In the final moments of the vote on the Boycott Law, when it was clear that my opposition colleagues and myself are again about to be defeated, my thoughts wandered to the founders of this state. These well-known and unknown heroes who left their countries of birth, left families behind, and moved to the Land of Israel in order to build one of the 20th Century’s most ambitious projects.
What would they be thinking had they faced the new masters of their enterprise? What would they say about the Boycott Law and all sorts of other clerical and nationalistic laws passed here in the past two years, after the country fell into the hands of the “new patriots,” who have been operating in the name of the Torah, receiving orders from the rabbis, and tirelessly working for the sake of the settlements only?
I’m certain that this sight would prompt many of these founders to return to where they’re currently lying. If this is the new Israel, they would say, we don’t want to be a party to its actions.
Since the Six-Day War, the Israeli project has been subjugated, in spirit and in resources, to building and enriching the Land of Israel located beyond the border line accepted by the international community. The Six-Day War is not over yet. It sent cancerous cells into society and changed its face. In one fit of unconsciousness, the State turned east and was wholly swept, with its heart and money, in favor of rehabilitating the land of our forefathers.
This is how the south and the Negev fell. This is how the Galilee was forgotten. This is how peripheral communities deteriorated and poor neighborhoods sank. This is how Arab communities were neglected – because the heads of state at the time, nationalistic members of the Mapai party, gave their whole for Hebron, Bethlehem and Jericho, returning to the land of the Bible.
Since 1967, the territories and settlements became the State of Israel’s new identity. The agenda of building an Israeli society that is a member of the international community gave way to the shaping of the settlement map, at a huge investment.
Anyone who attempted to question the legality or legitimacy of these settlements was dubbed a leftist, a delusional figure, and one who undermines the State of Israel’s existential interests.
The foolish law that was passed by a large majority the other day was meant to protect the settlers only. It has nothing to do with Israel. The law binds Israel and the settlements into one piece, but it is no more than a deception meant to portray Israel and the settlements as one entity. That is, those who harm the wellbeing of the settlement enterprise also harm the state’s wellbeing.
This is the Right’s greatest success ever since that war. While late Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and his colleagues saw the territories as bargaining chips for peace, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Koo, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, Rabbi Dov Lior and fighters of the Halacha reconnaissance unit at the Knesset embarked on a alarming journey meant to make the Land of Israel rule over the State of Israel. They are already openly talking about it, with their heads held high.
The Boycott Law, beyond its legal issues, the High Court, and the harm to freedom of opinion is yet another link in the chain of nationalistic-messianic laws with one objective: Ruining any chance for peace!
Knesset Member Daniel Ben Simon, Labor Party
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