As we approach one of the most sombre days in the Jewish calendar, Tisha b’Av, Israeli politicians should reflect on the damage that is being done to the cohesion of Israeli society by pushing ahead with legislation to limit the powers of the Supreme Court. Netanyahu, in a bid to remain prime minister, has made alliances with far-right parties that expect a return for their support, namely a lessening of Israel’s liberal democracy. The threat to the survival of the state is not from external enemies that caused so much suffering to past generations and for whom we mourn on Tisha b’Av, but from internal dissension that is self-inflicted.
Israel has enemies enough to confront and for the Netanyahu coalition to provoke such a strong reaction from Israelis is mind blowing; even members of the IDF, the guardians of Israel’s security, have voiced concerns about the dumbing down of democracy. These are serious issues that cannot be brushed aside to aid political ambition. Netanyahu is a very smart guy and he must realise his reform programme for the Supreme Court has to be toned down. The word “compromise” is one to add to his lexicon. The past should teach us something of the fatality of stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds.
Politicians, put aside self-interest and think of the huge responsibility you have to secure the well-being of the Jewish state: future generations will not thank you for undermining the great sacrifices made by pioneers in bringing into fruition a homeland for world Jewry. Stop now before you plunge the country, you claim to love, into irreparable division.