Photo: Tomeriko
Eldad Yaniv
Photo: Tomeriko

Left fighting for Israel

National leftists cry for their beloved Israel, want to lead change

In a recent article, Assaf Wohl lamented the latest leftist rally in Jerusalem and the slogan "Zionists don't settle." He went on to slam the hatred against the settlers, the Left that supposedly forgot what it means to be Zionist, and the leftists who supposedly "forgot what it means to be leftist."


Wohl is not the first to ask why we spread hatred against the settlers in the protest. Why can't we be more accepting? Why are we about marginalizing? What does "Zionists don't settle" supposed to mean? The settlers are our brothers, after all. What, this is how leftists talk?


So I'm here to tell Wohl what I already told many others – we don't hate. We cry. We're crying for our beloved Israel.


The day of the protest also marked 62 years to the state's declaration of independence. A year after it was declared, and after the 6,000 fatalities of the War of Independence were buried, when Prime Minister Ben-Gurion was asked why he stopped the IDF from taking over the entire area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean, he replied:


"The IDF could have conquered the entire area between the River and Sea. But what kind of state would we have, assuming that we hold elections and that Dir Yassin is not our policy? We would have a Knesset with an Arab majority. Choosing between the wholeness of the land or a Jewish State, we chose the Jewish State."


However, our parents' generation did not listen to Ben-Gurion. This generation conquered the entire area between the River and Sea, and stayed there. Ever since 2008, we've seen the emergence of a Palestinian majority between the River and Sea. And because we do hold elections yet don't want an Arab Knesset majority, Dir Yassin became our policy.


Between the River and Sea, Jewish settlers burn mosques and agricultural fields, while uprooting olive trees. And those who do not take part in the pogroms in practice nonetheless maintain their silence. Between the River and Sea, racist Jews refer to Israelis who were born here as "Ethiopians" and keep them out of schools just because they're black and we're white.


Meanwhile, between the River and Sea, piggish Jews earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, while nurses, police officers, teachers, and doctors can barely make ends meet.


So during our rally, we uttered our truth in the face of the settlers, racists, and pigs: Zionists don't settle, Zionists are not pigs, and Zionists are not racist.


We told leftist protestors that our generation can no longer dodge its duties. That we have to assume responsibility and return to Zionism: End the occupation, with an agreement or without one, with a partner or without one, and rebuild a model society here. We will not allow the wonder established here by our grandmothers and grandfathers to drown in the sea.


Criticizing the Left

We also leveled criticism at our own leftist camp; a large camp that shrunk over the years. The leftist camp which had become confused and embarrassed, and which in recent years escaped to the hollow and false centrist womb. A great camp that was raised and educated to love the land and love humanity, humanistic Zionism, equality, patriotism, and justice. A Left that endorses both Judaism and democracy.


We urged our leftist camp to wake up and raise its head, to again hold up the Israeli flag in its left hand and assume responsibility for Israel, so that it will wake up and turn left, and then keep walking straight.


Our Land of Israel between the River and Sea, which we have a right for based on our title deed, the Bible, needs to be partitioned. The occupation needs to end. With an agreement or without one. We need to build a model society here.


This is what Ben-Gurion did one Friday afternoon on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard. He knew that a moment later, Arab armies will invade us and attempt to push us into the sea. That was a little scarier than the threat of Qassams. Yet Ben-Gurion and the rightist camp and religious Zionism at the time supported him and the notion of a small state, with our Jerusalem remaining out of it, because they were Zionist.


Zionism is first and foremost a Jewish home for the Jewish people, in a sovereign state with recognized borders. We shall defend our borders from within our borders.


In order for this to happen, the Left needs to go back to being Zionist – in order to be big and broad and just, in order to resettle in the hearts of Israelis, and in order to defeat the Right, which in recent years had become post-Zionistic; a rightist camp that wants one state – a capitalistic and piggish one – between the River and Sea.


The Left needs to put aside the nuances and shades within it, because the commonalities are greater than the differences, and embark on a journey through the cross-Israel path. It shall be a long and difficult journey, from door to door. A journey where we shall speak harshly if we need to and yell out crudely if there's no other choice; a journey where we won't blur anything, annoy people if we must, cry out our truth, and won't remain silent as our country changes.


However, in this journey we will also touch and reopen the hearts of Israelis to our truth. The leftist truth; the Zionist truth.


The Left must go back to being Israeli, because leftists have to be Israeli – because Zionists are leftists.


Eldad Yaniv co-wrote the National Left Manifest along with playwright Shmuel Hasfari


פרסום ראשון: 05.20.10, 11:00
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