The year 2011 may have been the year where Israel’s majority emerged from its longtime stupor, but maybe not so. At this time, the majority is stretching its loose muscles and feeling its arms and legs to ensure they’re all there, while trying to focus its gaze. This awakening is hesitant. The majority suddenly noticed, at a great delay, that it is being screwed.
Who’s doing the screwing? The Netanyahu coalition, which formulated a cynical deal with stubborn minorities and radical margins: Settlers of a certain ilk who took over key posts and state budgets, thereby preventing any chance of regional reconciliation. Haredim, not all of course, who milk the public coffers, live at the majority’s expense, and at the same time try to dictate a primitive lifestyle to it. A handful of corrupt functionaries and their associates, who were granted mafia-like protection by the government against the police and prosecution. And yes, several monopolies and sophisticated tycoons who exploited the situation for the sake of making inflated profits.
The euphoria of summer was followed by a despondent winter. The Israeli majority that hit the streets returned to the livingroom sofa exhausted and went back to the position of observer. I have no qualms whatsoever with people who work from morning till night to make a living and prefer to stare at an idiotic television rather than travel to a protest in Beit Shemesh. That’s the way it is.
The psychos known as “hilltop youth,” the primitive haredim who make a living through idleness, and the other bad weeds in our garden have all the time in the world – to torch mosques, punch IDF officers, vandalize journalists’ cars and spit at little girls. The Israeli majority is tired and must wake up early for yet another day of work.
On the other hand, there is no need to eulogize the Israeli majority. It sank into that old sofa and is staring at the same idiotic TV, yet it also realizes, at last, that it’s dissatisfied. Wholly dissatisfied. The picture is becoming clear: Going to work, paying taxes and hoping for the best isn’t enough.
Say no to civil warThe majority’s chances of growing old with dignity and its children’s chances of living in a free, prosperous country depend on the government’s quality, political culture, and our public administration. For the time being, the coalition of Netanyahu beneficiaries continues to deceive the majority with false promises, yet the majority already knows that it wants change, even if it doesn’t know how to make it happen.
The young people of the summer’s revolution have dissipated, yet the awakening in the face of the terror known as “women’s exclusion” shows that the fury and frustration have not disappeared. Yesterday it was the price of cottage cheese and rental fees. Today it’s terror against women. Tomorrow, God knows what will infuriate the awakening giant.
The great question of 2012 is how to turn this emerging force into energy that would facilitate fundamental, broad change. There are those who fantasize about a civil war that would restore the majority’s power and dignity violently. Every time the margins spit at us, this idea seems tempting. However, once the mind clears up, the answer is obvious: The Israeli tikkun must take place in the legitimate public sphere. Those who wish to change direction must utilize democratic means to do so.
This is the last call for good, worthy people, who can represent the aspirations and interests of Israel’s majority and who also have the ability to be elected and the skill to lead: Please jump in. Those who wish to live in a free, prosperous country – this is the moment. Those who want a fair central government of the majority instead of a corrupt coalition that exists at the mercy of radical, primitive margins – stand up.
The next year can be the year of the majority. There are many reasons for the despondency that has taken hold of us. Yet nonetheless, there is still hope that 2012, against all predictions, will be the year where Israel’s majority makes the move.
The original Hebrew article is available here