Daniel Albu

Trace of Kahanism in the New Netanyahu Cabinet

An Israeli man walks past an electoral billboard bearing portraits of Netanyahu flanked by extreme-right politicians, including Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, in Jerusalem in 2019 (AFP)
An Israeli man walks past an electoral billboard bearing portraits of Netanyahu flanked by extreme-right politicians, including Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, in Jerusalem in 2019 (AFP)

Tensions increased as the far-right cabinet was established in Israel. Netanyahu this time, was back with a numerous amount of votes from right-wing voters and a cabinet filled with hardliners. The major change is the security at risk in the attitude of Israeli public opinion. The wave of terrorist attacks from Israeli Arabs in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other major cities in Israel, made Bibi supporters more aggressive. The result of the last election in Israel came directly from this social anger. What makes Israeli Bibi supporters more hardliner is not an emerging new phenomenon, but a long agenda started from Rabin’s assassination. Indeed, unlike America, the Israeli right wing is not determined by the economy or tax regulation. It is highly dependent on views toward Arabs.

Netanyahu’s current cabinet is an inevitable combination of Kahanist racism and radical right totalitarianism which not only can deepen the gap in Israeli society and threaten democracy, equality, and peace inside the country, but also destroy all previous efforts to improve Israel’s international brand.

In the public memory, Kahanism was burned as a morbid race theory, an ideological equivalent to the Nuremberg Laws. After all, Meir Kahane proposed to separate Jews and Arabs on the beaches, to prohibit marriages between Jews and Arabs, to deny the Israeli-Arabs right to be elected, and to make Jerusalem, by the law, a city where only Jews live.

Racism was indeed a central pillar of Meir Kahane’s preachments. At the heart of Kahanism, there are two more complementary concepts: The rejection of secularism, liberalism, and democracy, and the desire for revenge on the gentiles. All of these can be found today not only at Ben Gvir’s idea but also at most of the cabinet members so that this cabinet can almost be called the “Kahane cabinet”.

To get the point, it’s enough to take a look at the similar statements of the cabinet members with Rabbi Kahane’s preachments.

Ben Gvir, minister of national security, is the same Meir Kahane since he ultimately draws inspiration from him, even though he tries to keep himself away from some of Kahane’s thoughts.

 It is no secret that today I am not rabbi Kahane and I do not support the deportation of all Arabs, and I will not enact laws for separate beaches, although it is certain that we will act and do everything to expel terrorists from the country for the sake of the Jewish character of Israel, for the settlements and its Jewish identity, But it seems to me that the highlight of Rabbi Kahane was love. Love for Israel without compromise, without any other consideration.

When Orit Strock, minister of national missions, states: “If a doctor is asked to give any type of treatment to someone that violates his religious faith, if there is another doctor who can do it, then you can’t force them to provide treatment.” This is the same Meir Kahane when said “There is no authority for any law and decision and decree of a wicked government that goes against the Torah, and commands to refuse them, and it is absolutely forbidden to accept the decision of the evil majority.”

When Yaakov Margi, welfare and social affairs minister, said that without Deri “there will be no government,” in an interview with Kan Radio, it’s the same Meir Kahane when said: “If there is a conflict between democracy and a Jewish state, then let democracy go to hell”

Bezalel Smotrich, Finance Minister, is the same Meir Kahane since calls Israeli-Arab political parties “enemies” who support terror and pledged to not join any government that is dependent on them either from the outside or from inside the coalition. From Meir Kahane’s point of view, “Every Arab is a suspicious object!”

And finally, when Avi Maoz says: “Anyone who tries to harm real Judaism is the darkness. Anyone who tries to create a new so-called liberal religion is the darkness. Anyone who tries to brainwash the children of Israel with their agendas, without the knowledge of the parents, is the darkness.” It’s the same Meir Kahane that said: “Most people breathe air, but most leftists breathe guilt!”

Exposing Israeli society to Kahanist racism paves the way for war for rivals who are not at all happy with the establishment of peace and progress in the country. It can easily bring Joe Biden and the American public opinion against Israel’s domestic policies and makes Israel an isolated country as Yossi Klein Halevi wrote for the Atlantic:

This government that speaks in the name of the Torah desecrates the name of Judaism.

This government that speaks in the name of the Jewish people risks tearing apart the relationship between Israel and the Jewish diaspora. This government that speaks in the name of the Israeli ethos is the greatest threat to the ethos that binds Israelis together. This government that speaks in the name of Israeli security is a gift to those seeking to isolate the Jewish state and portray it as criminal.

About the Author
Daniel Albu is a father, photographer and freelance journalist living and working in New York.
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