A Chanukah revolution for modern Israel?

Tuvia Brodie,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is http://tuviainil.blogspot.com He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

Today has been Day 2 of the 8 days of Chanukah, 5776 (2015). Chanukah is the story of Jewish revolution against anti-Jewish oppression. The original story defines the ‘revolt’ and ‘Jewishness’ issue of its time. Are we now about to witness a new revolution in Israel over ‘Jewishness’?

According to a recent TV news report in Israel, Israel’s government will re-visit the issue of ‘settlements’ in Judea-Samaria. This time, Israel won’t be talking about a ‘settlement’ freeze or some kind of ‘settlement give-away’. This time, Israel is going in the opposite direction.

According to Israel’s channel 2, Israel’s Foreign Ministry will fight for the ‘Jewishness’ of Judea-Samaria. It’s going to argue that settlements in Judea-Samaria are legal, not illegal, as the UN and EU say, nor ‘illegitimate’, as the US says (Ruthie Blum, “Israel Draws Up Document Justifying Legality of Settlements, Property Claims to West Bank”, algemeiner, December 3, 2015).

This effort, if channel 2 is correct, represents a major change for Israel. So far, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been cautious about a 2012 study called, the Levy Report. That Report, named after its leading investigator, former Israel Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, had concluded that, contrary to hate-Israel-industry claims, Jewish settlement in Judea-Samaria was in fact legal.

In 2012, reaction in Israel to the Levy Report was predictable: the Right hailed it; the Left condemned it; the so-called Center found it irrelevant for diplomatic discussions (Lahav Harkov, “PM to decide on Levy report with settlement c'tee”, Jerusalem Post, September 7, 2012).

Netanyahu, ever careful, praised the committee. He did nothing about the Report.

The then-Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was equally cautious. He liked the Report. But his ‘endorsement’ seemed lukewarm at best (ibid).

Now, Israel’s Foreign Ministry will change course. It will formally promote the conclusions of the Levy Report. It will translate the Report into multiple languages. It will distribute those translations world-wide through its embassies (algemeiner, above).

In addition, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely will spearhead a legal effort. She’ll seek international legal consensus that the Report’s conclusions—that the ‘settlements’ are legal—clearly conform to international law (ibid).

This effort could become Israel’s most explosive diplomatic gamble ever. It’s a gamble because the moment Israel declares it will promote the Levy Report , the world’s hate-Israel industry will attack. Israel will be vilified. It may even be criminalized.

Most every politician in Israel knows what that vilification will look like because they’ve already seen it in Israel. Leftist Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On has said that the Levy committee was formed only to ‘justify the vermin of illegal outposts’ (Jerusalem Post, above). Attorney Michael Sfard of the Leftist Yesh Din NGO has said that this Report was ‘born in sin’ and wasn’t a legal document (ibid).  

The UN could act against Israel. The EU certainly will. US President Hussein Obama could use this effort as an excuse to stop protecting Israel at the UN.

The only way Israel can fight such reactions successfully is to have a political leadership that’s unequivocally united. For this gamble to work, the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister must absolutely be on the same page.

They are on the same page. They stand as one man-one-heart because of a crucial decision Netanyahu made after the March 2015 election.

In March 2015, the newly-re-elected Netanyahu appointed a new Foreign Minister. Today, the FM and the PM act with one voice.  

Because of this unity, the normally contentious Israeli political ‘me-first-you-stupid’ public behaviour will not rear its ugly head. The current FM-PM arrangement simply won’t allow it.

Do you know why? Well, do you remember who Netanyahu appointed to be his new Foreign Minister? You might recognize the name.

The name of Israel’s current Foreign Minister is Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu kept the Foreign Minister Portfolio for himself. Therefore, the reason the FM and PM can stand as one-man-one-heart is because they are one-man-one-heart.

That could be the secret to success for this effort. Certainly, if channel 2 is correct, the decision to argue that ‘settlements’ are legal is a water-shed moment for Israel. It will change everything because Israel will, for the first time in a long time, grab the 2,000-pound mad bull by the horns: it will directly attack the core value of the world’s hate-Israel-industry by attempting to delegitimize that industry’s ‘settlement-is-illegal-occupation’ mantra.

Hate-Israel has suckled at the bosom of ‘settlement-is-illegal-occupation’ for decades. In the past, Israel has responded to this ‘hate-mantra’ by bowing before the hate instead of opposing it. It has accepted with little comment whatever its enemies have declared.

That will now change. Israel is going to stand up and shout, ‘this entire land is Jewish!’.

This isn’t just change. It’s revolutionary change. It will turn Israel’s ‘if-I-bow-will-you-love-me’ world-view onto its head.

Is this the beginning of a new Chanukah Jewish revolution?

Stay tuned.