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Prime Minister Netanyahu. Deepening the rift with the US Jewry
Photo: EPA
Ben-Dror Yemini
Israeli minocracy under Netanyahu
Op-ed: Our prime minister knows what’s good for Israel, but when he must choose between the national, democratic and Zionist interest and the Haredi and right-wing parties, he always—without fail—chooses the latter.
A lot of things can be said about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s kind of hard to say that he doesn’t know what’s good for Israel. He does. He says so himself. He was in favor of an equal share of the burden, but gave in. He was against the Regulation Law, but gave in. He is against building outside the settlement blocs, but he gave in. He was against Orthodox conversion monopoly, but gave in.

 

 

And that’s precisely the problem with our prime minister. Because when he has to choose between the national, democratic and Zionist interest and the Haredi and right-wing parties, he always—without fail—chooses the latter.

 

"With all due respect to the Jewish people, the arrangements concerning the Western Wall and conversions are determined in the Israeli democracy." That was one of the excuses for the two outrageous decisions that were made last week. What a great excuse, based on lies and deception. The decisions on these two issues were not made in some democratic procedure. It was just part of a long series of capitulations to the Haredi sector.

 

Netanyahu (center) with Haredi Ministers Aryeh Deri (L) and Yakov Litzman. A long series of capitulations to the ultra-Orthodox sector (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90) (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Netanyahu (center) with Haredi Ministers Aryeh Deri (L) and Yakov Litzman. A long series of capitulations to the ultra-Orthodox sector (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90)

 

That’s not democracy; It’s minocracy. Netanyahu knows that in a referendum or a free vote, there would be an absolute majority in the public—and in the Knesset—against giving the Haredim a monopoly over conversion issues or prayer spaces at the Western Wall. He knows that it’s capitulation. He knows that he is deepening the rift with Israel’s supporters in the United States. He knows that the conversion decision harms the majority of the US Jewry and hundreds of thousands of Israelis living here among us.

 

The US Jewry, with all its streams, is a component of the State of Israel’s power. There are disputes, but they are disputes between friends. The radical left is making an effort to turn these disputes into a rift. But the rift Netanyahu is working on is, admittedly, much bigger, and last week, he outdid himself.

 

Part of the right-wing press tried to create an ugly spin, claiming that Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, is actually a member of J Street and the New Israel Fund. He endorsed Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump. He is against Netanyahu, which is why he produced a crisis.

 

What nonsense. Even Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett and non-Orthodox rabbis oppose the two disgraceful decisions. Tzohar rabbis fought against restoring the Haredi sector’s monopoly over the conversion system. And even if they had a different opinion, so what? The US Jewry usually supports both Israel and liberal opinions. They are not the ones who created the dilemma. Netanyahu created it. It turns out, however, that some right-wing journalists are so obsessed with defending Netanyahu that they have gone mad. They prefer Netanyahu over the Zionist interest.

 


פרסום ראשון: 07.07.17, 23:45
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