Yair Lev

The Crisis Within: Israel’s Government of Destruction

To my brothers and sisters, be they American Jews, non-Jews, Israelis, or simply those who champion a strong, vibrant, and democratic Israel.

I would like explain why we strongly advise United States politicians, leaders, and senior business figures to avoid both formal and informal engagements with what is commonly referred to as the “government of destruction” and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Many Israelis use the Hebrew phrase, ממשלת החורבן or ממשלת חורבן הבית, to describe this government. In essence, it speaks to the destruction of the first and second Temples. This phrase resonates so deeply today because countless individuals fear that the present government’s trajectory threatens the very fabric of Israel as we know it.

Over the past nine months, Israel has faced a government unparalleled in its history. While deeply right-wing and fundamentalist, its leadership under Bibi Netanyahu raises severe and disturbing concerns. Netanyahu’s entanglements with corruption investigations paint a clear picture: his primary objective is self-preservation, a stark attempt to dodge justice and potential imprisonment. In pursuit of his aims, he continues to sow division and threatens the cherished fabric of Israel. Under his divisive and deceptive leadership, Israel faces its most polarized government. The evident discrimination against Arabs, women, the LGBTQ community, Christians, and diverse Jewish traditions reflects this profound discord. Further exacerbating the situation is a faction within the government: messianistic Jews with warped and distorted views, fervently working to realize their vision of a religious theocracy.

The erosion and deterioration across various sectors in Israel is alarming. Notable areas of impact include education, media, governance, law enforcement, the military, healthcare, and civil rights. Once celebrated for innovation and leadership in high-tech, Israel now faces declining investments in this critical sector. The consequences of this are palpable: a significant number are considering or have already chosen to leave, relocating their assets and expertise elsewhere.

What’s deeply troubling is the kind of individuals Bibi has chosen for pivotal roles in his quest to undermine the judicial system and evade imprisonment. Take Aryeh Deri, for instance, a man previously convicted of bribery and corruption and subsequently served time in jail for those offenses. Despite the court’s decision that Deri couldn’t be appointed as a minister due to his past legal infractions, his defiant response was: “They close the door on us, so we will come in through the window.”

Bibi also appointed Jewish convicted terrorists to key positions within the government. Ben Gvir’s selection as the Minister of National Security stands as a glaring testament to these appointments. Under Gvir’s supervision, the police force has unleashed a harrowing degree of violence against peaceful protestors. This man, who until recently had the photo of Jewish mass murderer Baruch Goldstein displayed in his home, has actions that have led many to draw parallels with infamous hate group leaders, akin to the Ku Klux Klan. Such chilling comparisons, though distressing, seem all too fitting given the circumstances.

The sheer audacity of Bibi’s actions is infuriating. In what can only be described as a desperate and reckless attempt to avoid jail, he’s deliberately sowing seeds of chaos and devastation throughout Israel. Intentionally, he’s magnifying an atmosphere full of distrust, escalating anger, and widening division, chillingly evoking images of the beginnings of past civil wars. His manipulative tendencies, coupled with numerous instances of deceit, underpin the widespread resistance and protests against him and his administration over the past nine months.

American Jews: The rising tide of antisemitism is deeply concerning for all of us. Yet, if Israel transforms into an ultra-religious nation where Arabs are treated as second-class citizens, or worse, the implications could be grave. Such a transformation in Israel could fuel global misconceptions about Jews and provide ammunition to antisemitic narratives. How Israel’s actions and policies evolve may influence attitudes toward Jews in America.

Recently, Friedman, Klein Halevi, and Gordis wrote a compelling piece in The Times of Israel. I’d like to echo and highlight a few of their insightful remarks:

“Diaspora support for Israel has traditionally taken the form of support for its government. But now the greatest threat facing Israel is its government. Jews in the Diaspora can no longer support Israel without asking which Israel they are supporting.
To treat Israel’s present leadership as a normative government is to be complicit in the self-destruction of the Jewish state. Diaspora organizations and leaders who continue to meet politely with government ministers and pose for photographs with the prime minister are failing the Israel that Diaspora communities helped create. At this fraught moment, Jewish organizations conducting business as usual are placing themselves on the wrong side of history.”

Amidst the horrors of the past nine months, a beacon of hope emerges brilliantly on the horizon. In an act of solidarity unparalleled in history, millions of Israelis, American Jews, and advocates for democracy spanning from Europe to Australia stand united against this government of destruction.

To our American and international leaders: listen to our urgent calls. Turn away from the seductive poisonous lies Bibi wishes to whisper into your ears, as he drags Israel towards the abyss of a theocratic dictatorship. Please, avoid meetings with him and members of his damaging administration. Engaging with them only validates their actions.

Shikma Bressler, one of Israel’s leading pro-democracy voices, passionately declared recently that we are in our second war of independence. We must emerge victorious; there’s no other option. Resist the dictatorship! Democracy will prevail!

About the Author
Dr. Yair Lev holds dual citizenship in Israel and the US. For the past 15 years he has resided in the US, first in New York City and now in the Philadelphia area. He lives in Lower Merion township with his wife and two children.
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