In 1996, after prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, Shimon Peres was asked in an interview: who lost the elections? To which he answered “Us, the Israelis.” When asked who won, he replied: “The Jews.
The Jews defeated the Israelis.”
Peres was wrong. The “Jews” did not exactly win. And the “Israelis” did not lose at all. In the 20 years that have ensued, an ongoing, low-intensity cold war has been waged between the Jews and the Israelis.
On Rosh Hashana 2016, Alexander Levlovitz was murdered by an Arab, signaling the beginning of a new kind of intifada. Every few hours, on average, a lone terrorist would attempt to kill Jews with whatever weapon was at hand.
The goal of the terrorism of the first and second intifadas was to force the IDF to retreat from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It was a “nationalist” struggle. In the new intifada, all the “nationalist” masks have been removed. The goal is simply to kill Jews. The statement these terrorists are making is one we heard 70 years ago: I will kill you no matter how you define yourself; Israeli, secular, Tel-Avivian or New Yorker – you are really just a Jew.
This created a serious problem for Peres’ “Israelis.” When confronted with the new anti-Judaism, they preferred to deny their Jewish identity; there is nothing unique about the Jews and everyone can be a Nazi.
IDF soldiers killed many of the attacking terrorists. This was a healthy, Jewish response. It was the spontaneous reaction of a nation that identifies the monster and has no intention of allowing it to reawaken.
It declares that there is indeed a unique, Jewish identity.
The bullet shot in Hebron by soldier Elor Azariah into a neutralized terrorist turned the cold war between the Jews and the Israelis into an overt war that is getting hotter all the time.
It obligated the “Israelis” to stand up and defend their right to blur their identity. The entire justice system, media and other power resources in the hands of the Old Israel – Ashkenazi, leftist, secular, hegemonic – activated an orchestrated campaign to delegitimize his act.
But a frightening surprise was waiting for Old Israel. Social media allowed the New Israel – Mizrahi, traditional, far-removed from power – to stand up for the soldier. The division was very clear: the Israeli minority will do all in its power to convict the soldier, while the Jewish majority supports him.
The war intensified. The many local protests for the soldier melded into a major rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, boycotted and scorned by the media and political establishment.
Old Israel fought back. At the Holocaust memorial ceremony on Remembrance Day, deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan hinted that Elor Azariah and his supporters are Israel’s fascists. The prime minister condemned the speech, But defense minister Moshe Ya’alon supported Golan unreservedly.
The judge’s suggested compromise during Azariah’s trial was rejected by the military prosecution. After all, this is not a private case: it is a war between Israelis and Jews. Elor has become a symbol and Old Israel has no intention of giving up.
And then the war escalated to a new, much more frightening phase.
A Haaretz article titled “The First Jewish Military Coup” seemed to implicitly call upon the IDF to impose the will of the Israeli minority upon the Jewish majority. The defense minister again praised the scandalous speech of Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan and even encouraged every soldier to learn from him and follow in his footsteps. It was a military coup in the making, with the defense minister as the Left’s point man.
When Ya’alon was ousted, journalist Yigal Sarna wrote that “the ouster is a civilian putsch against the army.” The radical Left, despairing of ever winning democratic elections, turned to the IDF to save its ideology.
Now it decries the “putsch” carried out by the citizens against the army.
Who will win this war? The Jews, or the Israelis? Just like the elections of 1996, the Jews will win on the tactical plane.
But again just like those elections, on the strategic plane the Israelis will win. For the Jews to really win, they need leadership that can create a completely new strategy, informed by its Jewish identity.
To create real change, the new defense minister must say: “The security strategy of the Jewish nation and the State of Israel is ‘Kill those who come to kill you – first.’ Any soldier who does not accept this principle should remove his uniform and release the IDF from the attitudes that are preventing it from doing its job.”
Obviously, that will not happen.
Netanyahu will never face off directly against Old Israel. The IDF will continue to clone its senior commanders according to the values of the radical Left. All of us will continue to be perceived as the new Nazis of the world, Israel’s legitimacy and diplomatic and security options will continue to contract – until the Jews realize that they must do more than win the elections: they must also lead the nation according to their values.
And what about the soldier, Elor Azariah? Has this entire episode brought us nothing more than a meaningless change of personnel in the defense ministry? Not exactly – nobody in the media will say this, but the undeniable fact is that immediately following the shooting in Hebron, the new intifada disappeared into thin air.
It is impossible to know how much time will pass until the monster rears its head once again. But one thing is clear: with the one moral bullet that Azariah shot into reality, he has – at least temporarily – neutralized the venom of the new anti-Judaism.
And that is a lot more than Netanyahu, Ya’alon, the IDF and its generals managed to do in an entire half-year of violent terrorism.Former MK and deputy speaker of the Knesset Moshe Feiglin is chairman of the Zehut political party, dedicated to providing Israel with authentic Jewish leadership based on Jewish identity and liberty.