Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni said in weekend interviews that Israel faces three existential problems: One on the diplomatic-security front, another on the socioeconomic front, and yet another on the religious-cultural front. Ms. Livni is both right and wrong. The three issues are in fact three sides of one problem: What will Israel look like in the future and who will be shaping its national character?
The writing is on the wall. I can direct you to reports, forecasts and warnings issued by all relevant professional bodies: Bank of Israel, Central Bureau of Statistics, research institutions and academia. However, my secular brethren, you will not be reading the material. After all, you’re completely preoccupied with yourselves. Meanwhile, your country is being hijacked and replaced by something that will very soon look and behave like Lebanon during the civil war.
The country is being taken over, by using ideology and demography and thanks to our general indifference, by a camp comprising three population groups: Haredi Orthodoxy, religious nationalism and rightist-religious traditionalism. This religious, fundamentalist camp shares similar ideology, shows contempt for democracy and individual rights, discriminates against women, hates seculars (known as “wicked” in Jewish Law) and despises anyone who isn’t Jewish.
According to all available data, including Central Bureau of Statistic’ polls, this camp already comprises some 25% of Israel’s adult population (citizens aged 20 and above.) This group’s natural growth rate is the highest in the Western world and its population doubles itself every 25 years. Almost 50% of Jewish children and youths in Israel today belong to this Ortho-Fascist camp and are being educated at its institutions and in line with its spirit.
The phrase “Ortho-Fascist” is not a derogatory term, but rather, a factual description of this camp’s views: A combination of a radical-religious worldview and a religious-fascist worldview that sees Israel itself as an apparatus of special holiness. This is the place where, according to the camp’s leader, Rabbi Kook, God’s seat touches the world.
Small window of opportunity
If data regarding the current situation shock you, take a look at the future: Between 2030 and 2040, Zionism and democracy will be a demographic minority. Most Israeli citizens will be non-Zionist, non-democratic, or both. At this time, 30% of students at Jewish educational institutions are haredi, while adult haredim constitute only some 9% of the Jewish adult population. The facts are already taking shape on the ground.
You want a nightmare exercise? Think about what such state would look like and how it would function. Think about the kind of laws it will pass, what our public sphere would look like, what will the education system teach its students, how will individual rights be safeguarded, and who will carry others on their back forever. Wouldn’t you, secular brethren, love to live and fight for such state?
We still have a small window of opportunity. We can still avert the horror, yet we must embark on the struggle now, quickly, and in force. Forget about the existing parties; all of them are preoccupied with things they cannot change while neglecting the most important thing: The state’s future shape. Quickly establish a party similar to the late Shinui and position the wickedest sage you can find at the top.
As opposed to what you did with Shinui, give this party a chance, offer your backing, and grant it confidence even when it errs. After all, you did not give Shinui even one day of mercy. I know, because I was there. You disparaged success stories and were suspicious of the achievements. The only ones who addressed Shinui seriously were the haredim, and they had a very good reason for that.
Start fighting, seculars, at once. Otherwise, you are certain to lose your country. Start fighting because the only alternative is a foreign passport, a plane ticket, and the hope that you will recognize the right moment to leave.
Roni Brizon is a former Shinui Knesset member