Tova Herzl

The Deafening Silence of the Coalition

As I write this on Holocaust Day, the radio is recounting tales of despair and heroism, of loss and revival. These are interspersed with reports of a possible hostage deal, discussion of the Rafah option, and yet another announcement of a soldier killed.

Netanyahu’s conduct in these trying times does not surprise me. Many who know him from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before he was welded onto the prime minister’s seat, recognize familiar patterns. In meetings, he would often amaze participants with his extraordinary rhetorical skills and with his speedy (sometimes rash) thinking and decision-making, along with limitless self-promotion.

With time, such qualities grew and others developed. The core of traditional Likud politicians was pushed aside by the force of his ambition. The party, whose name still contains the designation ‘liberal’, became a vehicle to preserve his throne.

But not all Likudniks are members of his adoring cult. Mister Gallant, I wonder what you say to yourself at night, before shutting your eyes? As Minister of Defense, what is your assessment of Israel’s chance of survival as it consciously alienates itself from sources of support? Minister Dichter, as former head of the Internal Security Service, what is your vision for Israel and its Jewish majority when the right-wing dream is fulfilled, and there will be one bi-national state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea?

I have no expectations of the messianists. They view current developments as part of the great plan towards redemption. Demographics, strategy, sanctions, and the international arena are terms which are foreign to them, and there is no app which can translate.

But what about the ultra-Orthodox political leadership? Aryhe Deri, whom generations of journalists, politicians and officials view as a genius, does he not see the threatening writing on so many walls? Yitzchak Goldknopf, a wealthy man, he must surely know that one and one are always two, that there is no other answer? Moshe Gafni who long serves in the Knesset Finance Committee, what does he think will happen as a result of a weak shekel, lowered credit ratings and sanctions? Who will make up for it all, and how?

Netanyahu does not surprise me, but I am perplexed and saddened that the entire coalition continues to back him, and there appears to be no path to get rid of this bad regime, which is leading us to ruin.

We are at the mercy of a coalition made up of 64 of 120 members of Knesset. Will five rise up to save us, to release us from the fatal hold which this government has on us? Unlike the tales being broadcast in the background as i type, the act required of them does not endanger life. At most, they will lose their positions and part of their pensions.

Are there no five who will rise above their selfish considerations to view the big picture? To consider the country’s future? To worry about the impending danger and to ask what they can do to halt it? Does any one of them stop to imagine honestly where Israel will be at this time next year, and act accordingly?

About the Author
Tova Herzl served twice as congressional liaison in Washington DC, was Israel's first ambassador to the newly independent Baltic states, and took early retirement after a tumultuous ambassadorship in South Africa. She is the author of the book, Madame Ambassador; Behind The Scenes With A Candid Israeli Diplomat.