Israel is undergoing many challenges since the new government was formed. These challenges have been internal and external. The terror has accelerated and on the international scene Israel’s internal Judicial reform initiatives have been met with criticism from around the world. Many of these challenges have been created by extreme left-wing Israelis who understand the international political landscape and are abusing it to take away legitimacy from this new government and its plans.
For Jews worldwide, those living in Israel and the diaspora who learned to support and defend Israel through any circumstance, there is an obligation to learn the facts and not let ourselves, our political leaders and our organizations be on the wrong side of history at such a crucial time for our nation and people.
After the Election
Immediately coming off the right’s election victory, Israel’s political left went on the offensive against the legitimacy of Netanyahu’s coalition (which was voted in through a democratic election). As time has passed their behavior has become more intolerable and is pushing our beloved state to the brink of civil war and international isolation.
Immediately after the elections former Prime Minister, and current Head of the Opposition, Yair Lapid called on new officers of the IDF at their graduation ceremony to question the new government and their orders to the Israeli army saying, “the call to use force without laws, without rules, without adhering to the model of a law-abiding army.” These calls weaken Israeli society and the IDF.
Additionally, on December 1st Lapid wrote an open letter to Israel’s municipalities which said that the parties set to form the next coalition government have “abandoned the education of our children and handed them over to the most extreme and darkest elements in Israeli society. I urge you not to cooperate with the unit for external programs and partnerships in the Ministry of Education.”
The Left’s Behavior
This was three months ago, and unfortunately things have gone downhill quickly. Since then, there have been calls by former prime ministers, mayors, and generals in the army for armed civil war against the right, thousands of death threats against ministers and members of parliament alongside violent protests against the State of Israel. Former prime ministers and senior ministers of Israel have besmirched the Is0raeli government on international media platforms and have called for a boycott of the state and the ruling coalition by foreign powers.
The protesters are politically aware of the new government’s and Israel’s standing on the world stage. Israel is an economic and democratic oasis in an Arab desert in the middle east. The activists understand that there are many in the developed world that are not so keen about Israel’s prominence and success and are looking to change the narrative on the Jewish State from being democratic and free, to being a fascist nondemocratic dictatorship. The protesters also know that there is nobody better to give them this narrative than themselves, Israelis. Of course, mainstream western world media won’t look into the claims or details and will run with the narrative that Israel’s new government is extreme right wing, anti-democratic, a dictatorship, and is committing armed genocide against Arabs. Of course, feeding this narrative is irresponsible, but those on the left who are giving the world media what they desire know what they are doing and are doing so regardless.
The protesters have interviewed and written op eds on leading media publications worldwide, have called on Israeli and international companies to withdraw or not initiate investments in Israel, they have called for Israelis to stop serving in the IDF and in Israel’s reservist army and have called for Israelis to abandon their home and move to Europe or the United States.
At their protests they display huge posters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alongside Putin, Hitler and Ayatollah Khamenei, as well as call Bibi a traitor. They have blocked roads illegally and vandalized property in Israel for months and Israel’s police have not acted with force to disperse these illegal road blockages like they did in the past with protesters from other social sects in Israeli society.
The protesters knew this would happen and they are looking for pictures of police dispersing them with force so that they can run to the world media and say that Israel is a fascist and oppressive state. Meanwhile Israel’s elitist and most privileged citizens are disturbing millions of Israelis daily movements.
Recently left-wing Israelis have even started protesting in front of embassies of foreign nations in Israel and Israeli expats have protested at central locations in cities of western countries. They are aware that the international mainstream media and left-wing governments will gladly be on their side in weakening Israel’s right wing. They ignore the fact the introduction and invitation of foreign intervention in Israeli politics will weaken Israel’s sovereignty and respect on the world stage for decades. Everything is “kosher” for left wing Israelis if it means holding onto their self-ordained power structure, which is the Israeli supreme court.
The Left-Wing Politicians
Knesset Members have been barricaded inside their homes by hundreds of left-wing activists in efforts to prevent them from leaving their homes to vote in Knesset. Additionally, a protester tried to get close to the head of the Judicial committee in Knesset, Simcha Rothman at his home to possibly harm him. A few weeks ago, a crowd of thousands gathered outside a hair salon in Tel Aviv, where Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, to not let her leave for over 4 hours and possibly harm her if not for the protection of Israeli police. Later that evening she was escorted home by hundreds of Israeli police officers.
On this past Thursday night Minister on the Economy, Nir Barkat attended a political event with the Likud party’s branch in Kfar Saba. The event was surrounded by hundreds of left wing protestors who broke the building’s windows and shouted and hurled objects at Barkat as he was escorted in and out of the event.
In the Knesset itself during a session of the Judicial and Law Committee led by Simcha Rothman two Knesset members from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party stormed jumped over the table and stormed shouting at Simcha Rothman, the committee head. The Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beytanu (led by MK Avigdor Lieberman) parties have threatened to withdraw from Israel’s Knesset in an attempt to signal to the rest of the world that Israel is no longer a democratic country worth serving in its parliament.
The Left’s “Compromise” on Judicial Reform
In this article I will not discuss the details of the proposed reform. There are many articles available for those who want to become educated about the history of Israel’s supreme court, it’s judicial activism and the proposed reforms. The proposal for a compromise which was laid out by President Herzog this past Wednesday night was not nearly a compromise from the very basic fact that every party in the opposition supported it, and every party in the coalition opposed it. A different kind of proposal could have been a life preserver to begin to pull us out of this terrible situation we are in.
Instead, Herzog who was leader of the left wing labor party before becoming president and a career left wing politician, chose to pander to his political colleagues and ignore the collation which was voted in democratically by the Israeli public. His proposal and the attitude of the left signal to the Israeli right wing that Israel’s democratic elections don’t have mean much, and that even if they are democratically elected, any significant policy they wish to enact must receive approval by the left-wing political elites.
The Diaspora’s Actions and Responsibility
Unfortunately, on their recent trip to Israel, the organizations of the Conference of Presidents didn’t request to meet with Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, or Head of the Committee of Law and Legislation, Simcha Rothman who are leading the reforms from Israel’s coalition government. They caved into the pressure by mainstream media and political correctness instead of becoming educated on the issues and taking a balanced approach. Furthermore, these organizations and others have already released two letters in just a few months to show their concern about the new government’s policies, something they didn’t even do once during the last year and a half of the last government (which included supporters of terror and BDS against Israel).
As Jews who live and hail from the diaspora, we need to remember our commitment to Israel. As people who look in from the outside we understand the uniqueness of Israel, a nation state for the Jewish people. We were not educated with a scorched earth approach to our eternal homeland when politically things don’t turn out the way we please.
The behavior by Israel’s left wing is incomprehensible and the Jewish world which is committed to safeguarding Israel and the Jewish people must consider those actions illegitimate and call them out in whatever way possible. Mainstream Jewish organizations need to choose the future of the Jewish state in the face of left-wing populism, regular people and simple Jews need to rise up and demand more from their community leaders, organizations and media platforms to take a more balanced approach on this issue.
The Jewish diaspora has a responsibility during a time of internal turmoil in Israel to urge the left wing not to “burn it down” and stand on the right side of Jewish history.
Benjamin Sipzner is an Advisor to the Minister of Aliyah and Integration and Director for International Operations at Ad Kan. He was the Anglo Outreach and Events Coordinator for the Religious Zionist Party in Israel’s last two elections. He is an Oleh from New York and completed his service as a lone soldier in the Nachal Brigade of the IDF. He can be found on Facebook and can be reached at [email protected].