Bibi is destroying our country

Many Israelis, and not only Israelis, are deeply concerned about what Prime Minister elect, Benjamin Netanyahu, is doing to our country.

Had he been prepared to stand down and not seek re-election, Israelis would not have had to suffer the likely consequences of his remaining in power.

The question is not whether we have a centrist government or a right-wing coalition that is spearheaded by Likud. In any normal democracy there are swings from left to right and back again following elections
However, we in Israel are facing at least four key issues that could threaten the fabric of Israel’s democracy and potentially even the very future of our country.

1. In the three-quarters of a century that have passed since the State of Israel came into being, we have never been faced by the prospect of a right-wing government that will include political extremists, fascists and those convicted of or facing criminal charges holding key positions of power.

They will be dictating how the IDF acts and responds to those Palestinian perceived as threatening Israel’s security. They will be determining where new settlements are established. They will be issuing directives to the police force as to how to deal with civil unrest. (We remember only too well how they treated peaceful demonstrators last time Bibi was in power.)

2. They will seek to foist a right-wing, nationalistic, messianic and homophobic agenda on our school children and ensure that pluralism has no place in our educational system.

3. They plan to extend the powers granted to the Kotel Rabbi, who already determines how people pray at the Western Wall, so that egalitarian prayer and women reading from the Torah will even be banned from the small platform known as Ezrat Yisrael where they currently take place.

The Chief Rabbinate will be granted a monopoly on conversions, so that no other rabbinic body, including Orthodox ones, will be able to conduct conversions that will be recognized by the State of Israel under the Law of Return.

4. Even more dangerous is their intention to introduce legislation that will disempower the Supreme Court and remove the checks and balances that are an essential component of any true democracy.

Bibi will be responsible for whatever transpires, and this sadly will be the legacy of an immensely capable politician, who is more interested in his own future than in that of his country.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
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