Bennett should reconsider joining unity coalition, Israel needs change

We must put an end to this sickening phenomenon, and the only solution is change.

YAIR LAPID (left) walks with Naftali Bennett at the Knesset in Jerusalem in 2013. (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
YAIR LAPID (left) walks with Naftali Bennett at the Knesset in Jerusalem in 2013.
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett should reconsider his decision to back down from the idea of a unity coalition.
In the past week, Israel witnessed an unprecedented crisis: during an operation in Gaza, in which some 70% of the country’s citizens fell under the threat of rockets and needed to stay close to bomb shelters, militias took over certain areas, especially mixed Jewish-Arab cities, and in these areas, the rule of law doesn’t apply.
In most cases, Arab rioters who stock-piled weapons for years are now using them to terrorize Jewish citizens. In other cases, Jewish vigilantes, who came from all over the country, ostensibly to replace the police in protecting fellow Jews, are using their weapons according to their private judgment.
In other incidents, groups of extreme nationalistic Jews are walking around cities such as Netanya, Bat Yam and Tiberias, looking for Arabs to lynch.
The sources of the anarchy into which the country has descended are many – but the most dominant is the divisiveness nurtured between the groups which compose Israeli society. This divisiveness, which was the bread and butter of the current leadership, needs to end.
Remember when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called peaceful protesters near his residence in Balfour Street “anarchists”? Remember when Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich said that he doesn’t want his wife to give birth in the same room as an Arab woman? Remember Shas’s constant assaults on Russian immigrants?
We must put an end to this sickening phenomenon, and the only solution is unity through change.
Changing the current atmosphere, we must end the reality in which public figures are scoring points among their political base by slamming and degrading other groups. We need to stop applauding politicians who thrive on division and mudslinging and show them that those tactics do not work.
The only solution is to have all of our representatives, from far-right to far-left – including the Arab parties – sit together around the same table, which will be labeled the “restart coalition.”
It will not deal with sensitive core issues, but with strengthening the foundations of this country as both a Jewish and a democratic state.
The current leadership has invested itself tirelessly in weakening the democratic institutions of the country.
It slammed the courts; bashed the media; pummeled the police; and reduced non-elected public servants – like the state attorney and the attorney-general – to irrelevance.
It refrained from appointing a police chief for two long years. So how come people are surprised the police can’t deal with the internal strife and violence that has overtaken our streets?
The “restart coalition” would also have to repair the image of the elected Israeli representative.
The attitude of the current administration was well described by Public Security Minister Amir Ohana after the recent Mount Meron disaster; he said then that he’s “responsible,” but immediately added that “responsibility does not mean guilt.”
A perfect example of political responsibility without guilt or personal consequences was provided during the time of the coronavirus, when citizens were ordered to stay home, and countless reports emerged of politicians who either hosted relatives or visited them. No one had the integrity to resign over this betrayal of public trust.
Besides, what will Bennett gain from joining another Netanyahu-led coalition?
For years, the Likud has warned that if Netanyahu loses office, a left-wing government will come to power. Their campaign also labeled him as “strong Right.”
But is he Right?
In 2009, he promised to destroy Hamas. For years he’s been talking about annexation and dealing with illegal Arab settlements such as Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank and other villages in the Negev. For years he’s talked about reforming the legal system and for years has pledged to combat the spread of illegal weapons and lawlessness
in the Arab sector.
But instead, every Netanyahu-led government focused on maintaining the status quo in every field. This was the way to retain office, to promise big and do nothing. aAnd this is how we descended to anarchy.
But there is still time to do something. Israel is in desperate need of change.