Ron Kronish

Bibi’s Two Biggest Lamentable Lies

Courtesy of wiki-commons images: Israeli anti-judicial "reform" protests
Courtesy of wiki-commons images: Israeli anti-judicial "reform" protests

Psalm 34:13. “Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies”

Three days ago, at a major ceremony for Israel’s fallen soldiers on Israel’s Memorial Day, the most somber day in the Israeli calendar, Israel’s Prime Minister had the chutzpah (gall) to repeat two of his biggest lies (among many more) concerning the war in Gaza: 1) Israel would go on to total victory over Hamas, and 2) Israel would bring home ALL the hostages from captivity in Gaza. When I heard both lies uttered by him once again on the radio, I, along with many people in Israel, was nauseated and disappointed.

First of all, it is very clear that Israel is not achieving “total victory” over Hamas. It certainly has not done so in the first 7 months of this war. And it is highly unlikely that it will do so in the next 7 months or the next 7 years. This is simply not an achievable goal. We spent 18 years in Lebanon and did not defeat Hezbollah then and we are making the same mistakes again.

The costs are clearly too high—both for the citizens of Israel and for the Palestinians in Gaza. The humanitarian catastrophe—which has already become the lot of more than two million Palestinians in Gaza—is horrific.  The whole world sees it and is rebelling against it. And the cost to lives of Israeli soldiers, which grows every week in this war of attrition, which seemingly has no end, is beginning to take a toll on Israeli society, especially when it looks like this government plans to occupy Gaza once again forever, as it does in the West Bank.

Moreover, the costs of this war to the Israeli economy are becoming very significant. Tourism has completed dried up. Many people are out-of-work and businesses are collapsing. Investment in high tech is way down. And the national debt is increasing astronomically.

Furthermore, the physical and mental costs to about 100,000 Israelis who have been evacuated from their homes in the north and the south –and many more who have self-evacuated–are very serious. They can’t go home until this war ends. If it is a forever war, they will never be able to go home.

In addition to all this, Bibi’s lies and policies are leading Israel to become an international pariah. His statements about “going it alone” are quite ridiculous, as is his disdain for the Democratic president in the USA, the most pro-Israel president in the history of America. This crazy idea of fighting the war in the south and the north, without American assistance, is another one of Bibi’s big lies, repeated over and over again for his populist base.

The second big lie, of course, is related to the first one. Bibi and his buddies—Ben Gvir and Smotrich, “leaders” of the far-right political parties in the government—have no intention of redeeming the 132 hostages in Gaza (most of whom are probably dead by now). The forever war is more important to them. Ben Gvir and Smotrich have said this explicitly. Bibi doesn’t dare say this but he goes along with them (to save his coalition!). But the fact is that he has abandoned the hostages for many months now.

It is widely reported in the press in Israel that Bibi has sacrificed the hostages for the ongoing war effort and that he has missed many opportunities to cut a deal indirectly with Hamas through the mediation efforts of the USA, Egypt and Qatar. Moreover, it has been reported that he has not attended one funeral of the people massacred on October 7th. Nor has he spent much time with families of hostages (except for those from right-wing families), due to his fear of their rightful wrath.

The families of the hostages – and their friends and Israeli citizens who care about them—have demonstrated over and over again every Saturday night—and often during the week—in Tel Aviv and in cities and towns all over Israel. Ever since the first exchange of hostages for prisoners last November, these demonstrations have brought no positive results. Bibi and his buddies have hardened their hearts to their outcries. Nothing has worked so far, and as time goes on, more and more hostages are dying or are being killed. This is driving the families of the hostages crazy, and they are getting angrier and angrier at Bibi and his coalition, as are growing numbers of other Israeli citizens.

As I wrote in my last blog post, many senior people in Israel—including the former Chief-of-Staff of the IDF and other former generals—have said publicly that redeeming the hostages is more important than pursuing the war right now. In their view (and mine), the highest moral priority in Israel is to free the hostages via a difficult deal, which would include releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.  In a survey by Kan news last week, a majority of 52 percent of all Israelis said that they want a complete end to the war in return for a full hostage release.

However, Ben Gvir and Smotrich and their ilk in the government have made it eminently clear that they would not stay in this government if that were to happen (which would be great, in my opinion and in the opinion of the majority of Israeli citizens—all polls show that if there were elections now, there would be a new governing coalition). Also, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot of the National Union Party—who joined the government at the beginning of the war and are members of the “war cabinet”– have said this many times, but they don’t do anything about it except continuing to talk. By now, it is time for them to leave this coalition and lead the rebellion in the streets against this immoral government.

Many millions of people in Israel, including myself, are fed up with Bibi’s lamentable lies and his obtuseness in refusing to do what is necessary to make a deal to bring the hostages home. We can no longer listen to him on the radio or watch him repeat his ridiculous hollow slogans on television. Interviews with many people in the mainstream press are revealing an increasing revulsion with this man and his consistent inability to tell the truth.

Not only are we in Israel sick of this irresponsible leader. So are most of the leaders of the international community, who view him as the root of the problem in Israel now, and not part of the solution.

For all these reasons, I believe that sooner or later (hopefully sooner)  the people of Israel are going to rise up in large numbers and demand that Bibi resign, for the sake of Israel’s immediate and long-term future.  Even the founding editor of the Times of Israel, David Horovitz,  called for Bibi to resign yesterday!

Certainly, when it becomes completely clear that most (or even all) of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza are not coming home, neither dead or alive, the sane and sensitive people of Israel will rebel against him, as many thousands are already doing. In the absence of any courageous MK’s in the government—who could and should resign to bring down this shameful coalition—the citizens of Israel will need to do so, with unprecedented protests to make it crystal clear that he no longer has the support of his people and that a new government of responsibility is needed.

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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