Israel’s in despair. It should’ve been for decades

Israel is in despair. 

Israelis, or more specifically, civically aware and civically engaged Israelis have been protesting for the entirety of 2023, voicing their opposition to their Prime Minister’s latest and greatest, the Great Beheading of Israel’s Judiciary. As opposition grew, it seemed that Bibi may be reconsidering his plans, but now we know that he had no real intentions to do that. Or, he may have been overpowered by other members of his coalition. 

Israel is in despair, but its reason for despair is false. I’m aware that my position on this matter is quite unpopular, nevertheless, I want to emphasize the selectiveness of these civically engaged Israelis when it comes to what they see as a reason for protesting. 

While there are people who protest Israel’s policy regarding the treatment of Palestinians, their numbers are minute compared to those who only cry out for the “preservation of Israeli democracy”. 

Yes, in my view, Israelis were about 56 years too late when they began to storm the streets in January. When Israel, as part of the Six Day War, among other territories, seized the land now known as the West Bank, no one protested in the streets, worrying about the Palestinian political situation, or a lack of their political rights in a land with no representation whatsoever. No one protested because that was war. We won the war, and that’s it. We won and they lost. 

Must be tough being a loser. 

But in 1967, Palestinians living in the West Bank lost everything. From then on, a foreign power ruled over them. It doesn’t matter that during these 56 years, their leaders weren’t ready to sign a compromise. Real people, people on the ground had no choice, no freedom to choose what they wanted to do with their lives. In other words, they had and have not been awarded the right to self-determination. 

Back then, it was war, and Israelis were relieved after a quick victory. But now, it’s a war again, a war against Israeli autocracy, or an Israeli autocracy that for the first time, may oppress some Jews and not just Arabs. That’s new. That’s only supposed to happen elsewhere. Not in Israel. 

Because Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. 

I hate that sentence. 

Israel is in despair, but citizens’ worries are not because of the people the state represses. Not because of stealing other people’s freedoms. Citizens have not woken up suddenly to realize they are taking part in enforcing apartheid over a neighboring people. 

But because “democracy is in danger”, and “democracy is dead.” 

But there could never be a democracy in a state that prioritizes one religion over others. One way of life over others. 

Israel is in despair, but there’s no one to help. Biden did what he’s allowed to do, he sent a strongly worded message to his Israeli colleague along the lines of; ‘Stop, this isn’t you!’. 

But it is. 

Why should this come as a surprise? Netanyahu never wanted the prosperity or freedom of the people he rules over. Why should this new law come as a surprise? The way he presides over a horrid treatment of the Palestinians should tell us everything we need to know about his lack of caring. 

Israel is in despair, but it should have been for decades. If Israel would have protested then, maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t have, as a country, normalized the level of apathy our leaders have towards their employers. 

About the Author
Fred is an 18-year-old writer sharing his many thoughts about American and Israeli politics. He was born in Budapest and since he was 11, he is also an Israeli citizen.
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