Shulamit S. Magnus
Jewish historian

Here’s What Has to Happen. Right Now.

There are no words to convey the demoralization and disgust that, in this so horrible time, we have the government we do. Corrupt, self-serving, narcissistic, no low is too low. The depth keeps getting surpassed.

There are no ten innocent men (or among the few women in that camp) in Likud. If there were, they would have demanded the keys back from Netanyahu long ago, well before one of Ben Gvir’s thugs said what he did yesterday, making the day of every Jew-hater in the world and endangering us more than we already are.

Netanyahu is responsible for the disgrace that is this government, whose members he scraped off a sordid heap to serve as “ministers,” despite glaring lack of competence and utter unfitness for any public office, never mind, the highest ranks. He inflated the government with do-nothing ministers and ministries (Minister of Tradition– really?), with the billions all that costs, taking it from woefully underserviced health care, from (real, professionally supervised and implemented), education, from social services. He keeps them on, no matter what they do. The latest horror is just the latest. Shall we recall burn Harawa, let the “hilltop youth,” as if this were a youth group, multiply, free the “holy” murderer of a Palestinian family?

He is responsible for all this.

A week ago, he was blaming the army, the intelligence agencies — the only ones between us and Hamas and Hezbollah — while exempting himself from those dreaded words, “responsibility, responsible,” as in, me. When fierce blowback came, he “apologized,” “I was mistaken.” But he’d put it out there and, as we know, corrections after the “mistake”– see where the New York Times puts “corrections,” as opposed to lies on the front page — have nothing approaching the impact of the “mistaken” statement.

And now, another one from him, saying that the refusal of reservists to serve in the army of an autocratic regime is responsible for Yihye Sinwar, psychopathic decision maker of Hamas, launching the October 7 attack. No low too low, nothing he won’t say or do on his own behalf, in the supreme of goal of his political survival. After fierce blowback from Ahim la Neshek, Brothers in Arms, a main organizer of the protests against him, who have been organizing massive support for the survivors of the massacres and for the displaced of the south and now, of the north, too, people who, unlike Netanyahu’s sons, are all serving in the IDF, as are all the reservists who refused VOLUNTEER duty a few months ago — they did not refuse mandatory service, but volunteer duty– another deliberate lie and incitement from him– he walked that revolting statement back, knowing that the damage was done. The idea was out to his crazies, same as with the earlier “mistake” blaming the army and intelligence services.

He knows exactly what he is doing.

There is nothing to expect of him but more of the same.

Gantz and his people are now part of that cess pool, enabling it.

Lapid said again this miserable morning that he would join this government for the duration of the war if the raving, racist, pyromaniac lunatics who disgrace and endanger us daily were dismissed.

Netanyahu won’t do anything that is not in his personal interest and Lapid’s proposal isn’t that. After all, in such a scenario, Netanyahu would be without a government and he would not be PM after the war, and that is all that matters to him.

So it’s up to Gantz and his people.

There is no condemning what Netanyahu condones but continuing to be part of it.

Gantz, Saar, Eizenkot, Troper:

Go into that man’s office, now, today

and say:

it’s them or us.

Accept Lapid’s offer. Bring Liberman in. End this.

You are now responsible for him. That was your choice, your decision.

Do not insult us with empty words, condemnations.

We need acts, now. Decisive actions that end the madness that is this government.

Lapid offers a plan.

Take it.

Or this is on you as much as on him.

About the Author
Shulamit S. Magnus Professor Emerita of Jewish Studies and History at Oberlin College. She is the author of four published books and numerous articles on Jewish modernity and the history of Jewish women, and winner of a National Jewish Book award and other prizes. Her new book, the first history of agunot and iggun across the map of Jewish history, with a critique of current policy on Jewish marital capitivity and proposals for fundamental change to end this abuse, is entitled, "Thinking Outside the Chains to Free Agunot and End Iggun." She is a founder of women's group prayer at the Kotel and first-named plaintiff on a case before the Supreme Court of Israel asking enforcement of Jewish women's already-recognized right to read Torah at the Kotel. She opposes the Kotel deal, which would criminalize women's group prayer at the Kotel and end the site's status as a "national holy site," awarding it instead, to the haredi establishment. Her opinions have been published in the Forward, Tablet, EJewish Philanthropy, Moment, the Times of Israel, and the Jerusalem Post.
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