Photo: Gil Yohanan
Hotovely. Dreams of territorial greatness and absolute justice
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Aviad Kleinberg

The Foreign Ministry? No, the Ministry of Divine Promises

Op-ed: As far as Tzipi Hotovely is concerned, her job as deputy foreign minister is to tell diplomats what her friends in the Yesha Council want to hear.

Immediately after hearing about Dore Gold's appointment as the Foreign Ministry's Director-General, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely tweeted: "I am happy about his appointment and welcome it." But instead of using the Hebrew word for "his appointment" – "minuyo," she mistakenly wrote "mino" (his gender).



There is something nice about this slip of the keyboard. Hotovely is happy about Gold's gender and welcomes it. Absolutely. The fact that he is a man shouldn't stop him from emptying her job out of content, and it won't.


But it won't stop Hotovely herself either, not just Gold and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The deputy minister is allegedly supposed to take an interest in foreign relations – in other words, in our relations with the world's nations. In fact, the only thing she is interested in is the domestic policy. Her job, as deputy foreign minister, is to tell diplomats what her friends in the Likud's Central Committee and the Yesha Council want to hear.


And Hotovely did say these things in her opening barrage at the Foreign Ministry: "It's time to tell the world that we are right and not just smart… We must go back to the basic truth of our right to this land. Our land. It's all ours. We didn't come here to apologize for that." In this case too, there was probably also a slip of the tongue: The word "just" is unnecessary. We are right and not smart, and to hell with what others think.


Tzipi Hotovely. If we have a Bible verse, we don't need a policy (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Tzipi Hotovely. If we have a Bible verse, we don't need a policy (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


It's not that Hotovely and her friends think they aren't smart. They are definitely smart in their own eyes (did they or did they not defeat "the left"?) When you know you're right, you don’t care what the rest of the world thinks. So enough with the wisecracking. We should, the deputy foreign minister believes, say thing as they are: The occupation will continue, the settlements will continue, there will not be two states, there will be no agreement with the Palestinians giving them any rights to a state. You don’t like it? That's your problem. You must internalize it. Because Israel, as we know, has no need for a foreign policy. It has a domestic policy and a public diplomacy policy.


It's true that no one in the world shares the outlook of the deputy foreign minister and her friends in the Yesha Council, but this outlook is right, at least in the eyes of Deputy Minister Hotovely, Foreign Ministry Director-General Gold and their friends. If needed, they will explain to the surprised gentiles our right to the entire land in the name of the divine promise.


Forget about security-related explanations, Hotovely suggested. The divine promise is the only explanation which convinces her and her friends. Doesn’t it convince anyone else? It could be difficult? We may have to pay the price of international isolation, because we will find it difficult to locate any supporters in the world? Never mind. Hotovely has an answer to that too. Didn't Balaam say in his prophecy: "Here is a people living alone; it doesn’t consider itself among the nations"? He did.


And if we have a Bible verse, we don't need a policy, we don’t need profit and loss considerations, we don't need to check how much it will cost us to preserve the national pride and the unconquerable urge to continue the occupation, to realize, at once, the vision of the end of time, with or without a messiah. In short, we don't have to be "smart," and we won't be.


It's not that principles are not important. They are. It's not that dreams of territorial greatness are necessarily indecent. It's good to dream. It's just that policy deals with, or is at least supposed to deal with, the possible – what can be fulfilled under the existing conditions. And with all due respect to the deputy minister's dreams of greatness and absolute justice, reality says that we have a problem – demographic, diplomatic, and even moral.


The Foreign Ministry's purpose is to be attentive to others' perceptions of reality and justice and to help the government reach feasible diplomatic solutions. But there is no Foreign Ministry anymore. There is a ministry for explaining the divine promise made to the people of Israel.


An old Chinese curse says, "May you live in interesting times." It's going to be interesting.


פרסום ראשון: 05.27.15, 23:55
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