Far-right will drive Israelis to the streets en masse

Opinion: Incoming government is set to trample on the beliefs and values of the Jewish democratic state, and will discover that non-religious Zionists will not give in easily

Ari Shavit|
Widespread protests are imminent. Israelis will chose to take to the streets, there is no way around it.
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  • They are coming our way because Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Avi Maoz do not understand the meaning of the election results.
    4 View gallery
    בצלאל סמוטריץ' ואיתמר בן גביר
    בצלאל סמוטריץ' ואיתמר בן גביר
    Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich
    (Photo: Yair Sagi)
    Protests are coming our way because the far-right bloc thinks that it can use its mandates to do whatever it wants to the state and its people. Protests are coming our way because the devotees of democracy among us will not be willing to give up on a Jewish democratic state.
    The reckless manner in which this incoming government of the fanatics is being established, and the reckless manner in which it will act, leaves Israelis with no other option than to protest.
    Some right-wing leaders argue that the call for public demonstrations came too early, claiming that the government has not yet been formed and nothing has happened thus far.
    Seriously? We're dealing with a party of radical religious extremists, who have been bestowed authority over 18 Border Police battalions in the West Bank.
    On the other hand, we have a party of Temple Mount messianics with de facto control of the Civil Administration and coordination of activities in the Occupied Territories. If this isn't enough of reason for Israeli distraught, there is also a party of outright homophobes in charge of a significant portion of the over 800,000 students' extra curricula studies, in the education system.
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    מצעד הגאווה בירושלים
    מצעד הגאווה בירושלים
    The Pride Parade in Jerusalem; Avi Maoz and Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: AFP)
    The belief in good and effective governance has been shattered. Vital responsibilities, brutally uprooted from the IDF, from the defense and education ministries.
    Benjamin Netanyahu is being blackmailed and humiliated, while a gang of outcasts representing about one-tenth of the population, is taking over the country.
    Some right-wing leaders claim that such a protest would deteriorate to a revolution, and that those calling for them are guilty of rebellion. In their eyes, rebelling against the policies of a government that received a majority in the elections is forbidden.
    Really? Have you lost your minds as well as your memories?
    In 1973, most Israelis voted for parties that opposed the establishment of settlements in the West Bank, yet immediately thereafter the Jewish right-wing activist movement Gush Emunim took to the streets and organized countless demonstrations.
    In 1982, the Egypt–Israel peace treaty enjoyed support across the board - in the Knesset and amon the public. Still, prior to the return of the lands to Egypt, the right-wing bloc organized vehement protests against the Yamit evacuation
    In 1993, the Knesset had a clear majority in favor of the Oslo Accords, yet the right-wing bloc organized huge demonstrations against them.
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    2005 disengagement from Gaza
    2005 disengagement from Gaza
    2005 disengagement from Gaza
    (Photo: AFP)
    In 2005, the Israeli public showed overwhelming support the disengagement from Gaza, but the Yesha Council - made up of leaders of Jewish settlements in the West Bank - tirelessly fought against it.
    When the religious Zionism movement felt that its values were being trampled, it protested time and time again - despite being an undeniable minority. This has not changed to this day.
    Now, the tables have turned, and the non-religious Zionists - the undeniable majority - is the victim of political oppression. The emerging government will attempt to trample the sacred beliefs and values of Israel, but will discover that these Zionists will not give in easily.
    These demonstrators, however, must be wary of mirroring the protests outside the home of then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2020-2021.
    They must carry, not the black flags that were used in the demand of his ouster, but the blue and white flags of the nation held high.
    Instead of targeting the prime minister by name, demonstrators must call for Israelis to come forth and unite. The protests must convey an unprecedented call for the preservation of the country and for unity.
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    הדגלים השחורים
    הדגלים השחורים
    Protesters march in Jerusalem last year calling for the removal of Benjamin Netanyahu over his criminal trial
    (Photo: Shalev Shalom)
    To do this, three fundamental principles must be observed:
    1- The wave of protest must be widespread and open to all. The focus should be on Smotrich, Ben-Gvir, and Maoz - not Netanyahu. It must not contain anti-right wing or anti-Netanyahu slogans. On the contrary - the protests must embrace those who voted for the Likud. Only by bringing together all the moderate Jewish citizens of this country - secular, traditional, and national religious - will a powerful and unanimous message be possible.
    2- The protest wave must be in support of democracy. It must respect the fact that the people have spoken, and that the Likud - under Netanyahu's leadership - received more votes than any other political party. There is no room for violence or profanity, only peaceful dissent. Winds of change should be felt in the nation, and devotion to social justice, should run through the peoples' veins.
    3- The protest wave must be patriotic. It must reject outright extremists on the Left, and the anti-Israel lunatics. Even in difficult and dark days, the public's voice should reiterate Jewish and Israeli, values, standing up against the far right, it must reflect an alliance of citizens from all over the political spectrum. In the face of the nationalist fanaticism that desecrates the legacy of the Herzl's Zionism, the public must express Herzl's principles.
    This will not happen overnight, but it will come. This will be a widespread, robust, Zionist wave of protests - and it will win.
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