Menachem Rahat
Menachem RahatMenachem Rahat

1. Freedom of speech is, as we know, a sacred value. Therefore, the State of Israel did not dream of issuing a closure order against the Bezalel Academy of Art, when one of its students, a Hamas activist from East Jerusalem, published a poster inciting viewers to assassinate the Prime Minister. No one thought of shutting down Ben-Gurion University either, even though its students held a ceremony honoring the extreme leftist organization Breaking the Silence (banned from entering state schools, ed.).

The Al-Midan Theater in Haifa put on a play praising the terrorist Walid Daqqa, who commanded the terrorist squad that kidnapped, tortured, and murdered the soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984. Not onlywais this theater of the absurd not closed, but it continues to be budgeted by the public, at the instructions of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who is extremely concerned about the sanctity of freedom of speech.

There is also the policy of the Herzliyae Gymnasium in Tel Aviv, and its director, Dr. Ze'ev Degani, who is affiliated with the non-patriotic left and insists for reasons of radical ideology on barring the gates of the institution to IDF officers' appearances before the students.

One of the members of the Department of Political Science at Hebrew University, Dr. Ofer Kassif, called the Justice Minister "neo-Nazi scum". For the benefit of all of the above and their colleagues from the extreme Left, who sometimes resort to lunatic hostility, there is always the claim of freedom of speech.

2. There is only one institution in Israel that the State of Israel threatens to close without recognizing the right to freedom of speech. This is the Zionist pre-military mechina (preparatory) Bnei David yeshiva in Eli in Samaria, which has made itself into the most efficient production line in Israel for training IDF soldiers and officers.

Ignored is the fact that this "mint" manufactures the heroes of the nation, decorated officers and soldiers, such as Lt. Col. Emanuel Moreno, decorated with a medal of honor and the most senior officer to fall during the Second Lebanon War. Major Eliraz Peretz, who fell in the Gaza Strip; Lieutenant Hadar Goldin whose body we have yet to bring back; Captain Yoni Natanel, a paratrooper commander who was killed during Operation Cast Lead, and those among the living, an exemplary figure like Brigadier General Ofer Winter, decorated General; Lt. Col. Eliad Maor, commander of the Baram Brigade; Lt. Col. Avi Balot, Commander of the Fire Arrow Squadron; Lt. Col. Hezi Nechama, Commander of the Menashe Brigade; Col. Ilan Dickstein, commander of the Etzioni Brigade, Captain Eitan Pond, decorated with the Medal of Honor, and a host of laudable civilians.

3. How is it that the anti-nationalist institutions that produce alumni for the benefit of the radical left camp allow themselves to stretch the boundaries of freedom of speech, as if they were the masters of the land, and still enjoy the financial support of the state, so abhorrent in their eyes - and precisely the most patriotic institution in the region, identified with religious Zionism, deserves threats of closure? What is the source of the State's absolute contempt for the mechina in Eli, to the extent that it is assaulted and disgraced by threats of closure because of one inappropriate statement? After all, much more grievous statements are responded to with a smile of understanding and babble about the importance of freedom of expression.

The answer, it seems, exists on two levels. One is religious Zionism's inferior political status, which has turned it into the country's whipping boy. If religious Zionism had courageous political representation, such as the haredim do, the knitted kippah (Religious Zionist) politicians would shake the very foundations of the coalition. Just as Torah Judaism and Shas know how to do, when they are threatened merely with limiting the waxing budget-flow to yeshivot that consciously educate against IDF service. Has anyone dared to touch all the inciters [against IDF service] there? Touch the yeshivot from which the Chardakim campaign is launched - nada. On the contrary, budgets are only growing.

Religious Zionism, on the other hand, prefers to withdraw. To cultivate a defensive mentality. The more they abuse it (a la Gush Katif, Amona, Ofra, as well as the systematic harassment of IDF soldiers and officers, from the utter humiliation of the military rabbinate, via the cutting off of beards, to the equality decree in army base Bahad 1, the Air Force, the Navy, and infantry), the more it swallows its bile and turns the other cheek. Its representatives make calming sounds and defend themselves: "Is it worth losing the Education and Justice Ministries? Come on!"

What else do they need to understand from such cynical behavior - Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Netanyahu who gives him a free hand in his malice against religious Zionism? That you can kick and humiliate. That no politician will put himself on the line for the sake of the Eli mechina.

4. The second level is Yvette (Avigdor) Liberman. An unanswerable puzzle, about whom we will never know the truth, whether he is extreme Right or radical Left. The cynic who dances at all weddings, strikes at all fronts, and whose every move is designed to serve one purpose, his own political survival.

The wisdom of this despicable politician was imbibed from the example of his former top mentor in Israeli politics, Binyamin Netanyahu. Both of them understand what Sima Kadmon wrote in her latest political column: "After all, Religious Zionists are a bunch of suckers, you've been treading on them for four years, and a month before the election, you suck up to them and the voters come storming in droves." So right. So true. So sad.

The writer is an independent journalist and former political correspondent for the daily Ma'ariv.