A Jewish Government reliant on the Muslim Brotherhood

Such a government will give Bibi enormous strength and leverage in dealing with Biden and Blinken, so it's not all bad. Op-ed

Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer ,

Balfour protesters ignore neighbors
Balfour protesters ignore neighbors
Moshe Miron
In America it now is permitted to voice publicly every imaginable profane word. They are spoken on cable television, in the filthy lyrics of the most successful songs that top the music charts, and throughout social media. The only word truly forbidden is the “N” word, the epithet that was used to denigrate Black people, a word derived from the way that “Negro” was pronounced in the American Deep South.

In Israel, the forbidden word starts with a “K.”
In Israel, the forbidden word starts with a “K.” But he — of blessed memory, may G-d avenge his blood — is the person who warned that this kind of mess would arise, where the process of Israeli democracy would interface uncomfortably with the ramifications of Israeli democracy, where a Jewish government would find itself, under democratic principles, potentially at the mercy of Arab Muslims bent on destroying all Jews and the country of Israel.

Next year in Jerusalem? Mazal tov. Here we are.

Rav Kahane was a tummler. He loved a fight. Thus, he often provoked ideological battles that even many of his strongest supporters often wished he would have delayed or simply sidestepped. Nevertheless, he insisted on posing a black-or-white hypothetical that really is not going to happen: If Arabs ever comprise a demographic majority of Israel and democratically vote to throw Jews out and to terminate the country of Israel, what then: democracy or Israel? For Rav Kahane, he could not leave that question for Elijah the Tishbi to answer in Messianic times. He insisted on pressing his Leftist adversaries to answer definitively now. It was a fascinating subject to debate in yeshiva halls and kollel settings, but could have waited in the public arena for another 219 years or so.

At bottom, there has to be democracy. We have no choice. But the more we see democracy in action, the more we see that it stinks. Alas, it is the best — and only — option we have. For those who blithely say that tyranny under a noble despot is better, usually their ideal Philosopher-King is the face they see in the mirror. Even in our holiest times, the time of the Tanakh (Bible), we enjoyed the noble righteous autocracy of kings like David, Chizkiyah (Hezekiah), and Yoshaya (Josiah). But the same governance system also gave us the likes of Yerovam (Jeroboam), Achav and Izevel (Ahab and Jezebel), and Menashe.

If life under Kings David, Solomon, and Chizkiyah were among our Golden Days, it was the 55 years under King Menashe that sealed the doom of the First Jewish Commonwealth, leading to the Babylonian exile. Likewise, the kings during the Second Commonwealth brought horrific destruction. And those were eras when kings could be impacted sometimes by Divinely ordained prophets like Shmuel (Samuel), Natan (Nathan), Yeshaya (Isaiah), and Yirmiyah (Jeremiah), and later by the 120 great theological giants comprising the Anshei Knesset Hag’dolah (Men of the Great Assembly), the Sanhedrin, the Tannaim.

They don’t make Knessets like they used to.

So we are stuck with democracy. It is the best thing we have because it is all that we have. But it is quite disgusting, and, really, always, seems to have been. Ben-Gurion and his Marxist Labor Party descendants used democracy to crush the opposition, to deny political opponents access to jobs and to careers, to destroy lives. Democracy tore Orthodox immigrant Yemenite children from their families. It suppressed Israel’s Sephardic half of the population for three decades and more.

Ben-Gurion would not allow Jabotinsky’s bones to be buried in Israel. Supporters of Menachem Begin were denied work by the Histadrut labor union. Great military minds were prevented from rising to IDF Chief of Staff. Instead, we got one general who ordered Jews under his command to fire on the Altalena ship and to murder Irgun Jews who had come with weapons to defend Jerusalem, and we got another who, for all the Western fascination over his eye patch, basically was afraid to take the Kotel, feared holding Judea and Samaria, and ultimately had a nervous breakdown during the Yom Kippur War when strength and courage at the top might have been useful.

Democracy is the best we have. I despise those on the Israeli Left who preach democracy and then, virtually from the day after free elections conclude, stage raucous demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s residence on Balfour Street demanding that he resign. In stark contrast to those hypocrites, I am 100 percent in the democracy camp. There is no other choice. But the democratic process nevertheless is disgusting. Even if the people knowingly select leaders, they often select incompetents who lead them into economic collapse and military chaos. Americans freely elected Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan — one after another — and ended up in a Civil War. For Israel, Golda Meir was a death trap waiting to happen as soon as any Arab leader launched war. But she could make chicken soup better than Levi Eshkol could.

Democracy really is crummy. They lie about their own intentions, and they lie about each other.

So many people in democracies do not even know what they are voting for or why. And even if and when they do, they wake up the next day to learn that the candidate for whom they voted was lying to them anyway. In America, Nixon and Ford and Reagan and the two Bushes promised a conservative alternative to the Left. Yet, once each got in, while they talked a good game, they appointed ideologically left-wing or liberal Supreme Court justices among their mix of designations, ruining the country’s moral fabric: Harry Blackmun, William Brennan, David Souter, Sandra O’Connor, and Anthony Kennedy all were named by Republicans. They gave America racial quotas in college admissions (“Affirmative Action”), abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, and a broad range of liberal shifts of culture that diametrically opposed the clear conservative will of the voters who had elected the GOP Presidents who appointed them.

Even Reagan, who knew how to condemn Israel’s bombing of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor and to send Marines into South Lebanon to show Israel the wiser way to control Arab Muslim terror until 241q of them got blown up. It was Reagan who began the cycle of America granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without securing its borders to face the next wave.

Israel is the same. Candidates who promise and lie. Netanyahu promised to extend sovereignty into Judea and Samaria, at least into the Jordan Valley. Gantz promised never to sit with Bibi in a government. Ariel Sharon did not defeat Ehud Barak on a platform to close down 21 Jewish communities in Gush Katif, to expel more than 8,000 Jews from their homes, and to leave their synagogues and yeshivot to be desecrated and burned by local Arabs.

Democracy really is crummy. They lie about their own intentions, and they lie about each other. In America, Joe Biden promised the gullible among the Independents who voted for him that he would be a “unifying president” with a moderate agenda that would bring the country together. Instead, he has begun with three months of radical changes instituted by fiat, marked by a wave of “executive orders” that have given new strength to America’s foes and have caused utter calamity along America’s southern border, with thousands upon thousands of unaccompanied youthful illegal aliens now sleeping in Obama–Biden cages wrapped in aluminum foil like a Kosher-for-Passover kitchen.

Israel now faces a real holy mess. After four elections in two years, now the prospect of a Jewish government depending on the whims of an Arab Muslim, Mansour Abbas of Ra’am, an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. This is the democracy that Israel has. The numbers define the national conundrum:

1. It takes 61 seats for a majority in a 120-seat Knesset.

2. If Arab anti-Israel parties corral 10 seats, then it takes 56 percent of the 110 Jewish party Knesset seats to craft a 61-seat majority.

3. If Arab parties win 15 seats as they did in the prior round, then it takes 58 percent of the 105 Jewish parties’ seats to attain a 61-seat majority in the Knesset.

That is Israeli democracy: Yes, the majority wins — but it takes 56-58 percent to craft a majority.

The conundrum still could be resolved easily if some Jews in Israel did not hate others so intensely personally. But some do. That hatred is not a uniquely Jewish trait, though we often like to brow-beat ourselves masochistically into believing so. If you think Netanyahu faces haters, consider the pathological hate that consumes Trump-haters in America. But today’s problem is the obsessive hate of Bibi. And it is not “wanton hate.” Bibi is easy to love, and almost as easy to hate — and all for very good reason.

If you think Netanyahu faces haters, consider the pathological hate that consumes Trump-haters in America.
He has been a remarkably successful and courageous prime minister for more than a decade. Israel has been relatively at peace, though life under Hamas rocket fire in the South remains unconscionable and unresolved. He built on Menachem Begin’s and David Levy’s inroads and broke the Histadrut and the worst of socialism, making Israel a “start-up” capitalist society. He stared down Obama on the Iran Deal — in Congress yet. He attained the Abraham Accords.

During his years, the population of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria has grown to more than 475,000 with another 325,000 in East Jerusalem, aggregating to 800,000 Jews who would have to be displaced for there to be a “Two State Solution,” which means that, no matter what Biden and Blinken say, the “Two State Solution” is dead as a doorknob. No matter what pressure is exerted, no Arab leader can ever allow Jews to remain in any “Palestine,” and the only way to drive nearly one million Jews out of their homes from anywhere to anywhere is with cattle cars and Displaced Person camps awaiting them. So it is dead.

But Bibi also is dishonest in interpersonal dealings, often impossible to work with. Not because of Mandelblit’s charade of indictments for manifestly political actions that are non-crimes, but because of what all of Israel just saw play out amid the rotation agreement with Benny Gantz. Not only did Bibi fail to honor it — but Gantz was absolutely the only person among 9 million Israelis who ever imagined he would. Everyone knew it was a game; the only question was how the trap would be sprung. Therefore, in all fairness, on that level it is hard to fault Gideon Saar, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Liberman, Benny Gantz, Ze’ev Elkin, Tzvi Hauser, and Yair Lapid for detesting Bibi so. Each and every one of them has experienced what few others among us ever has: working intimately with him and then getting double-crossed. Nir Barkat probably is one more insult away from joining them.

So Israel is at an impasse. Voters just elected more than 70 Knesset seats for a right-wing government: Likud (30), Shas (9), UTJ (7), Religious Zionism (6), Yamina (7), New Hope (6), and Yisrael Beytenu (7). Those 72 seats comprise two-thirds of the Jewish parties’ seats. Yet, because so many legitimately cannot trust Netanyahu in any political deal, knowing that he always slyly camouflages an escape clause in every agreement, Israel’s vaunted democracy finds all eyes in the country of Israel turning to a politician they all can trust: Mansour Abbas, a Muslim Brotherhood associate who hopes one day to destroy the state of Israel. He means it.

But it is not all bad. Such a government will give Bibi enormous strength and leverage in dealing with Biden and Blinken. Paradoxically, with a strong right-wing government of 72 seats he can be pressured. By contrast, with a government of 59 seats that depends on Mansour Abbas of Ra’am spending his time in the South, drinking Turkish coffee and playing shesh-besh with Bedouin, Bibi truly will present as unable to make a single compromise or concession without his government collapsing. One false move, and Bennett and Shaked will bring it down. Unless Smotrich and Ben-Gvir do first.

The real test will be when Hamas in Gaza does what Hamas surely will do: To force Abbas to bring down Bibi’s minority government of 59, they will provoke Israel with intense rocket fire demanding repeated Israeli military responses that inevitably will cost unavoidable Arab civilian deaths. Mansour Abbas, seeing the Gaza death scenes on TV, will be compelled to vote no confidence to bring down the Jewish government amid war. All eyes then will turn to Elkin, Yifat Shasha-Biton, and Gantz: do you allow a Jewish government of Israel to fall amid war because the country defended itself from terror rocket fire, thereby losing the support of the Muslim Brotherhood?

Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer is adjunct professor of law at two prominent Southern California law schools, Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, congregational rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California, and has held prominent leadership roles in several national rabbinic and other Jewish organizations. He was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and served for most of the past decade on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His writings have appeared in The Weekly Standard, National Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Jerusalem Post, American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, and Israel National News. Other writings are collected at www.rabbidov.com .