The Israeli Right is Leading Us to Disaster

Should the current wave of terror develop an organized infrastructure and transform itself into a full-fledged intifada, an appropriate name would be Intifadat Habayit Hayehudi, in honor of the political party spearheading the campaign to drag the people of Israel by its very nostrils into a cataclysmic confrontation with the Palestinians, the other Arabs and ultimately the entire Moslem world. Bennett and his associates cast, indeed, a fetching posture. They are young, idealistic, articulate, patriotic, open to the modern world.They even know how to smile and joke around. But they and their fellow travellers who choose to build a political future for themselves in the Likud are dangerous, every bit as much as their counterparts from the Second Temple period who dragged us into the two catastrophic revolts against Rome.

The Temple Mount crisis is a case in point. Every responsible official in the security services warned repeatedly against provocations which could be exploited by the Islamic Movement and other hostile forces to inflame the area. But how significant are such warnings when juxtaposed to considerations of “Jewish Pride”, “The Need to Demonstrate Jewish Sovereignty at our Holiest Site” and “Equal Rights for All”(as if Benet, Ariel, Hutabelli and others of their political stripe express even an iota of concern when the rights of non-Jews are at stake).The warnings were belittled also because the religious right is used to getting its way. They established scores of settlements in the West Bank in defiance of government policy and court decisions, only to see the government rush to provide them with a complete infrastructure and grant them retroactive legality. They have complete control over a large sector of the educational system, where they unabashedly foster their political ideology. Even though all the extremist political incitement, violence and murders of the past thirty years among the Jews developed within their ranks, they arrogantly dismiss all demands to critically examine their responsibility. And why should they? National chauvinistic demagoguery has proved its efficacy at the polls time and again, in Israel as elsewhere.

But the historical precedents are there for all to see. The combination of rabid nationalism, messianic pretensions, “Atta Bechartanu” (whether religious or secular) and arrogant and intolerant dismissal of all criticism and opposition has generally proved sufficient to sustain the opening stages of armed confrontation against a stronger power, but has always—always—resulted in ultimate defeat and disaster.The well-documented exploits of the “kana’im” before and during the Great Revolt and the Bar-Kochba Revolt are sufficient evidence of the monstrous ramifications of such phenomena.

The Palestinians are not a moderate entity and the Arab and Moslem worlds are engulfed in a tsunami of violence and extremism. These facts of life, however, should not serve as justification for a similar mind-set among our own people. It befits rabble-rousers whose sense of vision and responsibility ends at the tip of their noses but not the leadership of a people intent upon having a future.

Unfortunately, the obsessive chutzpah of our Temple Mount pyromaniacs is far from abated. As if the gallons of oil which they have already poured into the flames are not enough, the State-Religious (Orthodox) educational establishment under their control has decided to cite “dedication to the Temple” as a central subject of study and nurture in the coming years. It is therefore incumbent upon all rational forces interested in Israel’s future to proclaim as forcefully as possible that Jewish entry to the Temple Mount under the protection of bayonets does not interest them. We did not create a Jewish state in order to pray in the vicinity of the Al Aksa mosque. We are unwilling to allow the sacrificial Temple ritual to become even a fragmentary element of modern Jewish life .We are unwilling to allow the central shrine of the Jewish past to be enshrined in the Jewish memory as a center of violence,bloodshed, hatred and fanaticism. We regard every life lost as a result of unnecessary provocations as a travesty of Jewish values (and many have already been lost). In other words, who cares whether Uri Ariel or anyone else is able to pose for a Shema Yisrael selfie during a moment of “heroic patriotism”?

The irresponsible right is leading us down the road to ever-more bloody confrontation and ever-greater desecration of Jewish and human values. When will the public realize this and assert its right to a future?

About the Author
Gabe Ende was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Queens College and University of Chicago.Made Aliyah in 1969 and has taught in a variety of Israeli educational institutions. He is active in groups that seek to further liberal-humanistic forces in Jewish life and Israeli society.