My Country Too
A country can also die slowly and not in one gigantic atomic bomb blast. It can start with a group of parties passing laws making the judicial system a thing of the past, and other agreements turning parts of the defence establishment and parts of the police system into private armies of a few men. It can start very slowly with successful hi-tech companies taking “their money” (billions of dollars!) out of Israel because they are afraid of what will happen to the democratic system, here in Israel. And this now is being followed by well-known investment companies advising their investors to be wary of Israel. Is this what our country needs?
It can start with having required military service for Jews who are orthodox but not Hasidim, and other Jews who are neither, but may be traditional and/or secular. These Jews plus other groups including the Druze, are about one half of the population, but these citizens, do and will carry the country on their back- both “militarily” and economically.
The other half of our population consists of almost all the Arab citizens of Israel, many who do not identify with the State, and yes, the State is Homeland of the Jewish People with rights (but not responsibilities!) for all. And the other half also consists of the overwhelming majority of the Haridim in Israel-whether they are Ashkenazi or Mizrahim! All parts of this half have chosen and continue to choose not to be part of the defence of our country.
And then laws are passed which change the country into a new country, not part of the liberal democratic world, to which we still belong at this writing!
At one point the secular. the traditional and the “modern” orthodox parts of the Jewish people living here will start to realize that to put it bluntly, they are “friarim!” In fact, I believe that for many that moment has already come!
And they will start to leave-whether to the United States or Canada or Germany or Portugal or Cyprus or…..
To be honest, this process started many years ago-I call it the “New Disapora”-maybe 1,000, 000 Israelis do not live in Israel. But this process has accelerated since the new government was formed. People who never talked about leaving Israel are now talking about it!
We, the Jews, unfortunately, still seem to be a people with no homeland in our heart! Many of us are still a people of the galut in our hearts!
And worst of all, after a while, maybe a few years, but it will happen if the present situation continues, most of our present and future pilots, officers, combat soldiers, scientists and academics will no longer be here.
The future pilots and officers and scientists will be in schools, not in schools here but rather in other countries like the United States! Our youth will be somewhere else!!!
And who will be here to defend the country? And this country needs defending!
Perhaps, the religious Zionists – Bnei Akiva, the people who are similar to Naftali Bennett and Matan Kahana will stay. Of course, they too believe in a Jewish State and they too understand what is happening here, but I believe their religious beliefs may not let them leave.
Will their numbers be large enough to keep the State of Israel literally alive? Will there be enough pilots, enough officers, enough scientists ……Will even they be willing to be “friarim!” under all conditions?
I do not know!
But that is where we are headed unless all of us stop it!
Those of us, whether we are secular, traditional or religious who still want to create and maintain Israel, as a Jewish democratic State, and to live in it with our children and grandchildren, as proud, sovereign and creative Jews, in our land, must act now and together. We all have a common interest in stopping the process of destruction, which is taking place as I write this article!
And the promising optimistic news is that for the past few weeks we have been doing just that!
Can the leadership of our country really continue to ignore the sight of hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating against the destruction of our state (and I emphasize the word “our” state)?
Interestingly enough, there have been almost no counter- demonstrations. If our people were truly split in half and each side was truly passionate about their views, there would have been large counter demonstrations but this has not happened!
Hopefully, the large demonstrations that we see in our cities will create the conditions to stop the destructive process started by Bibi, and Levin and Rotman and Ben Gvir and…
If the purpose of Bibi and friends, is to split our country and force large parts of the population to consider “Yerida” and yes it is “Yerida”!, then they that is what they are doing right now.
But, this is my country too, and I want to live in a country similar to the one that existed here a few months ago. I will join the others to fight for real democracy, for the sake of ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren and yes, for the sake of the Jewish People!
Professor Yitzhak Irving Kalet