The Left's yearning for peace legitimizes lies and voter deception - opinion

The Bennett-Lapid government is the Oslo Accords of the national-religious factions who still support Bennett.

 PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the Knesset session in which their government was inaugurated in June. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the Knesset session in which their government was inaugurated in June.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

The Oslo Accords and the process that followed it were, above all else, a case of moral bankruptcy. The Left’s yearning for peace legitimized inexplicable lies and voter deception that led to bloodshed and political corruption never seen before in Israel.

Thirteen days before the 1992 election, Yitzhak Rabin said: “It’s inconceivable that even in times of peace we would descend from the Golan Heights. Anyone who considers descending from the Heights will be irresponsibly abandoning Israel’s security.” But immediately after entering office, Rabin initiated efforts to cut a deal with Hafez Assad, the Syrian dictator in which Israel would cede the entire Golan to Syria. Luckily, Assad wanted more.

Shifting from Syria, Rabin pursued peace with the PLO and Yasser Arafat, a ruthless terrorist organization and its arch-terrorist leader with whom Rabin had pledged never to recognize or negotiate with during his election campaign.

When the opposition and religious demonstrators called foul play, Rabin depicted them as “enemies of peace” and no more than “propellers” blowing wind in the face of that cherished peace.

Following the 1993 signing of the accords, as Israeli withdrawals proceeded, the lies and institutionalized incitement against the demonstrators were internalized and rationalized by the media, academia and leftist elite. Rabin received international acclaim and the Nobel Peace Prize, while 1,500 civilian fatalities caused by Palestinian terror were dubbed as the “price of peace.”

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the state memorial ceremony marking the 26th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination on October 18/  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the state memorial ceremony marking the 26th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination on October 18/ (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Netanyahu and the religious Right were blamed for Oslo’s failures – and even for Rabin’s assassination. But it was the blown-up buses that eventually derailed the corrupt political process. A process that was morally bankrupt from the outset.

The Bennett-Lapid government is the Oslo Accords of the national-religious factions who still support Bennett. Their yearning for public acceptance and to be part of “mainstream Israel” is legitimizing Bennett’s lies and voter deception.

On the eve of the recent election, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett declared that it is undemocratic to appoint a prime minister with 10 seats in Knesset. He also signed a “binding” document on national television that “under no circumstances would he sit in a government with Ra’am or Meretz because they are anti- and post-Zionists,” adding that “under absolutely no circumstances would he form a government with Yair Lapid as prime minister, in rotation or in any other format.” Now we know that is exactly what Bennett planned all along and is what he eventually did when presented with the opportunity.

To add to this surreal situation, and despite pledging before the election that they would refrain from doing so, the government is now legislating a bill that would, in effect, prevent the head of the opposition and the leader of the largest party in parliament from running for election.

This would have seemed like science fiction before the election.

In the few months since its establishment, this government has accepted the inevitability of an Iranian nuclear deal and has brought the process of Palestinian statehood back to center stage, with leading ministers paying visits to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas despite his unwavering insistence on paying terrorists who murdered Israeli civilians.

The US has declared it will open a Palestinian consulate in Israel’s capital and that it does not rule out Jerusalem being the Palestinians’ capital. MK Ahmad Tibi, who has expressed avid sympathy for Palestinian terrorism, has celebrated Bennett’s government as being “the first Palestinian-Israeli government in history” and has infused doubt into the legitimacy of Israel being defined as a Jewish state.

Nevertheless, many in the religious Right are still romancing Israel’s first religious prime minister – who would ironically not be wearing a kippah had Rabin not been assassinated. Bennett went back to wearing a kippah, he recently said, as a sign of solidarity against the vicious attacks on religious Zionists after the ill-fated night in November 1995.

Many in the religious Right have convinced themselves of the government’s merits and the importance of having a prime minister who puts on tefillin almost every morning (especially when photographed) and observes Shabbat. Everything else has become secondary. They “hope for the best” and are “optimistic” about the government’s ability to do “good things.” Even Bennett’s chaotically mismanaged COVID crisis, culminating in the needless loss of more than 1,500 lives, is now being described by the mainstream media and a prominent religious reporter as a great success.

A prime minister with a kippah might be a precedence of significance, but the Bennett-Lapid government is also the first government in Israel with key members who oppose basic Zionist concepts, including the designation of Israel as the Jewish state.

This government is the most detrimental development to Zionism since Oslo – perhaps more so. The religious Right should unequivocally oppose Bennett and his morally bankrupt government.

The writer is an author, most recently of Targeted Killings, Law and Counter-Terrorism Effectiveness, a research fellow at the International Counterterrorism Institute and a founder of Acumen Risk Ltd.