Ron Kronish

Bibi is bringing disaster upon Israel: Shame on him!

Israel's parliament, The Knesset, courtesy of wikimedia
Israel"s parliament, The Knesset, courtesy of Wikimedia

Yesterday, the parliament of Israel, the Knesset, passed a law to make judicial review much harder for the courts of Israel. This legislation—which is the first of many planned by this government to weaken the judiciary in Israel– was enacted after the failure of so-called last-minute compromise talks between the government and the opposition. They never had much chance to succeed in the first place. It was mostly a fake show to try to please certain audiences, like the President of the United States and other onlookers who care deeply about Israel, but it didn’t work because the Prime Minister of Israel was beholden to the extremists in his coalition and never really committed to any compromise (despite his lies and promises that he would do it).

After the collapse of the talks, Bibi strutted into the Knesset with his usual smirk on his face, and then sat next to his super extremist colleagues in the Knesset —Ben Gvir, Smotrich, Levin and others, a gang of neo-fascists and racists—while they were about to pass the first law to begin to turn Israel into a dictatorship!  They succeeded in passing the “cancellation of reasonableness” law 64-0 . All members of the opposition abstained and staged a walk-out. They were clearly fed up with the whole thing.

Now the government and the legislature are officially “unreasonable“. There is hardly a reasonable person in it! And, there is no more judicial review! This gang of thieves and fanatics can act as irrationally and unfairly as they like. (Some of them have been doing it for quite a while already.) They can appoint whomever they want, pass whatever racist and oppressive laws they like, without the Supreme Court being able to rule that this or that law is unreasonable or “extremely unreasonable” (as in the case of a former minister in the governments of Israel who was not allowed to be in the current government because he is a convicted criminal twice—his name is Aryeh Deri.)

Who brought this upon us? Who is responsible for this ? How did this happen?

None other than Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu!

Bibi has no shame! No more sense of responsibility. He has totally lost it by bringing the most radical extremist fundamentalists into his government who are controlling him. He is a disaster for the citizens of Israel, for the Jewish people, for Diaspora Jews, for humanity.

He failed to listen to everyone that mattered: the leaders of the army and all the security services of the past and the present, the leaders of the business sector, the president of the United States of America, the leaders of the opposition in Israel, and the millions of Israelis who have been demonstrating against him and his crazed associates in the government for the past 6 months. He has given up on listening to rational people. He is even willing to risk Israel’s security, to preserve his own extreme right-wing coalition and to keep himself in power.

Who else failed us?

The so-called “moderate“ or “sane“ members of the Likud party: first and foremost, the Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who spoke out a few months ago against this judicial coup but got cold feet this time; secondly, former mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, who was once “normal “ when he ran the city but has become a “Bibist” and wants to inherit his mantle; Yuli Edelstein, who was once an ethical person and a good educator, but  was also afraid to speak up this time for fear of his Knesset seat, and other Likud MKs who lack moral courage just like all the others.

At this fateful moment, they all acted cowardly. They were afraid of Bibi’s wrath. In fact, he threatened to fire anyone who voted against this anti-democratic law. He acted like his friends Putin and Erdogan, by exercising total (or totalitarian) authority of all the members of his political party, which he has dominated for the past two decades.

What will happen next?

There will be  appeals to the Supreme Court to rule this new law as unconstitutional (even though we don’t have a constitution, but we do have basic laws, which are like a constitution). If the Supreme Court rules that this law is in conflict with the basic laws of Israel, which I hope that they do, then this unreasonable government will have to decide if it listens to reason and obeys the law or not (most likely not).

In the meantime, the protest movement will continue and expand, to try to prevent other anti-democratic laws from passing. It will be a long and difficult struggle, but many people in Israel see this as an existential issue, and feel that they must keep raising their voice for sanity and democracy. I am with them and so are other members of my family here.

In addition to all this, we have recently learned that Bibi –and his favorite hospital (Sheba Medical Center, outside of Tel Aviv)– have lied to us about his health. We now know that he has a chronic heart problem, which acted up lately, so that his doctors had to install a pacemaker. He has kept this a secret for a long time and he violated protocol by not reporting to the public about his health once a year.

Maybe his health will lead him to resign and take care of himself, instead of destroying democracy in Israel. I wish he would go away already and leave us alone! He has wrought so much distress and destruction on Israeli society, with more to come! However, this is not likely to happen, and even if it did, it is not clear that we would get a normal leader from this insane unreasonable political party known as Likud.

Israel is facing a very dangerous and deleterious government, which does not have the common good at heart and has many evil plans for the months and years ahead. These plans must be resisted by the opposition in the Knesset and by civil society in Israel. This is why the protest movement will continue. It is our only hope at the moment.

During the next 7 weeks, we will read messages of comfort and hope in our synagogues every shabbat from the prophet Isaiah. The voice of Isaiah is very much needed in Israeli society today, as it was in ancient days. Among other things, Isaiah encourages those of us with a conscience to speak up for a better Jerusalem and a better Israel, one that will be based on justice and righteousness. In the 7th prophetic reading of consolation, Isaiah said:

For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent.

For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still.

We who care about a democratic Israel must speak up and make our voices heard.

About the Author
Rabbi Dr Ron Kronish is the Founding Director the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), which he directed for 25 years. Now retired, he is an independent educator, author, lecturer, writer, speaker, blogger and consultant. He is the editor of 5 books, including Coexistence and Reconciliation in Israel--Voices for Interreligious Dialogue (Paulist Press, 2015). His new book, The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue, a View from Jerusalem, was published by Hamilton Books, an imprint of Rowman and LIttelfield, in September 2017. He recently (September 2022) published a new book about peacebuilders in Israel and Palestine entitled Profiles in Peace: Voices of Peacebuilders in the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, which is available on Amazon Books, Barnes and Noble and the Book Depository websites,
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