was screaming, it also watched them closely; it watched them, and learned.