Harvey Temkin

An open letter to Bibi

Dear Bibi–I hate to have to write this letter, but I must. I cannot see Israel self-destruct without at least making a direct plea to you to save this wonderful country that we waited 2000 years for.  In 75 years, we Jews have done amazing things, taking this land from a barren desert to become the start-up nation. Now, we Jews are destroying it.

We have withstood wars and enmity from our neighbors from the day we declared independence. We are just now commemorating 50 years since the Yom Kippur war, the only other event in my memory that came as close to destroying Israel as the current situation does. To this day, we are still fighting almost daily terror attacks from people who continue to want to throw us into the sea.

Whenever I come back to Israel after my annual trip to the United States, my American friends always ask me if I am afraid of wars or terrorism.  I always tell them no.  I am wholly confident that the strong and cutting-edge Israeli army along with its brethren in the Shin Bet and the Mossad will keep me safe and let me sleep at night.

Today,  however,  I cannot sleep at night and I am afraid for Israel, not for military reasons, but rather for reasons that have plagued us for thousands of years.  We cannot self-govern.  Instead, we fight our brethren in the name of “politica” and we self-destruct. We end up with Jew fighting Jew and destroying our freedom.

Bibi, I confess that I have never been a supporter, but I must admit that you have accomplished some amazing things during your tenure,  including making our little state of under 10 million people a world power.  We have been hi-tech superstars and our medical research has helped millions worldwide. At times we can be a light unto nations. At other times, though, we bring shame on Jews throughout the world. For the first time this past summer, I criticized Israel in front of my non-Jewish friends. It felt awful to have to be so credible.

But, as quickly as everything you might have achieved appears, you are now leading us into the path of self-destruction.   When I see Ben Gvir and his thugs fighting against fellow Jews in the streets of Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur over whether a mehitsa must be erected against the will of the people who wanted to daven, I shudder.  Jew against Jew physically fighting on Yom Kippur.  Is there anything we can do to stop the craziness coming out of your government that is causing 40% of Israelis to want to leave the Jewish homeland that we prayed for for 2000 years?

At dinner tonight, for the first time I brought up to my wife the idea of putting our apartment up for sale. I have always been so proud of my Israeli citizenship, yet now I am talking of abandoning ship. I still can’t imagine doing it, but I also don’t want to participate in, or be present for, Israel’s downfall.

After dinner,  we went grocery shopping. I was shocked at the prices.  Then, I justified how much we were paying by the great rate (3.84) we were getting for dollars when we exchange money. Less than two years ago, we were getting just over 3.1 shekels for each dollar exchanged.

On our way home, I mentioned this to my wife. She responded that the average Israeli isn’t carrying around a bunch of dollars in their pocket to exchange into shekels. Instead they have shekels that are now worth less than 80% of what they were less than two years ago. Her next question was very telling. Other than those Israelis who sold their companies to Google, how can any Israelis afford to live here?

Bibi, all hope is not gone, although only immediate steps will stop the descent. How about this? As soon as the knesset reconvenes, have a law passed granting yourself immunity from prosecution and ending this seemingly endless trial (I read someplace that it could continue until 2028 or 2029.  Who knows if we’ll even still be around then?)

Sure,  you have likely done some things that may have pushed the envelope, but frankly the stress and hatred that your prosecution brings with it is a price that Israel can’t pay today.

After immunity is granted, you have to obligate yourself to immediately dissolve the government and create a new unity government including hopefully Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid.  Let Benny be Prime Minister for the first two years–he deserves it.

I will copy Yair and Benny on this letter. I know that it will be a difficult pill to swallow, but, Benny and Yair, please take the high road and help be the saviors of modern Israel. I know people will be mad at you, but I hope that knowing that you are doing the right thing will help you justify your actions.

The critical step will be tying you, Bibi, down.  You, Yair and Benny will have to figure out how to ensure that you won’t renege.  This may be the hardest part.   Your track record is not good, so you will have to accept each step of the package in a way that even the best magician in the world could not escape from.

Bibi, as I sat during Neilah, while Jews were fighting Jews in Tel Aviv, that  distinct image of God closing the gates struck me hard. Not only did I pray to be written in the book of life for another year, but I also prayed that Israel be given additional time to repent and let our beautiful State return in 5784 to erase all of the hatred created in 5783 and return to our days as of old.

About the Author
I am a 67 year old retired attorney who practiced law in Madison, Wisconsin for almost 40 years. My wife and I raised 3 sons, who are now grown. One of those sons made aliyah about 10 years ago. He has blessed us with a grandson who is the most beautiful and gentle grandson that God has ever created (and I checked with my wife to confirm the accuracy of that last statement).
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