Likud MKs Fiddle While the Land Burns

The secular government in <I>Eretz Yisroel</I> has threatened the Jews of Gush Katif with expulsion, has just destroyed Mitzpeh Yitzhar, and is preparing to destroy other strategic outposts; Noam Federman is assumed guilty after being proven innocent, and the Prime Minister is openly re-wording his plan to convert the Jewish towns of Gush Katif to a Hamas stronghold. All this with the loyal suppor

Contact Editor
Aliza Karp,

The secular government in Eretz Yisroel has threatened the Jews of Gush Katif with expulsion, has just destroyed Mitzpeh Yitzhar, and is preparing to destroy other strategic outposts; Noam Federman is assumed guilty after being proven innocent, and the Prime Minister is openly re-wording his plan to convert the Jewish towns of Gush Katif to a Hamas stronghold. All this with the loyal support of the Likud party. How else could it happen?

The right-wing parties can threaten resignation, but it will not make a difference, because there are parties in the opposition who are more than willing to fill government vacancies. Even Mr. Yosef Lapid of the Shinui party has threatened to leave the government, or was he just passing gas? The only party that has the clout to make a difference is the Likud party.

What would happen if a substantial group of Likud Members of Knesset told the Prime Minister that they can no longer support him? And why hasn't it been done yet?

Minister Uzi Landau came out against the plan to evacuate Gush Katif, but from the onset he made it clear he still supports the Likud leadership, the Prime Minister and his senior ministerial puppets. In effect, Landau was saying, "I want to get to the East so I will drive West." Unless there is a serious threat to Ariel Sharon's position, as soon as one plan is thwarted another one will appear. If Landau is going to stop the country from slipping, he has to turn off the tap, not just mop the floor.

The body goes after the head. As long as Landau is connected to the Likud leadership, not only is Landau himself going in the same direction as they are, but he is giving them the power to continue. This applies to any and all active members of Likud.

The public has made its position clear. The decision of the referendum was unchallenged, no need for a recount. On Yom HaAtzmaut, the overflowing crowds from all over the country showing solidarity for Gush Katif ? an out of the way location at the end of a two lane highway ? far outnumbered the rally in support of withdrawal that was conveniently held in Tel Aviv. The public have spoken, what more can they do?

The balance of power is with the Members of Knesset from the Likud party. They are the ones who need a disengagement plan, a multilateral withdrawal from their leadership.

A friend of mine was host to a Likud MK the week before the referendum. The MK was complaining that the activists were not doing enough to make sure the referendum did not pass. When asked what she was doing to further this cause, she answered that she is part of the government and cannot go against the leaders of her party.

I do not know if she is representative of the typical Likud MK, but I do know she does not stand alone. What other explanation can there be for the acquiescence of the rank and file Likud MK to the Roadmap, the destruction of outposts and the Gush Katif expulsion plan? Another explanation would be that they care more about their seats in the Knesset than the homes of their constituents. Whatever the explanation, the prevailing mode is loyalty to oneself and to one's party over loyalty to one's nation.

The balance of power is with the Members of Knesset from the Likud party. They could have stopped the disgraceful demolition at Mitzpeh Yitzhar, for instance.

Yitzhar is an established village in the Shomron, not far from Shechem. There is no security fence around Yitzhar. Instead of a fence, Yitzhar has outposts surrounding it, one of which is Mitzpeh Yitzhar. A security fence is known to give one minute of extra security, between entry and apprehension. More advantageous are outposts, which are known to ward off terrorists, not just delay their infiltration. Furthermore, where there is a security fence around a town, the Arabs build their houses ? illegally, of course ? right up to the fence. By having outposts, the Arabs do not come right up to the towns; in fact, they stay clear of the outposts.

What's the big deal, you ask? Mitzpeh Yitzhar will be rebuilt. The whole scene is not evil, just stupid. Either way, evil or stupid, who can give their support to such a government?

The next time this Likud-led government will come up with a plan to weaken the country and reward terror, some people will be shocked, others will say it was inevitable. Some will say it is hopeless; if you squeeze the balloon here, it just expands over there. We saved Gush Katif for a few more months and now Mitzpeh Yitzhar has been targeted. We elected Sharon to eradicate terror and he is plotting to reward terror. There is no one else to turn to.

At least our basketball team is a winner.

Our sages tell us that if we will search, we will find. Obscured amongst the many news stories of tragedy and confusion, a small clip caught my eye and lightened my heart:

"National Union faction MKs Uri Ariel and Aryeh Eldad visited administrative prisoner Noam Federman."

I find this news encouraging because it shows unusual integrity. This act is politically incorrect. Showing support for Noam Federman carries the risk of associating with someone labeled as an extremist and a Kahanist. Obviously, Ariel and Eldad are willing to take the risk, willing to stand by their sense of justice, not only for the widespread practice of freedom of speech, which could have been done from a pulpit, but for the benefit of a solitary Jew, by visiting him in his prison cell. (Good leadership quality, as per Moses and the lamb.)

I had the privilege of meeting Professor Eldad shortly after Pesach. He was with a delegation from Gush Katif that had come to New York to raise funds for the massive campaign to overturn the referendum. As the contact person with the responsibility for the PR material needed to draw a crowd of 2,000 Chabad Chassidim to a giant rally, I was first introduced to Eldad through his extensive personal resume (CV). He is a well-published medical doctor and professor who heads a department in Hadassah, as well as a Brigadier General in the IDF. He does not need a seat in the Knesset to provide him with a Volvo. He is there because he has deep concern for his country, not just a particular constituency.

Recently, Professor Eldad proposed a bill in the Knesset entitled "Setting Israel's Borders and Applying Israeli Sovereignty Within Those Borders". On the day Mitzpeh Yitzar was taken down, he was on his way to the scene, but was stopped at a checkpoint.

At the rally in New York, Eldad conveyed a strong conviction regarding shlaimut haaretz, the entirety of the Holy Land. As the only MK in the group of guests, he could have made demands appropriate to his status. Instead, he was occupied with how he could help others.

After spending a week together on the trip, Moshe Saperstein emailed me: "As to Eldad, he is an extraordinary person. It was a privilege to be in his company. His CV runs for twenty-eight pages yet he is down-to-earth, a warm, kind human being. Best of all, for me, he has a sense of humor... I am a genuine admirer of his. And you can quote me."

I am not writing campaign material for the National Union party, but if you look at the list of parties in the Knesset according to the number of seats, you will see that if seats fall from the Likud, they will not go to Labor, nor to Shinui, nor to Shas. The party most likely to catch the pieces falling from the broken Likud is the National Union party. It should be checked out.

I am writing to shed some light on the fact that the current situation must be changed; i.e., the Likud government must fall. There is hope for the future. There are honorable politicians; this is not an oxymoron. How will things change for the better? "Sur mayrah v'asei tov." Turn away from evil and do good. Get rid of the bad and replace it with good.

How can we get rid of the bad?

The balance of power is in the hands of the Likud Members of Knesset. It is time to let them know that the nation depends on them. No more fiddling around. There is confusion in Aza and destruction in the Shomron. Energies should no longer be directed towards trying to change the leadership. Each Likud MK is important. Past experience proves that protests in front of the Prime Minister's home impress no one, least of all, the Prime Minister. Instead, choose an MK ? not a top cabinet minister ? and convince them they hold the potential. (You can mail them this article for starters.) One by one, they can choose to rise with Am Yisroel or fall with the Likud.

Each Likud member has to be shown their role in the history of the Jewish nation. And if they do not take the necessary initiative, then "salvation shall come from elsewhere."





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