Yossi Sarid meets Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, in 1998.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Pushovers don’t die, they are simply replaced by new pushovers, goes the Israeli adage. But in Israel’s Right, the pushovers don’t die and they aren’t even replaced by new pushovers. The Right always celebrates its political victory and in the blink of an eye, its leaders become tools in the hands of the Left.
Menachem Begin surrendered the entire Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and destroyed Yamit and an entire settlement bloc.
Yitzhak Shamir sent Israel to sit in rooms with plastic-covered windows and doors, waiting for Iraqi missiles to explode. For the first time in Israel’s history, he left the state’s security in the hands of the US.
Benjamin Netanyahu hugged Yasser Arafat and gave him almost the entire city of Hebron.
Ariel Sharon destroyed Gush Katif.
And now Avigdor Liberman is already making more leftist declarations than his predecessor in the Defense Ministry.
What is wrong with the Right? Why is it that when the Left is in power, it rules and leads the nation according to its principles, while when the Right is in power, the Left continues to rule and lead according to its principles? And it rules by means of the elected officials of the Right, with virtually no opposition.
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Why does that happen time and again? Usually, the Right attempts to answer this question on the basis of faulty character traits. Begin was weak, Netanyahu is spineless, Sharon was always a leftist and Liberman is simply corrupt, etc. But that is ridiculous. Every leader has his strong and weak points. The above elected leaders of the Right are no less worthy than the leaders of the Left. On the contrary, they are more talented than most. The answer does not lie with their character traits. It goes much deeper.
The Israeli Right does not really have an alternative agenda to the Left. The distinction between Left and Right (between nationalism and universalism) does not revolve around questions of peace and security; it revolves around the question of identity: Is Israel a Jewish state or a state of all its citizens? Zionism built Israel as a state of all its citizens. The Knesset (with the exception of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee) is the Knesset of the state of all its citizens. The IDF is the army of the state of all its citizens. The media are the media of the state of all its citizens, the justice system, academia, culture – Israel is a state of all its citizens. And so, when the Left rises to power – it is “all systems go” for the political actualization of the state of all its citizens principle.
And the Right? The Right has never attempted to formulate a policy that revolves around the Jewish identity of the State of Israel.
After Defense Minister Liberman destroys Amona, releases terrorists, opens roadblocks and freezes construction in Judea and Samaria, Israel will go to elections.
At that point, he (and, with different nuances, the rest of the Right) will issue some belligerent declarations about the Arabs and will once again rake in the votes of the pushovers who never die and never need to be replaced.
To change the entire paradigm and bring true peace and security to Israel, our state must connect first and foremost to its Jewish identity – and identify itself as a unique, liberty-based Jewish state.
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