There has been movement in the political scene here in Israel, and I will come to that shortly. But first I want to share some important insights with regard to the US abortion issue.
Star Parker, a columnist and political activist, is the founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.
With regard to Roe v. Wade she wrote (emphasis added):
“…I celebrate this court decision that overturns that decision in 1973 that opened the door to the destruction of 60 million-plus pregnancies.
“That decision introduced a culture of death to our nation.
“When I say a culture of death, I don’t only mean the widespread physical destruction of infants in the womb, which is what the decision brought about.
“A culture of death means introduction of behaviors that threaten the future of our communities, of our nation.
“When we lose appreciation for the sanctity of life, along with this we lose the sense of sanctity of behavior that brings life to the world. Marriage and sex become no longer responsible expressions of love and creation but expressions of egoism and self-gratification of the moment”.
As I read this, it seemed to me she was on to something of significance. Shortly after reading her comments, I encountered news about a student petition submitted to George Washington University demanding that Justice Clarence Thomas be fired from his position as professorial lecturer in constitutional law because of his vote on Wade v. Roe. GWU is to be congratulated for not caving, refusing to fire him because of the university’s support for “the robust exchange of ideas and deliberation,” and because Justice Thomas has academic freedom.
But consider for a moment one phrase in that petition. What Justice Thomas did, we are being told, is to “remove the ability for people to practice safe sex without fear of pregnancy”.
Bingo!! They want people practicing sex to have no sense of responsibility for the potential outcome of that sex. They want people to be free of the burden of bearing consequences.
This attitude is reflected in a host of other aspects within US culture today – a culture that promotes the right to immediate gratification without consideration for long term ramifications.
If Americans can just begin to absorb the implications of this, it will be a step forward indeed!
One more word about Justice Thomas. I have been exceedingly distressed that left-wing blacks have attacked him outrageously – singling him out from amongst the other Justices who voted to repeal Roe v. Wade. A black person, you see, is supposed to be left-wing, and so his position is construed as a betrayal. That it should come to this in 2022 is shameful.
I have been in touch with someone in the US who knows Justice Thomas and has assured me that he is impervious to these attacks.
Now I turn to Israeli politics, and what I fervently pray is the first step towards a right-wing, Zionist government.
Here I will describe the current situation and lay out some of the possibilities going forward. I expect that I will be posting frequently.
On Thursday, the Knesset voted, 92-0, to dissolve itself. What takes over now is a care-taker government that will stay in place until after elections are held on November 1 and a new government has been established.
The legislation for application of Israeli law to Israeli in Judea & Samaria is being extended because the Knesset dissolved before the date on which it was to expire.
Yair Lapid,, the center-left head of Yesh Atid, now assumes the role of interim prime minister per his rotation agreement with Bennett. I cannot pretend to be pleased with this state of affairs, especially as Biden is still scheduled to visit and is undoubtedly delighted about this situation. Because Lapid’s position is one of interim caretaker, I trust that he will have less ability to do permanent damage.
And Naftali Bennett assumes the positions that had been held by Lapid: foreign minister and alternate prime minister. He has announced that he will be retiring from politics after the election, at least for the foreseeable future. In line with this anticipated retirement, he is withdrawing as head of Yamina and Ayelet Shaked will be taking over.
Again and again, while preparing to depart, Bennett sought to convince the nation that during his one-year stint as prime minister he had accomplished great things. It was really a case of his protesting too much, and, while he had some successes, his claims across the board are not to be believed.
Consider comments by Shimrit Meir, who had been a close political advisor to Bennett until her resignation last month.
In an interview with Times of Israel, “she suggested that the government ‘gave in to blackmail’ by the Islamist Ra’am party when the faction froze its coalition membership over tensions atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
“’Everyone was waiting for the Shura Council that night,’ she said. ‘Yair Lapid sent [his chief-of-staff] Naama Schultz to Kafr Qassim with an open check. I told Bennett, you must stop this. This government will be painted with the colors of surrender to the Arabs. Blackmail and surrender — and we were still in the midst of a terror wave.’
“Eventually, Meir said, she decided to resign because ‘I understood he wasn’t listening [to me]. He doesn’t want to hear. And I understood there was no method to the madness.’”
What Shaked can do in her role as head of Yamina remains to be seen. There is talk of her garnering sufficient mandates in the election so that she can join with Likud and bring the coalition to perhaps 63. She has yet to shape the party as it will run in the election. For there is very little left of Yamina, which was miniscule to begin with.
Idit Silman and Nir Orbach have left (and may end up with Likud), Bennett is on his way out, and Amichai Chikli has been labeled a rebel for refusing to vote with the party. With her at present are Abir Kara and Shirly Pinto Kadosh. The intentions of Matan Kahana, deputy religious affairs minister, of staying with Yamina are being questioned. Can she attract new blood to sustain a party? This situation is one of many that will be watched closely in weeks ahead.
Shaked herself has little to no political capital.
I have nothing at this point on the possibility for Gideon Sa’ar to sustain his New Hope party. He remains adamant in refusing to sit with a government headed by Netanyahu. When formation of a right-wing government is so critically important, I consider this a foolish stubbornness. Running with Likud is very clearly not an issue for Shaked, who, rumor has it, had even been negotiating for a position inside Likud at one point.
As to Likud, which is way, way ahead of any other party in the polls, there seems no doubt about the fact that Binyamin Netanyahu will continue to lead the party – and become prime minister if Likud can fashion a governing coalition. Right now polls have the right just short of the necessary 61.
Yuli Edelstein, who has long declared intention to run against Netanyahu in Likud primaries, has now declared he will not run:
“Wherever I went, I have always put the Likud movement first. Now, when we face a critical election for the State of Israel, I cannot drag Likud into an internal fight, and I have therefore decided to retract my candidacy for the party chairmanship in the upcoming election.
“This decision stems from a will to unite and win. In this election, we will make a change and act differently. Together with Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, I will lead to the national camp’s victory in the elections and to the formation of a full right-wing government.”
And so the big issue is whether Netanyahu can pull together a coalition of at least 61 mandates. For those of us who care – who believe a right-wing government is essential now – this means a great deal of hard work in the next four months. It’s not only a question of getting out to vote, but also raising the issues in public forum and getting others to come out and vote to the right as well.
I believe a great deal rests on our ability to pull this off.
The focus MUST be on what works for the country, not what works for individual politicians. The latter has been our downfall.
It is worth noting here that polls indicate there will be a low Israeli Arab turnout, with a 25% drop in voter participation. Fascinatingly, the reason stated is dissatisfaction with Ra’am party and the Joint List (an Arab bloc in the opposition). At one point Ra’am’s Mansour Abbas had been confident that his constituency would be so pleased with the benefits he secured for them that he would come back with even greater electoral strength next time. But apparently that is not going to happen, which serves the right well.
What is revealing – and of considerable significance — is that the Arab electorate feels Ra’am ignored the Palestinian issue. It was no accident that Abbas soft-pedaled this issue – so as to be accepted within the government, but his stance did not sit well with his constituents.
I leave you with this analysis by Walter Bingham, who says that in spite of all his faults, we need Netanyahu how because of his international stature.
“It takes a special kind of person to be prime minister with diplomatic and political experience gathered over many years in the business.”
And I point as well to the necessity for a strong right-wing within the winning coalition — Religious Zionists is now polling at 10 mandates and will have significant influence down the road. What I am suggesting is that only Netanyahu can pull it off, but he must have a coalition with strong right-wing influence. More on this will follow.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner.