It's a sad holiday. The feeling of insecurity is tangible. The government seems lost. There have been terror attacks, and as long as the conflict goes on there will be more.
A central aim of Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad is to plan and carry out the killing and murder of Israelis. The big question is not what they want, but how strong our society is and how wise the government is in dealing with this organized hatred. Simply put: what is the government doing to prevent or reduce these threats to Israel? What are the measures of wisdom, determination, and initiative it applies?
My answer is a sad one. For example, what did the "Minister of National Security" do? Shortly after Shabbat was out, energetic as usual, he turned to his area of expertise, his Twitter account. Did he tweet condolences to the family of the Italian tourist who was murdered Friday night? Definitely not. There was no word about the attack. Was there an update, situation assessment, or plan of action? Of course not.
Itamar Ben-Gvir felt a compelling urgency to explain how immediately necessary his "National Guard" was, and of course to accuse his political opponents of being responsible for the situation. "Any attempt to thwart or delay its establishment due to political considerations, or through legal excuses of any kind, is a dangerous act," he said in a post.
What does Ben-Gvir's twisted idea of a kind of militia have to do with the terrible murder of sisters Maya and Rina Dee Z"L in the Jordan Valley? What would his National Guard do in the face of Yousef Abu Jaber's car speeding down the promenade in Tel Aviv?
A day or so earlier, Ben-Gvir posted on Facebook after the attack in the Jordan Valley. He implied a threat to resign from the government, at the same time making it clear that he would not resign, and quickly turned to incitement against the Netanyahu government’s opponents: "...they continue to do harm. The messages they worked hard on conveying to the entire world, by encouraging military insubordination, by harming the economy, by sending messages that the IDF is collapsing, that the Israeli economy is in crisis, that Israeli society is crumbling, and that the existence of the State of Israel itself is in question, are undoubtedly an encouragement to our enemies to open a military conflict. These careless, irresponsible..."
It reminded me of similar Ben-Gvir quotes from the "Israel is Bleeding" rally held by the opposition - Likud and Ben-Gvir - in April 2022. A year has passed. Since they came to power, the rate of people murdered in terrorist attacks in Israel has doubled, compared to 2022 under the Bennet-Lapid government.
He is incompetent, a convicted felon with zero real achievements in management or accomplishments. Expectations are low anyway. The problem was and remains those who enabled his legitimacy and are now silent in the face of the downfall he represents. Politicians, public figures, commentators; those who enthusiastically normalized him. Now, from a ministerial position, the man is doing what he knows best: tweeting, posting on Facebook, provoking, and inciting.
The Middle East is following Israel, feeling the turmoil it has been thrown into by a terrible folly. The "judicial reform" tried to eliminate the most sacred foundation of Israeli reality - the formula of a "Jewish and democratic" state. The cracks underlying our society were brutally exposed, relations with the US have deteriorated, and the economy has been damaged. A well-known Arab journalist spoke to me after the barrages fired from Lebanon. "Netanyahu cannot afford to react harshly." he said, "Everyone sees what's happening in Israel." I got angry: I told him that they shouldn't mistake the Israelis, their rallies, and their determination. I'm not sure he was impressed.
A real Minister of Police would ask himself, and the commander of the Jerusalem district, what happened the night of the raid at the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. To what extent were these images, the video footage that agitated the Arab world and the international community avoidable, under security considerations? Such a Police Minister would investigate the incident thoroughly. He would have been shocked by the actions of the Jewish extreme right, which two weeks ago posted ads in Arabic all over the Old City of Jerusalem, offering Arab residents the opportunity to hide goats in their homes - for a fee - so that Jews could sacrifice them on Temple Mount on Passover. You understand: they posted them in Arabic. These are people who will not rest until everything bursts into flames.
In any case, Israel does not have a Police Minister, but a tweeter; Its Defense Minister was fired and awaits amnesty; its Military General Staff was scolded by Netanyahu - for the fact that the IDF "went on strike." It has an inexperienced cabinet and of course, a sword hanging over its population and its economy in a "reform" imagined by constitutional geniuses Rotman and Levin.
If the prime minister wanted to act forcefully, he would "enter the event". That event is destroying the State of Israel. He would have immediately announced the cancellation of Gallant's dismissal, the suspension of the judicial overhaul, and announced support for the establishment of a national unity government. Bibi would have found a way to strengthen the moderates in the Arab world, with whom he had signed the historic Abraham Accords, forbidding his ministers from inflaming the situation internally or in the region, and reassuring the White House while making it clear that Israel was deeply rooted in the democratic West.
All of this would have been a cause of great displeasure to Bezalel Smotrich, Orit Stroock, and the Twitter account that claims to be the National Security Minister. At the same time, Netanyahu would have strengthened the Likud, bolstered Israel's strength in the region and prepared it for great challenges from the East that are yet to come.
Sounds extremely unlikely? Definitely. But the Midrash teaches us that Pesach is the time for miracles.