It is a sad day for Israel with these electoral results! The road has now been paved for fascism to take root. The independent law courts will be packed with conservative judges, the media will probably be censured as we will be told what journalists may or may not publish. More schmoozing with right-wing regimes in the world. Democracy and human rights will be compromised. The majority of Israel's electorate has chosen the fascist path.
The parties on the left of the Gantz-Lapid Kahol/Lavan Party have been severely trounced and will be very weak in the opposition. The only way to strengthen the left in Israel is to find a formula that will unite the Labour Party, Meretz and the moderates in the Arab Parties into one party, whose members are Arab and Jewish Israelis. This is a link to a post that I wrote on 30th July 2015 and is still relevant today even though the Joint List and the Zionist Camp has disintegrated and Zahava Galon is no longer the leader of Meretz:
This new party could be a true Left Alliance with more influence and potential to gain support from all Israel’s people.
In the not too distant past, the analogy of apartheid South Africa and Israel was certainly wrong and showed ignorance on the part of those who viewed Israel as an apartheid state. However, with the reelection of Benjamin Netanyahu and a strong move towards the extreme right in March 2015 when Netanyahu stated that the Arabs are "coming in droves to vote" thus using Islamophobia tactics to encourage the apathetic, potential Likud faithful to vote “en masse” to prevent this disaster from occurring. This tactic worked and Netanyahu ceased to sweat.
Non-Jewish citizens of Israel are viewed as second class citizens and the status of Arabic has been defined as a "special status" and nobody knows what that means.
Netanyahu's Likud Party volunteers placed cameras in strategic points in polling booths 2, where Arabs voted in the latest election on 9th April 2019 was another sign of an attempt to intimidate Arab Israelis by discouraging them to vote. It is an unfortunate development in Israel that it has moved far to the right that threatens its already faulty democracy.
The left-wing, as in apartheid South Africa, is viewed as treacherous. In apartheid South Africa they were arrested under the 90-day and 180-day detention laws without recourse to lawyers and their newspapers were banned. When they were released from detention, they were placed under house arrest or received banning orders forbidding them to leave the district where they reside. Between 1948 and 1991, the apartheid government banned more than 1,600 men and women. Banned persons endured severe restrictions on their movement, political activities, and associations intended to silence their opposition to the government's apartheid policies and stop their political activity. They also had to report to the nearest police station twice a day.
In Israel, however, they do have administrative detention which is similar. Administrative detention is incarceration without trial or charge, alleging that a person plans to commit a future offence. It has no time limit, and the evidence on which it is based is not disclosed. Israel employs this measure extensively and routinely and has used it to hold thousands of Palestinians for lengthy periods of time. While detention orders are formally reviewed, this is merely a semblance of judicial oversight, as detainees cannot reasonably mount a defence against undisclosed allegations. Nevertheless, courts uphold the vast majority of orders 3.
In Israel, Netanyahu blames the media, the Law Courts, the left, the Attorney-General and the law enforcement authorities for the legal problems of his own making. Despite that, the majority of the Israeli Electorate voted for Netanyahu and the right-wing parties, including the ultra-Orthodox parties destined to be his coalition partners. Israel's democracy is destined to be compromised.
Netanyahu is a genius. He knows how to manipulate and tell lies in an incredible way as to be convincing to his potential supporters with tremendous success. He maligns his opponents' characters with great success and spreads untruths casting doubts on the so-called "left" that has a very wide definition in his view, which he hates with a vengeance. Any political party, who disagrees with him is "left" and treacherous. We saw this in his campaign. He instils fear of the "Arab Threat" (in South Africa it was “die Swart Gevaar”4 or “Black Threat”) if he were to lose and the "treacherous left" wins. He is an expert on the Israeli racist psyche, which afflicts many Israelis and this is what winning elections in Israel is all about. Only a genius can serve five terms as a prime minister. This is one of the reasons why the Arab parties will never be part of any coalition deal.
If Israel becomes “a non-democratic Jewish apartheid state” then those who support a democratic Israel, according to Israel’s Declaration of Independence, would be justified to carry out a selective BDS programme to prevent this from happening. This BDS programme should be directed at the incoming Netanyahu Government Coalition and its right-wing institutions including the illegal settlements in the occupied territories, the parasitic ultra-Orthodox and right-wing religious parties. The tactics should be similar to the BDS applied to apartheid South Africa. While the fascist takeover becomes consolidated even though the majority of Israel’s electorate voted for it, it will be a disaster, racist and totalitarian. In this case, the majority is not always right (excuse the pun). Those who wish to donate to Israel should donate to NGOs devoted to maintaining Israel’s democracy and human rights programmes such as Peace Now 5, B’tzelem 6, Breaking the Silence 7 and New Israel Fund 8.
The justification of Likud and the right-wing supporters is based on xenophobia in which Netanyahu proved his adeptness at exploiting for his own political and personal gains to achieve immunity from his impending prosecution as prime minister.
It is a tragedy for the Jewish people that Israel is losing its Jewish heart and soul. This is certainly true of “welcoming the stranger in our midst” and the hatred for refugees from Eritrea and Sudan. We have forgotten as Jews that we were also refugees and strangers and not welcome in many countries 9 10., Now with Pesach - the festival of freedom - is upon us, it has become meaningless and hypocritical when we give no thought of freedom to others which is becoming trendy today in Israel.
The Orthodox Rabbinical establishment does not recognize Reform and Conservative Jews, who are in the majority in the US. These non-Orthodox Jews have greater freedom in the Diaspora than they ever will have in Israel. The present elected government will ensure that more now than ever before with the nature of its ultra-Orthodox partners, who wield great power, the move towards a bigoted theocracy is a possibility.
- "Israel's 'racist' Nation-State Law condemned in Westminster – Middle ...." 27 Feb. 2019, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190227-israels-racist-nation-state-law-condemned-in-westminster/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
- "Minority Arabs in Israel object to cameras at polling centres - Reuters." 9 Apr. 2019, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-israel-election-cameras/minority-arabs-in-israel-object-to-cameras-at-polling-centres-idUKKCN1RL1LH. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
- "Statistics on Administrative Detention | B'Tselem." 3 Apr. 2019, https://www.btselem.org/administrative_detention/statistics. Accessed 13 Apr. 2019.
- "What is swart gevaar - Definition of swart gevaar Word finder." https://findwords.info/term/swart%20gevaar. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
- "Peace Now: Home Page." http://peacenow.org.il/en. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
- "B'Tselem." https://www.btselem.org/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
- "Breaking the Silence." https://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2019.
- "Home - New Israel Fund (NIF)." https://www.nif.org/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
- "Embrace the stranger in our midst | The Times of Israel." 28 Mar. 2012, https://www.timesofisrael.com/accept-the-strangers-in-our-midst/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.
- "The Moral Imperative of the Stranger | ReformJudaism.org." 25 Feb. 2017, https://reformjudaism.org/learning/torah-study/mishpatim/moral-imperative-stranger. Accessed 12 Apr. 2019.