Michael Boyden

The Volcano Will Erupt

There has been a general consensus that, as long as the war continues, criticism of the government, the IDF and the intelligence community should be kept under wraps, because at a time of war the nation, and particularly our soldiers who are fighting on the front, need us to be united.

All over the place there are billboards calling for unity in a country whose prime minister did everything he could over the years to divide the nation.

Following demonstrations in Tel Aviv last Yom Kippur, Netanyahu remarked: “There don’t seem to be any boundaries. There are no norms. There is no limit to the hatred of Left-wing extremists”. Back in 1997 he whispered to Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri: “The Left have forgotten what it means to be Jewish”. For years he has attacked the mainstream media for being Left-wing.

But now he needs us all to be united in fighting a merciless and savage enemy, whose attack on Israel on October 7th has traumatized an Israel that has yet to come to terms with the fact that more Jews were murdered on that Shabbat morning than on any single day since the Holocaust.

The prime minister tells us that the war in Gaza will be a long one. However, the Institute for National Security Studies warns that a lengthy war is likely to undermine public support.

The high death toll of civilians in Gaza and the growing number of our soldiers who are being killed every day will at some point cause people to protest in the same way as when 400,000 Israelis took to the streets following the slaughter of more than 3,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in Sabra and Shatila in September 1982.

The so-called unity that currently pervades in our country is paper-thin. Like a sleeping volcano it will finally erupt. It won’t wait until the end of a lengthy war. And when it does happen the consequences will be colossal.

Thomas Jefferson said: “The first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction. Abandon that, and you have abandoned all.”

People are angry, and quite rightly so, because our political and military leaders failed us. When people’s patience is exhausted, the protests will be huge.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.