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Smotrich for education minister – and 4 other jokes

Appointing a self-described 'proud homophobe' for the post would be hilarious if Netanyahu hadn't actually proposed it
Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich in the Knesset on June 8, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich in the Knesset on June 8, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

In an interview Saturday Night on channel 12, Yair Lapid, chair of the Yesh Atid party, touched on the deal brokered by Benjamin Netanyahu, in which the religious-Zionist Jewish Home party merged with the Kahanist, Jewish Power party, and Bezalel Smotrich, the hard-right leader of the National Union party, was offered the post of Minister of Education.

Lapid revealed that this deal is what finally pushed him to merge with Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience party and accept the number two slot, since he now sees it as a national imperative to do whatever possible to ensure that such a hard-right coalition not become the ruling bloc in the next Knesset.

Although I certainly wish the new Blue and White party well, elections are never predictable. Moreover, even if the Blue and White party wins, it may not be able to form a coalition. Thus, I think we need to prepare for the possibility of a hard-right governing coalition.

With this in mind, I have decided to do my part in helping the new government think through its ministerial appointments for the next round. I will limit my picks to five, since Netanyahu will likely take most of the portfolios for himself anyway.

  1. Minister of Education — Bezalel Smotrich (National Union/Jewish Home)

In this case, I am just following Netanyahu’s lead. Smotrich is well known for helping organize the Parade of Beasts in 2006 — a protest against the gay pride parade in which donkeys were marched around Jerusalem. Though he has since claimed that this parade was a youthful indiscretion, he is still a “proud homophobe” (his words) and believes most Israelis would rather be “normal.” Smotrich also supports separating Jews and Arabs in hospital wards, since why would a woman who just gave birth to a nice Jewish boy want to lie next to a woman whose baby might want to kill hers 20 years later (again, his words). Many might feel these views to be a tad harsh, but on the bright side, I am sure our new textbooks will be colorful under Smotrich’s guiding influence.

  1. Minister of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services — Yaakov Litzman (UTJ)

As the leader of the Ashkenazi Haredi party, Rabbi Litzman is an expert at labor, or more accurately, how to ensure that his constituency can be supported by other people’s labor… at least until they are old enough not to be drafted. Moreover, as he is also against his constituency learning English and math in their schools, it would be unfair to force them to try to get jobs — it is hard to find good paying work without these skills. Litzman’s qualifications for this ministry extend into social services as well. Recently, Australia has tried to extradite Malka Leifer, a school principal who allegedly molested dozens of girls under her care. Litzman has fought like a lion  to keep her from being extradited or doing any jail time for her actions, which is exactly the kind of leader we need watching over the welfare of our children and other vulnerable citizens. With any luck, Israel can be a haven for frum Jewish pedophiles everywhere.

  1. Minister of Defense — Itamar Ben Gvir (Jewish Power/Jewish Home)

As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense, and it is hard to be more offensive than Itamar Ben Gvir, a lawyer from Hebron turned politician. Ben Gvir has made his mark by defending every important Jewish person or organization accused of terrorism against Arabs, such as the arsonists who burned down the Dawabsheh house, and we can expect no less of him as defense minister. Ben Gvir has great respect for iconic Jewish leaders such as Meir Kahane and Baruch Goldstein, a picture of whom graces his living room. His first move as defense minister will likely be to expel any Arab who is disloyal to the state, but how this will be determined is unclear; perhaps a perfect rendition of Hatikva would be a good test. Though Ben Gvir was exempted from army service due to his hard-right beliefs, he did once steal the emblem off Yitzhak Rabin’s car, which shows that he was sayeret material if any proof was ever needed.

  1. Minister of Health — Shlomo Gordon (Zehut)

For now, Zehut is polling under the threshold, but some of us have our fingers crossed, hoping for the best, since who would make a better Minister of Health than Shlomo Gordon, who has worked tirelessly to bring to the public’s attention the number one health risk in Israel: vaccines. With a new informed consent policy, the state will not be forcing parents to have their children inoculated, and parents will be able to stand up against “big-pharma,” with its autism-causing (sic) and mercury poisoning (sic) vaccines. The non-vaccinating community has already brought back the measles, and with any luck, a strong push against required vaccinations can turn Israel into the measles, mumps, and rubella capital of the world. This could be a refreshing change from our current reputation as startup capital. #MakeWhoopingCoughGreatAgain

  1. Foreign Minister — Eli Yishai (Yachad)

Finally, Israel has long been fighting over its bad image in the larger world, and we need a new approach to public relations. Enter Eli Yishai and his Yachad party. Here is a party that has it all. If we want to support the new homophobic approach of the incoming Education Minister Smotrich — Yachad has that, with its campaign promise that a vote for them is a vote against having two fathers. If we want to deal with the crisis between Israel and American Jewry, who could be better than the candidate who said that a vote for him is a vote to stop the Reform, mixed prayer, women with tefillin and bar mitzvahs for dogs? He even wrote the catchy slogan, “So that the Western Wall won’t become a [night]-club.” Finally, Yishai has already anticipated the Israeli government’s new love of the Kahanist party, since in the previous 2015 election, it was Yachad, and not Jewish Home, that joined with the Jewish Power party. I am sure with Eli Yishai as foreign minister, there will be serious changes in our international image. Sadly, Yachad is polling below threshold now, but some of us are optimistic.

Postscript: The above, of course, is meant as humor, but remember, the first suggestion was not mine; it was the prime minister’s. In the end, no one knows who Netanyahu will appoint to ministry positions if he wins this election, but if that happens, I imagine none of us in the center or left will be laughing.

About the Author
Dr. Rabbi Zev Farber is the editor of TheTorah.com and a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.
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