This is what It’s About

It is a stormy evening and I am sitting with a whisky by my side, thinking about how absolutely repulsed I am by the Likud’s propaganda campaign. This is a party which has been in power for a decade. One would expect they have learned a thing or two about statesmanship and decorous conduct.

It is telling, when a political party which has been in power for ten years, has to resort to incitement of hate, fear tactics and smear campaigns, instead of pointing to achievements during their time in power. It is ugly and negative, and sends the message, not that they are deserving of re-election because they have done such a sterling job, but rather that they want to discredit any challenger, not on the basis of his or her suitability, but on the basis of identity politics, thereby hinting that there is no other choice but to re-elect them; He’s Left wing, therefore it will be a disaster. All this, while the current Prime Minister in power is embroiled in three serious charges of corruption and breach of public trust, with recommendations to indict from both the police and the Chief Prosecutor and pending a decision of the Attorney General.

Let me be clear: the issues around this election have nothing to do with Left and Right in any classical sense, in a true democracy. The issues are about the very essence of democracy itself.

– The Nation State Law and the entrenchment of the supremacy of preferential rights for a majority ethnic group – with far reaching effects with regard to national priorities, not based on government policy, but legal status.

– The assault on the separation of powers between the different branches of authority; the executive and legislative arms are hell-bent on subjugating the judicial arm to their will, in the name of “the will of the people”, the result of constitutionally irresponsible legislation and which violates citizens’ basic civil and sometimes human rights. All for populist self-serving gain. They refuse to acknowledge the problematic consequences of the laws they pass, while drunk on their power. And, when the courts reject the laws as unconstitutional, they now want to limit the authority of the judiciary, in order to ram through whatever they want.

– The expectation and demand that those who are elected to represent us do so with honesty, and dispense their authority to serve the public, not for personal gain or profit, whether it be monetary, lavish lifestyle or vanity. That we demand accountability and transparency in the way they exercise their power, without corruption.

– That the institutions of law and order are allowed to do their jobs unhindered and independently, without fear of having their credibility undermined, or their integrity called into question by people in power, abusing their elevated position, and seeking to influence the way these bodies conduct their duties in investigating them, for abuse of their positions. The expectation that those very people entrusted with making the laws, will not only respect the law, but also those entrusted with enforcing it – even when it comes to them.

– That people appointed to important public state positions like Police Chief, Attorney General, State Comptroller, anti-monopoly regulator etc., are chosen for their professional qualifications and not because they are expected to be personally indebted to those that appoint them, causing a conflict of interests between their loyalty to he or she who appointed them and their commitment to the law, when performing their duties.

Every single one of these principles should be an issue of national consensus in a democratic society. It is those people who see these principles as being part of a Leftist agenda, who have betrayed our democracy in favor of their own political agenda or personal political self-interest. In a democracy there is an expectation of checks and balances on the power of individuals in power. Undermining the effectiveness of those bodies entrusted with applying these checks and balances is an act of subversion, and when it is done in the name of “Zionism” or “nationalism”, it becomes a part of the demagoguery of those who desire a despotic regime.

In a democracy, the opposition is supposed to work to cause the government to fall. When you call these efforts to do so, an attempt to “topple the government”, implying that it is an act of subversion, of perfidy, you have abandoned your own loyalty to the democratic process. And, when you accuse those state bodies entrusted with enforcing the law and dispensing justice, with conspiring to “topple the government”, you are no longer a democrat, but rather a wannabe despot.
These are the central issues in this election.

About the Author
Paul Mirbach made aliya from South Africa to kibbutz Tuval in 1982 with a garin of Habonim members. Together they built a new kibbutz transforming rocks and mud to a green oasis in the Gallilee. He served in infantry during his army service, serving in both Lebanon and the West Bank, including on reserve duty during the first intifada. Paul still lives on Tuval with his wife and two sons.
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