While living in the present, we must apply the lessons from the past, only then can we improve the future. Now that an election has been called for November 1, the country will have a 120-day window of opportunity to reflect on the last government’s performance; what did former prime minister Naftali Bennett do right and what brought about his downfall.
Thousands of words will be written and much radio and TV time will be devoted to discussing and analyzing his political contortions as well as his future. It’s all over but the country is left with some irreversible consequences like the expansion of illegal Arab housing, to mention just one.
You might have thought that now that a new prime minister has been installed, his opposition politicians would at least wait until the proverbial ink of his signature to the relevant document is dry, before beginning with criticism of his actions. But you would be wrong. It seems to be an Israeli character trait to “chap di fish var de nets,” as we say in Yiddish, to “catch the fish before they reach the net.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid has not even slept a night in his new bed following his inauguration, before the first accusation was made. The leader of the Shas party, Arye Deri had the audacity to criticize the new prime minister’s acceptance speech for having omitted the phrase “with God’s help” and for not having gone to pray at the Western Wall.
ראש ממשלה שלאחר מינויו לא הולך לשאת תפילה בכותל המערבי, שריד בית מקדשנו, וראש ממשלה שבנאומו הראשון משמיט את הביטוי ״בעזרת ה׳״, גורם לנו, המחנה היהודי והאמוני לתחושות קשות. הכותל והאמונה בבורא, הם אלו המייחדים אותנו כמדינה יהודית מכל העמים— אריה מכלוף דרעי (@ariyederi) July 2, 2022
Deri, a convicted criminal who financially cheated the state, an offense against God, set himself up as the defender of the Jewish and religious people when he said he “takes offense on behalf of our Creator.” What unspeakable arrogance. In no other civilized country would such a disgraced politician be allowed to return to the legislature.
The Shas Party’s choice for political leader does not reflect well on their spiritual heads, which no doubt had to sanction Deri’s appointment. That, to me, is politics corrupted by religion and vice versa. It seems to be a character trait of Israeli politicians to offend their political opponents at every opportunity, even with utterances that are far removed from their political activities.
Such conduct by members of Knesset contributes to our inability to conduct civilized and respectful debate in the chamber. Shas should never have a place in government. Unfortunately, as politics is often far removed from morality, it will be inevitable for the next right-wing politician, probably opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, to invite Shas to make up a workable government majority.
As for me, after Yamina and its predecessors have – after each of three elections – misused my trust and that of many others, that party does also not deserve consideration.
I hope and even predict, that in the forthcoming election, thousands who previously cast protest votes for unsuccessful fringe parties will this time place an envelope with the designated letter for Likud into the ballot box, so that the country again gets the government it so desperately needs for our security.
The writer, at 98, is the oldest working journalist and radio talk show host; both are Guinness World Records. He hosts Walter’s World on Israel National Radio and The Walter Bingham File on Israel Newstalk Radio, and regularly contributes to The Jerusalem Report.