It is sad to watch the end of democracy in Israel. I had not given the matter much thought until I read a news item that Itay Tiran is leaving Israel and making his way to Germany. If, like me, you have never heard of Tiran, he is an actor.
Why anyone would be interested in where this actor chooses to live, or what he has to say, is not clear, but his stated reason for moving to commune with the souls of six million dead Jews is that Israel is losing its democratic values. Perhaps he would do better waiting for a scriptwriter to put the words into his mouth. A glance at his political views as quoted in this morning’s paper showed that he will not be missed, the Germans are welcome to him.
“BDS is a perfectly legitimate form of resistance,” he is quoted as saying. Well, we won’t have to boycott Tiran, he will be many miles away surrounded by lovable Germans and his many Moslem fellow immigrants. As an actor, he is used to wearing disguises. He will probably be safe; he won’t be recognized as a Jew. He won’t fall victim to the wave of anti-Semitism engulfing Europe in general and Germany in particular. He will be, just like his six million dead fellow Jews, a fully accepted part of the German people and culture.
But what is wrong with our democracy? I must be missing something. A quick look at the ubiquitous Google confirmed my ideas about democracy – “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” To make it quite clear, it adds: “government by the people; especially: rule of the majority”.
That sounds about right. We have a government. We certainly have elected representatives, 120 of them. They are, of course, not elected by the whole population. We do not allow children to have a say in running the country, but that’s true of most, if not all, democracies. Otherwise, all citizens of Israel − Jewish, Moslem, Christian, even those who are undecided in their faith, have equal voting rights. So, what can possibly be wrong?
I read the definition again. Suddenly it came to me; I saw the difficulty that Tiran was facing – ‘majority’. Our present system gives precedence to the majority of its citizens. The government is formed by representatives of the party that gained the most votes. The opposition, that provides balance and restraint, is formed by parties that gained fewer votes. They have a say, but it is the majority’s view that shapes the country. The few voters, like Tiran, with outlandish views that are unacceptable to the majority, can be listened to, politely, but cannot expect to dictate to the majority. Tiran’s strange, self-destructive, ideas do not, cannot, outweigh those of the majority. It’s called democracy.
Itay Tiran, as he boards his plane, might do well to remember the words of John F. Kennedy”
“Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.”
It certainly has no need of the likes of Itay Tiran.
And, if it will make his long flight any easier, he could read the Len Palmer Mysteries – available from Amazon.