Suspend your Zionism

Suspend your Zionism

December 8, 2009 19:25
4 minute read.
kedumim construction 248 88 ap

kedumim construction 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP)


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I won't keep you in suspension, nor in suspense. I will be very clear: While I can comprehend Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's concern for what he considers more primary national interests than keeping his electoral platform promises to those who voted for him regarding the continuation of the Jewish return to the national homeland, his recent decisions are quite incomprehensible. To think that even the opposition leader, Kadima chairwoman MK Tzipi Livni, can justifiably criticize him from a right-wing perspective says much about Netanyahu's policies. On the Likud Web site, which oddly appears as, as if a personal plaything, one can read the aims of the Likud which include: advocating the integrity of the Jewish homeland, bringing together the Jewish people in the Land of Israel, cultivating love of the country, safeguarding the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel as an eternal, inalienable right while working diligently to settle and develop all parts of the land of Israel, and extending national sovereignty to them. All admirable missions, well-steeped in the tradition of the nationalist camp of Zionism. And yet, on November 25, Netanyahu told his security cabinet that international circumstances dictate that for the promotion of Israel's broad national interests, a moratorium on construction across the Green Line will be adopted over the next 10 months. And its purpose? To convey the message that the government wants to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians. That's it? His Bar-Ilan speech was insufficient? His running off to meet US President Barack Obama at the UN wasn't enough? His subsequent White House late-night powwow didn't make things understandable? IN THE fashion of literary criticism, let's deconstruct Netanyahu's words. Obviously, "international circumstances" mean that Obama can't mobilize Europe and Russia and is going independent - with Iran, with North Korea Korea and other hot spots. "Israel's broad national interests" are the bombing of Iran if all else fails, and, to quote Murphy, all else will fail. Even a continuing Jewish presence in our national homeland must be secondary, at least for 10 months. Netanyahu presumes that the pressure being applied by the US president can be offset by the "freeze" of normal growth and it is the only chance Israel has of gaining support for a military operation against Iran. That this is also simply perceived as a capitulation does not bode well, not for Iran and not for Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria. "Yield once, surrender twice" is the lesson Netanyahu has put aside. Before declaring this moratorium, we could have expected that the issue of the Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem be settled with the Americans but this was not done. And so, Gilo and Shimon Hatzaddik remain "on-the-table" items. And the pressure will only increase. Palestinian Authority officials are not forthcoming but are raising the ante. The EU is now declaring a capital of a nonexistent state in the midst of Israel's sovereign capital. As for the truly "broad national interests" of Israel, a public reminding that the retention of Judea and Samaria also has a security element is in order. Iran is indeed a supreme security threat. If the Al Arabiya report that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now claims that the US is blocking the return of the mahdi - the imam believed by Muslims to be the messiah - is indeed credible, then Iran is a very dangerous threat. NEVERTHELESS, THERE is Teheran and there is also Tulkarm. Iran is an immediate matter but no less so are the hills of Judea and Samaria. If those hills are surrendered, if the heights overlooking Ben-Gurion Airport, Ra'anana and Netanya fall into Fatah or Hamas rule, if Netanyahu yields on that issue - for that is the intention of the Arabs, Obama and the EU - then even if Iran is dealt with, Israel would still eventually face an existential threat, this time from Jenin, Kalkilya and Bethlehem. The loss of Judea and Samaria would be just as great a security risk. It happened with Gaza. And it can - and will - happen again. When Netanyahu proclaims that "the future of settlement will be determined only in a permanent peace agreement," we all must realize that that future is not assured by his policies. In the meantime, the procedures adopted with regard to the moratorium, its supervision and hardship appeals board indicate a woeful lack of preparation, which is not very encouraging. There are, at present, real economic losses being suffered. It would seem this government is quite capable of repeating the poor record of the Sharon and Olmert governments of not protecting and securing the property and fiscal rights of Israeli citizens. Combined with the existing discrimination in Israel not applying any parallel limitations on Arab construction or in following through on demolition orders, there is a moral, legal and social fabric issue the government is fumbling over. In essence, Netanyahu's government is inadequately dealing with the internal-social front, the economic front and the diplomatic-security front. Our prime minister is asking us to suspend our Zionism, suspend our natural logic and suspend our economic personal freedoms for quirky political behavior that will last 10 months - after which all will revert to normal: normal growth, normal development, normal security. This is truly a matter of suspended belief. The writer, who resides in Shiloh, serves as a spokesperson for the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities, was director of Israel's Media Watch and was a political aide to Members of Knesset, 1981-1994. He is also secretary of the To the Temple Mount advocacy group. He blogs at

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