This, my friends, is a follow-up to my very recent posting – “Vile and Insufferable!!” – regarding reactions of members of the Israeli left to our incoming government The attacks seem never ending.
While Yair Lapid continues his rampage (“If you think what I’ve been saying the last few days is rebellious, I have news for you: you ain’t seen nothing yet,”), analysts are taking a closer look at his behavior.
Itzhak Bam, an Israeli attorney specializing in areas of criminal and administrative law, human rights and freedom of expression, is one of many concerned with whether Lapid’s actions comport with the spirit of democracy.
“Essentially, he’s saying boycott the elected government. That’s just not done in a democracy.”
Bam is actually worried that Lapid, who has a very limited educational background, may not truly understand democracy.
Netanyahu is not wrong when he calls Lapid’s behavior sedition. This man who imagines that he is protecting his principles seems to have no clue as to the damage he is doing to the State. Either no clue, or he doesn’t care.
Now if only others on the left would condemn his behavior and decline to model it. Decline because they do understand democracy and care about the nation. Unfortunately, Defense Minister Benny Gantz is a seditious partner with Lapid in his response to the incoming government. In November he made the ridiculous charge that Ben Gvir was building a “private militia” in Judea & Samaria.
The main issue that Lapid is incensed about is that Avi Moaz of Noam has been given the portfolio of external education. Moaz, a religious Jew with traditional values, promotes the traditional family and not LGBTQ issues.
But external education is separate from the required curricula of schools. A number of programs are developed and presented to schools, which have the option of adopting them for use in the classroom, or not. And, as Netanyahu, who will be reviewing the programs, has pointed out, it accounts for a miniscule portion of the education budget.
As it is, there is precious little in our schools, particularly in primary schools, with regard to LGBTQ issues compared to what’s happening in the US. But the self-righteous progressive Yair Lapid is on a rampage. Moaz is opposed to gender studies in the primary grades, and I could not agree more.
Netanyahu has provided assurances that the rights of LGBTQ people will not be harmed, and let us make it clear that Moaz was not suggesting otherwise.
Now here is the ultimate irony, the prima facie evidence that Lapid is a hypocrite. You know who the most homophobic, anti-LGBTQ members of our Knesset are? The Muslim Arabs. (Homosexuals from the PA areas and Gaza flee to Tel Aviv for safety, as they are at risk of being killed.) But when it suited Lapid to bring Ra’am into his government in order to form a coalition, he looked the other way.
Another issue almost certain to generate tensions involves significant portions of the coalition agreement between MK Bezalel Smotrich, head of Religious Zionists, and Likud. It’s a stunning agreement, a major victory that will enable us to assert our rights in the land in a manner that has not been possible to date.
Not possbile because the Civil Administration, which works within the Ministry of Defense, rather than safeguarding those rights, has often subverted them. It is because of the left-leaning inclination of the Civil Administration that houses by the thousands that have been put up illegally in Area C by Palestinian Arabs have been permitted to stand.
According to Regavim, the construction of illegal Arab housing in Area C – under full Israeli control according to Oslo – increased by 80% in 2022. And consider this (which is mind-blowing):
“…the data for the most recent period are unprecedented, both in quality and quantity. The structures in built in recent months are not temporary shacks or makeshift shelters that characterized much of the illegal activity in earlier years; in 2022, new Palestinian construction is characterized by “palatial residences, sprawling holiday resorts, amusement and entertainment compounds and event halls, swimming pools and vacation villages, and high-rise residential and commercial towers”…
At present, according to Regavim’s research, there are 81,317 illegal Arab-built structures in Area C, covering an area of approximately 150,000 dunams (roughly 37,500 acres) – twice the total area of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria all told, legal and illegal.
“Whereas illegal Arab-built structures are located in desolate, remote areas far from existing villages or settlement clusters, all of the illegal construction in the Jewish sector is located within the municipal ‘blue line’ boundaries of Jewish settlements…
“Arab construction is neither random nor haphazard. Construction is strategically placed, in accordance with the Fayyad Plan, according to pre-established criteria and objectives: Creating contiguous Arab settlement…”
Regavim documents utilizing aerial photos.
Lapid’s government has a whole lot to answer for. There is likely little within the coalition agreements that will benefit Israel as much as what has been put in place in this regard. And kol havod (great job!) to Smotrich for pushing on this issue.
Details of the agreement were published Monday.
A representative of the Religious Zionist Party is to be appointed minister inside the Defense Ministry and will “receive full authority over the areas of operation of COGAT and the Civil Administration.” This minister will be in charge of “Jewish settlement and open lands” – thus able to have a significant effect on the rate of demolitions and building.
This minister, possibly Smotrich himself, will be given the power to appoint the head of COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) and the head of the Israeli Civil Administration in coordination and with the agreement of the prime minister.
COGAT, which operates under the umbrella of the IDF, is responsible for implementing government policies in Judea & Samaria. The Civil Administration is the branch of COGAT that deals with all civil matters regarding of both Jewish settlers and Palestinians Arabs in Area C.
The head of COGAT is a major-general, while the head of the Civil Administration is a brigadier-general. The appointments until now have been made by the IDF, with the approval of the defense minister.
It didn’t take long. IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi has already declared, in response to the announcement of this agreement, that “I won’t allow any interference in the appointment of IDF generals.”
Of course Kohavi is probably incensed because he knows what a good job the heads of the Civil Administration appointed by the IDF have done to date. I have been advised by Regavim that the Civil Administration employs Palestinian Arabs, who report back to the PA, lest there be any possibility of an Arab selling land to a Jew.
Ruthie Blum, in her JPost column last week, took a hard look at criticism of the incoming government by prominent American Jews, which is bolstered and fostered by what the left is saying here:
The American Jews in question are former State Department Mideast analyst/negotiator Aaron David Miller and one-time US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, who jointly penned a piece in The Washington Post last week. While these two, writes Blum, “have never been shy about criticizing the Jewish state that both profess to love, they might not have been so openly hostile without encouragement from Israelis in high places.”
But, explains Blum, “there is method to their madness”:
“This coalition’s agenda,” declared the two, “could be marked by increased settlement activity and land confiscation, violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, terrorist attacks against Israelis, efforts to change the status quo by legitimizing Jewish prayer on the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount, and loosened rules regarding the use of force against both Palestinians in the West Bank and Arab citizens of Israel…
“At a minimum, this threatens to put to rest the already-moribund two-state solution.” (Emphasis added here and below)
Of course, Miller and Kurtzer were forthcoming with suggestions as to how the US should respond to Netanyahu’s “democratically elected [coalition with] antidemocratic values inimical to US interests.”
“Israel should be told that, while the United States will continue to support its ally’s legitimate security requirements, it will not provide offensive weapons or other assistance for malign Israeli actions in Jerusalem or the occupied territories.
“[Biden] should also make it clear to Israel that his administration will have no dealings with Ben-Gvir, Smotrich or their ministries if they continue to espouse racist policies and actions.”
And finally: American backing for the Jewish state “in international forums, including the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice, has its limits. And Israel should know that the Biden administration will be on the alert for Israeli actions that deserve to be called out and condemned.”
So we know what we have to deal with.
The Biden administration recently announced the establishment of a new position, Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs, designed to upgrade the relationship with the Palestinian Arabs. And the new representative is none other than Hady Amr, who has already demonstrated his antipathy for Israel. He will now “engage closely with the Palestinians and their leadership.”
In 2002, he declared: “I have news for every Israeli: a very large proportion of the more than 150 million children and youth in the Arab World now have televisions, and they will never, never forget what the Israeli people, the Israeli military and Israeli democracy have done to Palestinian children.”
Actually, it was Secretary of State Antony Blinken who brought Amr into this new position. Blinken has just delivered the keynote address at a J Street conference. J Street, whatever its claims, is no friend to Israel.
Blinken touted the same old line about how Jews and Palestinian Arabs are entitled to the same degree of “freedom, security, opportunity, justice, and dignity.” He never grapples with the underlying fallacy of this statement, that being the failure of the totally corrupt, anti-democratic, Palestinian Authority to provide its people with these rights. Instead, he speaks with pride about assistance provided to the PA by the US, sustaining the left-wing myth that alleviating poverty will foster political moderation.
The US, he declared, continues to embrace that “two-state solution based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps,” which “remains the best way to achieve our goal of Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security.”
Has he never seen the PA emblems that include all of “Palestine”? Has he never heard them call for “Palestine from the river to the sea”?
Perhaps most worrisome, he says that “Jerusalem is central to the national visions of both Palestinians and Israelis, and must be a city for all of its people.” Thus is he sending Amr to boost the hopes of the Palestinian Arabs.
And lastly, “We will also continue to unequivocally oppose any acts that undermine the prospects of a two-state solution, including, but not limited to, settlement expansion; moves toward annexation of the West Bank (sic); disruption to the historic status quo at holy sites; demolitions and evictions; and incitement to violence.”
Our new government will have its work cut out for it. May they go from strength to strength.
Dear friends, I caution care in accepting on the face of it much of what is being written about the new government. There is so much that I am seeing that is inaccurate. I am covering major issues, and will continue to do so. As I can, I will attempt to address these inaccuracies.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.