An Immoral, Democratic Decision

There are many reasons an unjust and immoral decision can pass in a democratic governmental body. They include disinformation, personal gain, threats, party politics and vested interests.

Rochel Sylvetsky,

Rochel Sylvetsky
Rochel Sylvetsky
]Yonatan Zindel Flash 90
Democracy is the best form of government that man has thought of so far.

However, democracy is a tool, it is not a supreme ethical value that supercedes all others. If an immoral or unjust decision is made democratically, that does not make its implementation just and moral. In fact, as has happened many times in history - to the everlasting credit of those who had individual courage - it is then the duty of those in decision-making positions who have leadership potential to work against the majority decision, albeit by lawful means. They thus ensure that democracy does not lead their country to moral bankruptcy and possible disaster.

There are many reasons an unjust and immoral decision can pass in a democratic governmental body. They include disinformation, personal gain, threats, party politics and vested interests. All these have played a part in the Israeli parliament's decision-making over the past few months; and all of them accompanied the period in which the Oslo Agreement was passed as well. Otherwise, the present "disengagement" plan, which will go down in history as immoral, unjust and above all, one of the follies of human government, would be roundly dismissed by the Knesset Judiciary Committee, the Knesset plenary and the Cabinet.

The idea to transfer Jewish residents from their homes is at once immoral and foolhardy. There is no rational explanation, beyond the factors noted above, for the fact that intelligent Knesset members with personal integrity have supported it. The public, however, has confused this population transfer with leaving the Gaza Strip, and those who have bred this confusion know full well that they are doing so.

The "powers that be" know that the army will not be able to leave the Gaza area without disastrous consequences, that the Hizbullah gained power in the terrorist world after we left them ensconced in Lebanon and that it is now masterminding the southern front. They know that we will still have responsibility for the Gaza Strip and that the word "disengagement" is irrelevant to the situation. But it is a good psychological choice vis-a-vis the Israeli public, which wants nothing more than to believe that the Gazan Arabs will disappear from their lives.

Israel's opinion molders and decision makers also know in their hearts that the warm words from Egypt's government are being given the lie by that same government's allowing tunnels to be built and explosives to be brought to where they can kill our soldiers. Egypt is not a weak, chaotic country, as was Lebanon, and it is obvious that President Hosni Mubarak could stop the tunnel-building if he so wished. Why should he, however, when he has before him the Israeli media and its public figures who are willing to accept words instead of actions, who learned nothing from the words of Oslo, who resemble a deprived child seeking love at any price?

Do the members of the present Knesset realize that they will have to face the judgment of the future, not just the immediate results of their actions today and in the coming months? How will Jewish history judge those who remove innocent families from the homes they love in a Jewish State, those who cause one Jew to do this despicable act to another, who weaken Israel's defense and use democracy as a defensive shield for all this? When the time comes for objective analysis, without threat of political retaliation, this period will go down as one of the proofs of democracy's failure to lead to wise decision-making, a posthumous chapter for Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly.

If I were a member of the Knesset, I would think hard about my place in the story my grandchildren will get to read and write papers about someday.


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