We’ve been reading and watching with great amusement the Henny Pennys shrieking about the imminent demise of Israeli democracy, following yet another election where the Israeli voters awarded almost 80 seats out of the 120 seat Knesset to right-of-center parties. Minus the Arab parties, the leftist opposition's strength is negligible.
The Jeremiads are screaming foul because the duly elected legislature is attempting to impose checks and balances on an unelected, progressive, activist judiciary which will broach no constitutional limits to its own power and answers to no one but itself.
Fact is, democracy is alive and well in Israel…but I can think of another country where democracy is in genuine peril.
- The country I’m thinking of has become a surveillance state, where your every move is tracked by your internal cellphone GPS; where every swipe of a credit card, every internet search, every highway toll and camera is recorded in a huge database somewhere; where Big Brother watches your library rentals and monitors your medical records; where your cell phone and smart TV and Alexa are all spying on you, ostensibly to tailor ads to your specific preferences. No possibility of abuse there.
- The country I’m thinking of has subordinated the First Amendment right of free speech to “Woke” sensibilities and Cancel Culture. Dare speak out against the latest Orwellian orthodoxies and you are sure to be blocked from social and other media. Hater! Shut down all the haters! Rewrite history to conform to the Party line!!
- The country I’m thinking of has a $32 trillion sovereign debt that is putting an unsustainable drag on its economy. Despite the fact that almost 50% of government revenues go paying the interest on that debt, (and will be 80% by 2050) the government of this country continues to expand its reach and overspend, seeking newer and more innovative ways to reduce its citizens to penury through confiscatory tax policies. (Remember that the prime directive of any bureaucracy is self-perpetuation);
- The country I’m thinking of has runaway inflation due to decades of fiscal mismanagement. Store shelves are often bare, many people can no longer afford luxuries like beef and fish, and even the price of staples (bread, eggs, milk etc.) is becoming impossible to bear. Gasoline is so expensive that some people cannot afford to get to work. That fact that inflation hurts the lowest rungs of society disproportionately doesn’t seem to bother the bigs;
- Like the Roman Senate of yore, the corrupt legislators of the country I’m thinking of are all in thrall to the mega-corporations, crafting boutique legislation that specifically benefits the oligarchs at the expense of small, family owned businesses;
- The country I’m thinking once upon a time crafted economic policies which encouraged entrepreneurship and small business ownership. Today, the small guy with the big idea has no chance - crushed by burdensome regulations at all levels of government. Even if you successfully navigate the maze of regulations, your mega-box-store-and-online competitors are sure to drown your baby before it becomes a threat to their monopolies.
- Instead of allowing the marketplace to pick winners and losers, the government of the country I’m thinking of is now managing the economy, Soviet-style. It heavily subsidizes certain technologies at the expense of others. For example, its government is conducting an undeclared war against the internal combustion engine. Fuel prices are outrageously high, domestic oil production has been all but stopped, and Its citizens are being forced to purchase electric cars – not because it is one’s best interest to do so, but because “your governmental family” has decided that this is best for Mother Earth.
- The country I’m thinking of has an electoral system that has been tampered with so many times that election results are questionable at best and downright fraudulent and corrupt at worst.
Perhaps before ANY Americans dare to open their mouths against Israel’s democracy, they should take careful look at their own house.
Rabbi Yehoshua Mizrachi is the author of a new book: Holistic Judaism: A Radical Rethinking of Our Service to Gcd and our Fellow Man in the Messianic Age. Available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle as an e-Book. He can be reached at [email protected] Twitter: @HolisticJudaism