Likud was my political home. Even before aliyah, I felt a connection in a way I no longer felt for either of the political parties back in the United States. My first vote as an Israeli citizen was for Likud and I was loyal. Then something changed and the energy first in Bayit Yehudi and then Yamina created by Naftali Bennett shifted my loyalty. When this coalition government formed, I was mildly enthusiastic, but borderline skeptical of how Bennett would keep these diverse political viewpoints in line in a way that provides the governance our people need and deserve. And all while sticking true to the values he has espoused as a leader for many years.
Now, I’m wandering. And wondering. Where to go for those of us who believe in strong defense, a tough hand hammered onto our enemies, sovereignty for Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, and believe in equality for all Israelis who want to be part of this great land whether Haredi or LGBT, which is my community? Not the leftist parties like Meretz or Labor that blabber about two states and that align with NGOs that do harm with their false assertions about us. Surely not with Otzma Yehudi which includes in leadership a man who referred to people like me as “beasts” and which also includes a guy who pulls his weapon on security guards who are there to protect the public.
This past week has been horrific with an uptick in terror attacks. Be’er Sheva, Jerusalem, Hadera, and by the time this is published, probably more. With Ramadan approaching, we know that there will be more. The Palestinian Authority is literally calling for bloodshed as is Hamas. After the gruesome attack in Be’er Sheva leaving four Israelis dead, candy was handed out in celebration in Gaza. In the hometown, an Israeli Arab town, of the terrorists who perpetrated the Hadera attack celebrations were held for the murders of two Israeli police officers, one Jew, one Druze. Both were 19 years old.
Meanwhile, the United States State Department is offering a $1M prize (grant?) to anyone that can provide proof that Israel commits human rights violations. And the new Ambassador to Israel from the United States, Thomas Nides, is so uneducated about Israel that he believes that the building of housing in certain areas in and around Jerusalem is occurring just to thwart “Palestinian” rights to the land for a future state. No, Mr. Ambassador, housing is desperately needed in many places for our citizens. He may live in a world where the only issue facing Israel is what he probably calls “the conflict”, but we live in the reality of the need for housing and communities, just like any other country. And the ambassador refuses to visit Judea and Samaria which he refers to as the “west bank” which is in fact, just a geographic term for the west bank of the Jordan River. Where was the pushback from our government?
This brings me to where Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lost me completely. In speaking with the dignitaries from the United States, he recently referred to Judea and Samaria as the “west bank”. To us, the citizens who supported him, he always uses the words Judea and Samaria. To kowtow to an administration that clearly has no love for our people and land, he used terminology that will please their delusions of a very dead “two state solution”. This is not a small thing. The lapdog scenario of Israeli politicians tailwagging for American politicians has played out repeatedly and does not serve us well. Is this any different than Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority) speaking nice words in English to Americans and other foreign officials about wanting peace while inciting violence against Jews when speaking in Arabic? Has appeasing the United States and other nations become more important than our lives and our future?
The contrast to me is clear. As the Secretary of State of the United States sits with Abu Mazen, the people who hear the terrorist leader speak in Arabic about shedding Jewish blood know that the US will not make them accountable. And we wonder if our leaders will hold Mazen and his followers accountable? Will they?
So here I sit, in Jerusalem, in the political wilderness wondering where leadership will come from next. And while watching terror attack after terror attack occur with the blood of Israeli citizens, Jews and Druze, being spread in our streets. Where is the life saving manna in the form of a righteous government and leader who will make our safety and sovereignty the priority without denigrating sectors of the population, whether LGBT or Haredi or the many Israeli Arabs who are as horrified by the hatred as I am? You can bet one thing, this kind of righteous and fair leadership won’t be falling from the sky any time soon.