We are fortunate that former Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s term was short-lived and that we escaped the type of damage he could have done to the State of Israel if he had his way.
Lapid filled in for a few months after Naftali Bennett’s experimental disaster of leadership became undone. His government fell apart because members of his own party withdrew in an effort to force the country to go to new elections for the fourth time in under two years.
The people of Israel came out in force for this last election in November 2022, and the majority expressed the desire for a right-wing leadership government which meant restoring Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister once again.
The real issue here is not about personalities or even the high level of hostilities between Bibi and Lapid, Bibi and Benny Gantz, Bibi and Gidon Sa’ar, Bibi and Avigdor Liberman, or Bibi and anyone who nudges their head left.
Today’s well-publicized crisis in Israel is not significantly different than the vicious struggle between left and right here in the U.S. And the left in Israel, led by Lapid, seems pleased to humiliate Jews and Israel and bring down the wrath of the world upon Jews wherever they may be found on the globe. The objective is his and his cohorts’ vision of a future Israel, the type of a country a so-called Jewish state should be, and, of course, as usual, the unbridled passion to bring down the government and be restored to power.
As you may have read or heard, the conflict in Israel today is about reworking the fashion in which the judiciary system functions.
Here in the U.S. the composition of the court can shift as justices age, pass away, or retire, and their replacements are then selected by the sitting president and confirmed by the Senate after exhaustive hearing. The result here is that the way it turned out, Donald Trump selected three justices and the court now has a 6–3 Conservative majority, to the great chagrin of the left.
In Israel, a committee of old-school leftists is in charge of appointing justices on their Supreme Court, which results in the court consistently issuing rulings antithetical to what it should mean to be a Jewish state. The current government wants to see a newly constituted judiciary committee of nine members who choose justices. If the proposal goes to a Knesset vote the new committee will have to include five of the full committee’s nine members who are MKs. The left is fighting this with all their might.
The government stipulation is that the Knesset should have the ability to pass laws that are not subjected to being overruled by the Supreme Court. This would prohibit the court from involvement in the selection of governing coalition officials. This would remove them from the process of the ruling they made after Shas MK Aryeh Deri was appointed interior minister. The court said that because of his past criminal record, he is not qualified to serve as a minister in the government.
The same court tried to rule that since Bibi Netanyahu was under criminal investigation, he would be ineligible to serve as prime minister. That obviously did not work out the way a majority of justices had intended.
But there is more about the agenda of the left that diminishes what should be a Jewish state. The greatest defeat for Lapid and company is the strength of the religious parties in the new Knesset.
It can be said that a major part of the divide is: what components make a Jewish State Jewish? For most of us on this side of the divide that would likely include Shabbos and kashrus observance in national and some public venues at the fundamental level.
When Naftali Bennett was prime minister and Lapid and Gantz were his governing partners, even though Bennett had a kippah glued to the back of his head and even though he insisted he was observant, the goal of his government was to water down both Shabbos and kashrus.
One of the key but often unstated issues about why the left so desperately wants to maintain control of the Supreme Court and not surrender or concede control to elected officials is about the ability to draft yeshiva students into the military. On one level, as long as those committed to Torah study in Israel are treated differently than other Israeli youth, that is a concession to the importance or perhaps even the supremacy of the role Torah plays in a Jewish state.
In fact, early on while this current government was being formed, Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism said that it was his position that those who serve in the IDF are on par in terms of defending the country as those sitting in yeshiva and studying Torah. That comment was not received well by the leftists, chief amongst them Yair Lapid.
A Jewish State has to possess a characteristic unlike any other country in the world. It’s nice to call a country that has a large majority of Jewish people a Jewish State, but what other than the birth of those people is Jewish about the place? Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was once an MK himself, used to say about the left in Israel that they wanted to “turn the country into a Hebrew-speaking Portugal.” That is very much the truth today, too.
Then there is the matter of the left resorting to threats and anarchy. Last week, hundreds of protesters gathered outside a salon in Tel Aviv where Sara Netanyahu was having her hair done. Her life was in danger and Israel had to rework her security detail and that of her sons following that event. The left in Israel as well as here in U.S. cross all red lines and are crazed beyond reason.
Lapid and his gang are demanding that the legislative process moving in the direction of judicial reform be halted and that the coalition enter negotiations with the opposition under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog.
Herzog said last week that there are talks going on behind the scenes and that an agreement is reachable if the sides just turn down the animus-filled rhetoric.
A glaring issue, though, is the hypocrisy that emanates from the left. What were the negotiations and compromise when it came to the Oslo Accords in 1993 that was designed to give away 90% of Judea and Samaria and divide Jerusalem? What were the talks and compromise when 9,000 Jews were physically extricated from their homes in Gush Katif in 2005? In case you are wondering, there were none.
Haim Ramon of the Labor Party was in the Knesset from 1983 to 2009. Among other positions, he also served as justice minister in one of the governments he was a part of. When the right complained to him and asked him to negotiate and compromise, his response to them was, “We have the votes, we have the majority, and we will crush you.”
Today the left is singing a different tune. Hopefully, the right and the Netanyahu government will have the courage and fortitude to do what’s right for the Jewish state.
Larry Gordon is editor in chief of the Five Towns Jewish Times.