Some of you may have heard that there was a bit of a ruckus in the Zehut Party over the past week. Some of you have some concerns about it. And some of you probably want to hear all the details.
You aren’t going to get them here.
There’s been too much of that already.
When I first heard about the issues involved, I took a side. Isn’t that the most natural thing in the world? To take a side in a dispute? We’re human beings, and we’re judgey. All of us. Some say we shouldn’t be, and some try and fool themselves and others into thinking that they don’t judge, but they do. We do. Always. It’s the way human beings evaluate the world around them. And so long as it doesn’t break things, I think it’s actually a positive thing.
But I digress. Going back to Zehut, I’d like to tell you a story about a brilliant and young party, and some of the growing pains it’s been going through. In broad strokes.
The Zehut Party is not huge. To say the least. It doesn’t have billionaires funding it. It is, in fact, a shoestring operation that exists because of an almost fanatical devotion to an idea. An idea that I believe to be the most important one in the history of the State of Israel, and our last, best hope for fixing what’s wrong with this beautiful country of ours.
Because of our lack of resources, our main institutions have yet to be established. The temporary administrative committee that was supposed to give way to those institutions in short order and then disappear is still with us after four years. In most parties, that would be an inconvenience. A major inconvenience, but ultimately just an inconvenience. But a major facet of Zehut’s message is liberty. And a lot of the people in Zehut are libertarians. Some are staunch libertarians. Myself, I’m an Objectivist, which is to libertarianism what Orthodox Judaism is to the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And I’m not the only one in the party. And the staunch libertarians in Zehut have gotten increasingly frustrated over the past four years by the lack of these party bodies. While the leadership of the party has been absolutely snowed under, having to do the work that these party bodies would take off their plate. No one was happy about any of this, but as the common saying has it, “All beginnings are difficult”.
This situation was inevitably going to blow up. And it did. And there was anger, and there were hurt feelings. And as any of you who’ve ever lost your temper know, it is a million times harder to put that anger back inside than it is to keep it inside to begin with. And people… well, people are people. Ordinary, fallible human beings.
No one, not a single person, was their best self during the week-long crisis in the Zehut Party. Everyone made mistakes. And feelings are still raw in a lot of places. But ultimately, our responsibility to the People of Israel and the State of Israel is vastly more important than our feelings. There are people who can’t afford to buy new clothes, or any groceries but the barest minimum. People can’t afford to buy a home. The tax burden in Israel is absolutely insane, and the average citizen doesn’t realize the true extent of what they’re paying in taxes, because it consists of (a) income tax, (b) value added tax, (c) higher prices caused by companies passing on the taxes they have to pay, (d) higher prices caused by draconian protectionist tariffs and quotas on imports, (e) higher prices caused by the Israel Lands Authority’s miserly grip on 93% of the buildable land in Israel, (f) special taxes on vehicles that double the price of a car, (g) special taxes on real estate that make almost half the price of an apartment just taxes. There are divorced fathers who can’t see their children, and others who aren’t even permitted to tell their children they love them during supervised visits. Trying to start a small business in Israel is an absolute nightmare, and in 2018, 44,500 (!) small businesses had to close, causing the unemployment of a quarter million Israelis, or one in every 32 citizens of the State of Israel. And why? Overregulation. Draconian obstacle courses and fees before you can even open the doors of a new business.
That’s just a part of the mess that only Zehut has come up with any concrete plans for handling. Never mind the rational and humane plans Zehut has put forward for ending the interminable war we’ve been fighting, and restoring the sense of justice that was lost when Rabin hugged Arafat (and when Netanyahu did the same afterwards).
We don’t have the luxury – or the privilege – of crying over hurt feelings. We have an election to win.
Finally, I want to address the silver lining of this whole situation. MK Roi Folkman from Kachlon’s party has claimed that Zehut is a cult, and that Moshe Feiglin is our guru. Some cult. Some guru. Anyone who has seen the conflicts within Zehut over the past week, even from a distance, now knows how utterly ridiculous Folkman’s accusation is. Zehut is a party of free thinkers. Emphasis both on free and on thinkers. We’ve gone through a week of what can only be described as the growing pains of a young party, full of people who are passionate about solving Israel’s problems. Who not only want liberty for themselves, but for you.
Zehut may run as part of a technical bloc, or it may run alone. Whatever happens, the voters of Israel have a choice. Let us help… or don’t. Let us bring change for the better, or opt to continue an endless war, lose our children overseas when they leave to look for a better life, pay rent every month on a home we don’t own, pay higher prices for Israeli products here than people in Germany pay for Israeli products that they import from us, and spend the first ten days of every month working, not for ourselves, but for the benefit of an endlessly growing government sector and to line the pockets of the people running the public sector unions. It really isn’t a hard choice. You just have to make it.