I made my case for voting right-wing last week and I had decided that was it. There was no end to additions I might have sent out to strengthen my position, but I felt I had done enough.
Now I have changed my mind, because I find the current situation utterly deplorable.
Please read this through and share broadly!
I begin once again by reporting a terror attack. It is unreal. Every week, as I start to do a posting, there is another attack to write about. This one may have a particular political significance.
Last night (Saturday night) there was a terror shooting attack in Kiryat Arba, in the neighborhood of Givat Avot, located very close to adjacent Hevron. Ronen Hanania, 50, was killed. His son, 19, who was wounded, was with his father when he died. In all, at least four were wounded (once again, reports on the number injured are conflicting).
One of those seriously hurt was a first-responder medic who had come to help others. Ofer Ohana has been a volunteer medic for 34 years. Please pray for Ofer Ben Hannah.
The terrorist, who was killed by civilian security forces, has been identified as a member of a group called Aswad al-Haq, associated with Hamas. According to one report, it was formed just last week – indicating a proliferation of terror groups.
The political aspect here is with regard to the fact that the shooting took place very close to the home of MK Itamar Ben Gvir. He was not at home, although his family was. On learning of the attack, he tweeted that the terrorist was aiming for his home. Authorities will not confirm this.
While I am not in a position to state with certainty that what Ben Gvir initially charged was accurate, I am convinced that this might have been the case and that he had reason to think that it was. Quite simply¸ this is because of horrific statements – that qualify as incitement – which have been bandied about of late.
One horrendous example suffices. MK Ram Ben Barak is a member of Yesh Atid – which is headed by Yair Lapid – and chairs the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Just hours before the Kiryat Arba terror attack, Ben Barak had given an interview in Beersheva. In the course of that interview, he said:
“…Hitler came to power democratically, he was elected in a democratic way, and one of the first laws he enacted, if not the first, was to cancel the [German] High Court, and then he brought all of the other laws and made Germany what it was.
“We need to safeguard our democracy. That is why the combination of Ben-Gvir and Smotrich’s racist and anti-democratic party [together] with [Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu], a person who we see is willing to do nearly everything he can to extract himself from his trial – and who will allow them to do whatever they want – is dangerous. It needs to be prevented and that is why we need to win this election.”
Later he rushed to declare that he didn’t mean to compare Ben Gvir to Hitler. Oh, of course not. He just happened to mention Hitler, who undid the German courts, in the same statement in which he alluded to Ben Gvir, who belongs to Religious Zionists, a party that wants to do badly-needed court reform.
Ben Gvir is compared to Hitler and within hours there is a terror attack near his home.
Netanyahu was enraged and Ben Gvir demanded that Lapid expel Ben Barak from his party. Not only has Lapid not done this; if he chastised him, it was privately, because I see nothing about Lapid publicly calling him out on this.
So let’s talk about Yair Lapid.
Last Thursday, with the signing of the agreement, Lapid claimed that the deal with Lebanon was a de facto recognition of Israel by Lebanon, an enemy state: “It’s not every day that an enemy country recognizes Israel in a written agreement.”
But this was an out-and-out lie designed to demonstrate to potential Yesh Atid voters how much he has achieved as interim prime minister.
Here’s the truth. Lapid on behalf of Israel and Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun signed different identical documents, which will be submitted to the UN. They were never even in a room together. And Aoun has made it clear that there is no de facto recognition of Israel: “Demarcating the southern maritime border is technical work that has no political implications.”
Remember, there were two deals – one with the US and Israel, the other with the US and Lebanon. There has been no deal between Israel and Lebanon.
And there is another lie, even bigger, that he told the cabinet: that the agreement boosts the security of Israel and “our freedom of action against Hezbollah and the threats from the north.”
Quite the opposite is true. Lapid caved when confronted with Hezbollah threats. When the deal was brought to the Cabinet, Naftali Bennett (who should hang his head in shame for not vetoing the deal right then) commented that what was agreed upon now was not the deal that his administration had been working on. Lapid made additional concessions that should not have been made. The message he delivered to Hezbollah, and terrorists generally, is that threats work.
There was solid reason to believe that what Lapid was attempting to do was illegal and unconstitutional with regard to Israel’s Basic Law.
There were two issues: 1) that Lapid was an interim prime minister not empowered to make the sort of major move he had taken on, and 2) that according to our Basic Law any relinquishing of sovereign Israeli territory requires a vote by the Knesset, yet Lapid (knowing that the deal would never receive the approval of the Knesset) pushed it through without such a vote. Highly respected legal authorities such as Eugene Kontorovich – who is a specialist in international law and constitutional law, and heads the International Law Department at the Kohelet Policy Forum – spoke out against what Lapid was doing.
Several groups, including Kohelet, submitted petitions to the High Court to block Lapid’s move, and for a short while there was hope that the deal would not go through.
To the shock and astonishment of many, the Court rejected all petitions and allowed the deal to proceed.
David Israel, editor of The Jewish Press, then wrote: “There have been speculations that the Supreme Court, guided by its President Esther Hayut, agreed to reject three different legitimate petitions against the agreement after having been shown behind closed doors the extent of Israel’s vulnerability before a future Hezbollah aggression.”
I cannot present this speculation as fact – I do not know that this was the case. If it was, it is shameful. But you see, the mere fact that this is being discussed suggests a need to find a rationale for an otherwise incomprehensible ruling by the Court: A ruling that ignores Israeli law and rubber-stamps the policies of a leftist government.
THIS, my friends, illustrates why the Religious Zionism Party has come forward with a proposal for court reforms. MK Simcha Rothman who is working on this with Religious Zionist head Bezalel Smotrich, says our court – which routinely oversteps its traditional role of determining whether an action or policy is legal – is the most interventionist in the world.
The citizens of Israel play no part in the selection of justices to the Court, and yet this Court often overrules actions advanced by the Knesset, which is the elected voice of the people. Proposed reforms would render Israel more democratic, not less so.
The proposed reforms seek to restore public trust in Israel’s legal system, and include: 1) splitting up the position of Attorney General, “a non-elected governmental authority with unlimited power” 2) putting a stop to “excessive” judicial activism and 3) removing the “ever present threat of indictment” hanging over public officials. This includes striking “breach of trust” from the criminal code, which has been used as a means to indict public officials for “just about anything.”
The charge is made that these changes are being proposed to enable Netanyahu to be relieved of his current trial. But that’s a crock. What I wish to make clear here is that those proposals would not be retroactive and would not affect Netanyahu’s situation.
Before leaving this subject, I provide a link to a superb article by Ruthie Blum regarding the charges against Netanyahu, which are political in nature.
Ruthie writes about a documentary that explores “Case 400” against Netanyahu, and provides several key facts that were not in dispute. They include (emphasis added):
- There has never been a prime minister, in any country, tried for bribery for interfering in media coverage.
- The investigations into Netanyahu were launched without the required signed and reasoned approval of the attorney general.
- The Israel Police and State Attorney’s Office employed extreme and illegal interrogation techniques to extract witness testimony.
- The prosecution failed to transfer many important documents to Netanyahu’s defense team.
Has this gone beyond anything you will tolerate?
Israel is a marvellous country and has the potential to move towards an improved situation politically and legally. In order for this to happen, in order to rescue Israel from the current morass, it is essential to vote to the right on election day. We are at a critical juncture.
Every Israeli citizen who wants to see the country move right must go out and vote on Tuesday (even if we get the rain that is predicted)!!!
Everyone else must share this information broadly, especially with those who are Israeli citizens.
And all of us must pray!!
A few more items, touched upon very briefly:
- Hadash-Ta’al MK Aida Touma-Sliman on Tuesday saluted five Palestinian Arab terrorists, including the leader of the Lions’ Den terror group, as “our martyrs,” after they were killed by the IDF during an overnight raid.
This woman sits in our Knesset. Ben Gvir would object to this (as do I), because she is supportive of the enemy and not loyal to Israel. The left labels him a “racist” for this. He is not.
- “A report released by the Regavim Movement reveals that in 2022, illegal Palestinian [Arab] construction in Area C, the portion of Judaea and Samaria under full Israeli jurisdiction, increased by 80%. The report documents 5535 new illegal structures built in 2022, compared to 3076 structures in the same period in 2021. Regavim: ‘The Israeli government is creating a de facto Palestinian state.’“
The “Israeli government” that Regavim is referring to is the government of Naftali Bennett, in which Yair Lapid served as alternate prime minister; then, after June 22, the interim government headed by Lapid. During this period, Benny Gantz, as minister of defense, headed the Civil Administration, which is responsible for blocking, taking down, illegal construction in Judaea & Samaria.
- Head of the Labor party and currently Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli has announced that she is withholding all transportation plans for Judea & Samaria. “I think it’s a shame to invest in a place that in the end . . . won’t be a part of the sovereign state of Israel.”
All of Judaea & Samaria? No retention of land in that region on which Jewish communities are already established? This position envisions Israel pushed back to behind the untenable 1949 armistice line.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner.