Israelis deserve more

Israelis deserve a meticulously thought-out policy that will be bring an end to the current cycle of and prevent the next one

Yitzhak Aharonovitch (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yitzhak Aharonovitch
Henry Ford once said that thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. Over the past few days, some Israelis have felt that their elected officials in the Knesset have given up on thinking all together. First came the revelation that the members of the Knesset had approved Israel’s budget in a preliminary vote without even having the opportunity to read it and understand what they were voting on. This was followed by the legislative committee’s decision to approve a proposal allowing mortgages for first-time apartment purchasers of up to 90 percent of the value of the apartment, despite the role such mortgages played in the devastating 2008 financial crisis.
Yet it was the reaction of three senior members of the Netanyahu government to last weeks’ horrid murder of five men in a Jerusalem synagogue that truly demonstrates the intellectual paralysis that has spread through the Israeli leadership.
The first to offer a solution to the escalating cycle of Palestinian violence was Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, who proposed that Israel ease its gun ownership regulations, enabling more Israelis to bear arms, including former IDF officers and veterans of elite army units.
Aharonovich’s policy, even if limited to IDF veterans, is sure to achieve one thing – more violence. The fact that lax gun ownership regulations actually decrease general safety has been proven time and again.
America’s schools, university campuses and cities are far more dangerous than Israeli or European ones given the fact that Americans have the right to bear arms and purchase semi-automatic weapons in department stores. Distributing weapons to a society that suffers from a collective form of PTSD and is in constant fear of its impending doom is counterproductive, to say the least. Not to mention the fact that the Internal Security Ministry had actually contemplated hardening gun ownership regulations following an increase in domestic violence.
The second minister to offer a solution to last week’s terrorist attack was Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who called for the immediate destruction of the terrorists’ homes. Unlike the minister, there are those who have contemplated the effectiveness of this measure. Two IDF special commissions, one assembled in 2003 and another in 2005, found that demolishing terrorist’s homes only increases hatred toward Israel and actually leads to more terrorist attacks. The commissions therefore recommended that Israel avoid taking such measures in the future. But what does the IDF know about security when compared to former TV talk show host Lapid? Finally, it was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who stated last week that what Israel requires in these difficult times is a national unity government consisting of parties from Israel’s Left and Right wings. It is unclear why at a time when most Israelis expect actions rather than words the prime minister would propose to form a government that shall be characterized by inaction.
One that will be unable to agree on any course of action, carry out decisions or successfully contend with the cause of Palestinian violence.
Israelis deserve more than half-baked ideas and knee-jerk reactions from their elected leadership. They deserve a meticulously thought-out policy that will be bring an end to the current cycle of violence and prevent the next one – such as returning to the negotiating table. But thinking, as Ford said, is hard work. Which is probably why so few of our leaders engage in it.
The author is finishing his Mass Media studies at Tel Aviv University. He has previously contributed to The Jerusalem Post, 972online magazine and The Jewish Daily Forward. He blogs at