For those of you who have been in a self-induced political comatose state for the past few months, I understand your predicament and psychological need to disconnect. It hasn’t been easy for many in Israel since the Lapid-Bennett coalition took control of the government. To fully grasp the crisis of trust and sense of betrayal that we in Israel are experiencing, it is imperative that we understand the radical ideas that are taking root in complete denial of the founding principles of the State of Israel.
Ancient customs, religious norms, democratic principles, fair play (evenhandedness, impartiality), and justice in its broadest sense have all lost meaning due to the daily melodramas being played out. An accelerated process is being implemented diminishing the sovereign power of regular Israeli citizens who voted in the last elections, leaving them feeling powerless opposite a political leadership they did not vote for; moving ahead with a radical agenda that our founders never envisioned, nor did the Israeli public when they voted in the last elections.
The Lapid-Bennett government has adopted a progressive political platform similar to what’s transpiring in the United States. In America where progressive forces have united in adopting “Critical Race Theory” and using the false and deceptive accusation of “white privilege” to rip apart the very fabric of American society by rejecting the historical narrative were the United States of America was perceived by the world as one of the few successful multiracial and multiethnic democracies throughout history. In Israel, the Lapid-Bennett coalition has embarked on a similar progressive agenda albeit with an Israeli twist. So what do they have in store for the people of Israel?
During the latter part of the 19th century, Jewish leaders harnessed the long collective memory of the Jewish people to create a movement for returning Jews throughout the world to their ancient Jewish homeland. For 2,000 years, Jews have prayed to return to the land of Israel. Over the past 150 years, Jews have made that ancient yearning a reality. “After being forcibly exiled from their land, the Jewish people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion,” proclaims the Israeli Declaration of Independence.
Despite this being an accepted historical national narrative overwhelmingly representing the large majority of the people of Israel, our current and newly elected governing coalition has decided to throw this historical and accurate narrative out the window. Instead we find ourselves facing a coalition of many small political parties who are all dependent for the survival of the governing coalition on Ra’am, a small Muslim party associated with the Muslim Brotherhood; a global organization that has been linked to Islamic terror and bloody conflicts throughout the Middle East over the past century.
The Arab Israeli party Ra’am has done its homework well and has been an astute observer of the current Israeli political scene. Their major observation about the progressive parties in the governing coalition has been that when Lapid and Bennett encounter their counterparts among the nations of the world, they react out of a psychological state of inferiority and a subjective feeling that the Western nations of the world are superior to a “primitive”, “tribal” and outdated national Jewish identity of exceptionalism and distinctiveness.
Instead of “white privilege”, they have adapted the local equivalent of “Jewish privilege” and have willingly expressed their progressive rejection of this. Lapid and Bennett long to be accepted as part of the international community, having no response to the toxic and false accusations of “genocide”, “ethnic cleansing”, and “apartheid”. Rather than deal with the normalization of anti-Semitism at unprecedented levels unseen in recent history all in the name of anti-Zionism, the Lapid-Bennett team have simply blamed Israel’s previous government and have begun to accept Palestinian Arab demands alongside Ra’am’s coalition demands, something that all previous Israeli governments rejected outright. No “Jewish privilege” and no accusations of anti-Semitism against Jew haters will hinder this coalition's acceptance among the progressive forces of the world
Ra’am, the Israeli Islamic party that holds the balance of the governing coalitions political survival understands that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not all those issues that we have been told to believe; it’s not about the so-called military occupation of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), it’s not about East Jerusalem, and it’s not even about the “settlements”. Ra’am understands that the Palestinian Arab demand to settle inside the sovereign territory of the State of Israel, what is known as ‘The Right of Return’ or what is pejoratively known as “family reunification” is what it’s all about and they have conditioned this demand for their continuing support of the governing coalition.
This past week we witnessed the beginning of an incremental process of the “the right of return” with thousands of Palestinian Arabs, the majority from the Gaza Strip and the remaining living in Judea and Samaria being given status of residents. For the Palestinian Arabs, “the right of return” is not only about getting residency status or even citizenship, but rather it’s about reversing prior events and “undoing” the establishment of the State of Israel, and it seems as if this is only just the beginning.
To bring home the point of the coalition's abandonment of Israel as the Jewish national homeland, the head of the Shas haredi Sephardic party emphasized that point when he spoke this past week at the Knesset. Rabbi Aryeh Deri sharply criticized Bennett after he stated publicly that the political power of the haredim should be limited. "Come and tell the million people who together received 16 [Knesset] seats in the election campaign that their power should be limited - who are you anyway and in whose name are you talking? You're a clown”. The former interior minister continued: "The person who made this statement is not a prime minister whom the people supported and expressed confidence in. It came from a man who formed a government through theft, fraud and deception."
Lapid's leadership will gladly and willingly modify or gloss over or even erase Jewish identity altogether to promote a progressive political agenda. The last time a similar leftist progressive political leadership was at the wheel in Israel, we got the Oslo Accords with tens of thousands killed and wounded by Palestinian suicide bombers terrorizing the streets of Israel for a number of years.
With the Hamas terror organization priming themselves to attack Israel, and Hezbollah doing the same on a much larger scale in Lebanon, and with Iran orchestrating the timing of when to employ their proxy forces, it seems as if Lapid’s and Bennett’s progressive credentials will do little to deter these terror organizations from unleashing their missile terror on Israel.
Ron Jager grew up in the South Bronx of New York City, making Aliyah in 1980. Served for 25 years in the IDF as a Mental Health Field Officer in operational units. Prior to retiring was Commander of the Central Psychiatric Clinic for Reserve Solders at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring has been involved in strategic consultancy to NGO's and communities in the Gaza Envelope on resiliency projects to assist first responders and communities. Ron has written numerous articles for outlets in Israel and abroad focusing on Israel and the Jewish world. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org