Both are captives – but so are we
By David E. Kaplan
Americans may well ask just how many deals did House speaker Kevin McCarthy strike with the extreme far-right to finally grab with glee; the prized gavel?
The sorry outcome was that while at the same time the USA marked the second anniversary to the January 6 insurrection, on the House floor, Republican lawmakers – who either supported the rioters or helped breathe life into former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 election – were on their nefarious path of not for “We the People” but “We for ourselves”.
Israelis can similarly ask:
How many deals did its Prime Minister have to make to hold onto perpetual power?
It is only too evident when we ‘expose’ ourselves to the news, becoming a daily diet of political depravity. Today’s tarnished gem was reading the headline news in The Jerusalem Post that was nothing less than a threat:
Israel will have ‘no government’ if Deri can’t be minister, Shas MK warns
The report goes on to say that Shas MK Ya’acov Margi said he would recommend Shas’s Council of Torah Sages dismantle Israel’s government if Aryeh Deri can’t be a minister.
“Dismantle” the Government? For Aryeh Deri? The same Aryeh Deri who in 1999, was convicted of bribery, fraud and breach of trust; and given a three-year jail sentence. In January 2023, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that Deri was not allowed to hold a position as a cabinet minister due to his conviction for tax offences, hence the proposed Deri Law which would amount to nothing less than what judiciously-minded MKs are saying is “state-sanctioned corruption”.
While Aryeh Deri as a convicted felon, a fraudster, who should have no right to hold public office or be anywhere within striking range of public funds, now has his salivating pack of supporting party hacks attack the High Court in media interviews, in what appears to be a coordinated threat that the Knesset would respond to a ruling against Deri by curbing the High Court’s powers.
Deri, who is currently serving as Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Health and Minister of the Interior and Periphery, says:
“I will not resign, no matter what the High Court rules.”
Are these the characters we should get accustomed to representing us in parliament, never mind holding top positions in government that effect the destiny of the Jewish state and hence the Jewish people?
Is it any wonder that our steadfast guardian – the Supreme Court – is under threat with the proposed legislation conjured by a legal sorcerer by the name of Yariv Levin, who goes by the misnomer of ‘Minister of Justice’?
As I wrote last week in my article ISRAEL UNDER THREAT FROM ITSELF, we need to protect and not undermine the Supreme Court because unlike other democracies such as the US and UK that have two tiers of government offering checks and balances, Israel has only one house – the Knesset; and so the Supreme Court is all “We the People” have against an a reckless and unchecked legislature.
We cannot afford its weakening hence the mounting protests with last Saturday nights protest in Tel Aviv attraction over 80,000 people and many more protests to follow. Busses are being arranged from all over the country to bring people to these protests.
And who else is Bibi beholden to? It is all very well our wordsmith PM trying to reassure a sceptic citizenry with “I did not go to them; they came to me,” when we see what he assembled to form his contrived coalition.
Another of his “came to me” coalition partners is Religious Zionism Party leader MK Bezalel Smotrich, who in a recent recorded conversation is revealed saying to a businessman that he would actively take measures against the LGBTQ+ community and that it would not hurt him politically. Smotrich can be heard saying, “Sephardic, traditional people, you think they care about gay people? Nobody cares. They say that they don’t have a problem with them, ‘you think I care if you [Smotrich] are against them?”
Is this who Bibi has to be in bed with to survive politically? The question is rhetoric – we know the answer – it is emphatically “yes”.
No wonder Yesh Atid party leader MK Yair Lapid says:
“The Smotrich tapes remind us time and time again how weak Netanyahu is and how dangerous it is that he is held captive by racist extremists.”
The sad truth is that if Netanyahu is a “captive”, so are we to this insane trajectory in our politics. This is not Zionism but the antithesis of Zionism.
Until recently, journalist, commentators and academicians were quick to voice their view that there is no ‘left’ in Israel anymore. Well, who are the protesters congregating in their thousands to protest against this extreme Likud right-wing government?
Actually, they may not be ‘left’ in a political sense, but all that is “left” of a sensible citizenry who see the present regime as a ‘clear and present danger’ to our future.
As I write, I read that the High Court on Wednesday 18 January 2023 has ruled 10-1 in a “Bombshell” decision that Deri cannot be a minister. He cannot retain his positions as Interior and Health minister! With all the threats, how now will Deri and the Prime Minister respond? Members of Deri’s Shas party have warned they may quit Netanyahu government if he is forced out. Clearly, this is not the last round but one of many more to follow.
There is now a war between competing visions for this country. Whose vision will prevail?
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3 thoughts on “WHAT DO ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU AND US REPUBLICAN HOUSE LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY HAVE IN COMMON?”
Thanks David, terrific piece. In my naivety I fail to understand how people (wearing kippot) purporting to be ultra-Orthodox, can defile Torah teaching so unashamedly! The same must also be said of the other ‘band of brothers’.
I could name a third miscreant to your comparison – if you followed the ANC conference a while back, one Ramaphosa, a skilful card-shark if ever there was one, all he did was to shuffle the cash cards.
Pity Bolsonaro wasn’t as smart:)
An outstanding read. Thank you for bringing home and making many of us in the diaspora more aware of how the misuse and abuse of power and persuasion on the political front in Israel has resulted and is affecting it.