Where is the one in Netanyahu’s coalition who is going to finally stand up and say – “enough”?

By David E. Kaplan

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

                     Simon and Garfunkel (Sounds of Silence)

After 32 weeks of ‘sound’ counseling from the streets  of Israel – not to bring down a government but to save it from self-inflicted folly – lamenting lines in the iconic lyrics of Simon & Garfunkel sadly resonate.

Is ANYONE in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing coalition even listening? Are we going to be in the same situation  six months from now?

Is there even one; never mind the biblical 10 from 50 righteous men that Abraham negotiated down with G-d to save the city of Sodom from annihilation?

Millennia later, it is not a desert city but the flourishing nation state of the Jewish people that is at peril and even more difficult than it was for Abraham, we cannot find even one in the governing coalition who will stand up for what is just and sensible and say to his prime minister “Maspik”- (Hebrew: “enough”).

In Whose Hands? Guiding Israel’s destiny are unabashed racist May Golan (left) with fellow arch-supporter of the judicial overhaul and far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After eight months in power, this government has little to show for itself besides showing contempt for the protestors. Take for instance the Likud Minister for the Advancement of Women’s Status May Golan who in response to being faced by protestors at a restaurant at Ben Gurion Airport, wrote on the X media platform (formally twitter): 

To what other depths of decay will those anarchists sink?”


After all these months of protestors trying to protect and preserve Israeli democracy, this government minister labels them –  “anarchists”.

Is the Likud minister so unaware that an “anarchist” by definition seeks to destroy state institutions not protect them as Israeli protesters are struggling to do. It is coalition members who are behaving like “anarchists”, hellbent on weakening – if not ultimately destroying either by design or indifference – Israeli democracy. They are doing so – despite their protestations – by undermining the efficacy and integrity of the Supreme Court, the hallmark of Israeli democracy. Without a second tier of government  – Israel has no Upper House or Senate – nor a constitution, what check do Israelis have on the excessive exercise of government power besides the Supreme Court? Can this government think beyond its appetites and partisan dispositions? We should be strengthening not weakening the Supreme Court. Until such time of major constitutional changes, what Israel needs and what its economy needs is a robust independent Supreme Court.

It protects the country from the dangerous mindset of the likes of Likud minister Golan.

It says much for the understanding Golan has for democracy when she characterises the protesting milieu in Israel as:

 “depths of decay”.

Golan tweeted further:

 “I have one message for all the anarchists: Move on. This reform will continue to advance even more vigorously …….”

There you have it from the minister and captured in the lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel: “hearing without listening”. No hint of outreach, compromise or future talk; the path forward is “to advance” the judicial overhaul, “even more vigorously…”

Intoxicated like her peers with power, Golan displays only contempt for those who oppose the controversial and unpopular judicial overhaul.

Creators of Chaos. Prime mover of the judicial overhaul that is rocking the country, Israeli justice minister Yariv Levin (right) listens to May Golan during a session of Israeli parliament last month. (Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP/Getty Images)

Is it any wonder from this MK, who has made a political name for herself by denouncing African refugees in Israel, calling them, as reported in The Guardian (April 20), “Muslim infiltrators”, criminals and rapists. She said many have Aids, suggesting they were spreading HIV by working as waiters, and demanded they be expelled from the country. “If I am racist for wanting to defend my country and for wanting to protect my basic rights and security, then I’m a proud racist,” she said at a political rally in 2013 as a member of the far-right Jewish Power party, a descendent of the Kach party that was outlawed under Israeli anti-terrorism laws.

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party is flush with members who think just like self-proclaimed racist May Golan. Its embedded in the rank and file.  

Forty-nine-year-old Yitzhak Zarka, from the settlement of Ma’ale Efrayim, who said he has been active in the Likud party for 40 years, made headlines last month when he called anti-judicial reform protestors “AshkeNAZIM” who should “burn in hell.”  In case  he was not fully understood, he added, “Not for nothing did six million  die. I’m proud. If only six million more would burn.” In case this man and his behaviour can be dismissed as an aberration, Zarka has been photographed cozying up with many top Likud ministers and MK’s. While there is a move to expel Zarka and others for the embarrassment caused, it is being met with opposition by some in the Likud, with one member saying:

 “I do not remember any other party that expelled any of its members for excessive anger.”

Kiss of Death. Seen here at the Knesset cuddling Benjamin Netanyahu is Itzik Zarka who at last month’s protest near Beit She’an in northern Israel, while  holding a sign reading “the people demand judicial reform”, said “Ashkenazim, whores, may you burn in hell” and “Leftists are traitors, you are the cancer of the country.”  (Photo: Zarka’s Facebook page)

This is not the verbiage of “excessive anger”, but of a disturbing  mindset that should not be anywhere near the levers of power.  With this level of UNREASONABLE behaviour amongst members of Netanyahu’s governing coalition, is it any surprise that the first bit of legislation they pushed through as part of the overhaul of Israel’s judicial system was the passing last month of the controversial “reasonableness” bill which strips the Supreme Court of the power to declare government decisions unreasonable! “It was passed in the most heavy-handed way possible – without a comprehensive discussion of the law’s consequences for the economy or for Israel’s security and foreign relations, and with complete disregard for their recommendations and warnings issued by experts in Israel and abroad,” write two former Governors of the Bank of Israel, Jacob Frenkel and Karnit Flug in their chilling article ‘Stop the legislation, save the economy’. (The Jerusalem Post August 22). They so astutely observe that following the passage of the ‘Reasonableness Bill’ along narrow partisan lines that what had until its passing “been a  negative scenario that might come to pass, has become a negative scenario that is now being realized. Indeed, the market reacted immediately with a sharp devaluation of the shekel, alongside a decline in stock market indices.”

Sounds of Silence to Sound Advice. Ex-Bank of Israel chiefs Karnit Flug (left) and Jacob Frenkel warn judicial overhaul is causing a severe blow to Israel’s economy that may, if not stopped, prove irreversible. (Yonatan Sindel and Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Is this the “reasonable” behaviour we expect from our ‘elected’ office bearers?

The former Bank of Israel governors  continue  that:

 “As of today, investment in hi-tech, the growth engine of Israel’s economy in recent years, continues to fall. This sector is seeing a decline even as the hi-tech industry globally is showing signs of recovery. Moreover, over the past six months, almost NO new hi-tech companies have registered in Israel. Instead, they are registering abroad, which means Israe will lose out on a large share of their future economic activity and the tax revenue they generate. In parallel, there has been a sharp decline in employment and number of jobs available in the hi-tech sector.”

Following the debilitating impact of three years of Covid on the economy, the self-inflicted mess of this government’s policies might cause irreparable damage to the point that it “could become potentially irreversible,” warns former BOI governors Frankel and Flug.

We shudder to think what is “unreasonably” next  from Netanyahu and his reckless band in the Knesset that are ruining instead of running the country.

Which begs the question:

Where is the one that will break rank, speak up and stop the madness?

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

5 thoughts on “IS THERE EVEN JUST ONE?

  1. Of course I like and agree with this excellent article and of course I support the protesters totally. Perhaps there is something positive in this opened up struggle between the two leading opposing groups in our country and that is that the racial beast – the fear/hatred of the Arabs in our midst (dare we compare to apartheid), both those Israeli citizens within the country and those under the cruel yolk of occupation in the territories. This has been ever present since the earliest days of the state but largely silenced. To day it has been brought onto the central stage. We who care are recognizing and listening to this what was once the loudest sound of silence.

    1. Dear Richelle
      I’m so pleased you brought up the word ” Occupation” . So many people I’ve discovered know so little what the word even means and how it affects lives. More should be written about it to bring awareness to the word “Occupation ” . I wrote a poem called The Wall. I watch many documentaries about it on Israeli News Channel. As one Arab Dr from Hebron who I spoke to at Tel ha Shomer said : ” it’s like living in an open prison”. When he was asked why he didn’t go to Canada for an easier life he replied ” I was born in Israel why would I want to leave?”

  2. Thank you David for an excellent and accurate article of the situation .How ever depressing it is we have to have ” HOPE” and carry on the protests. I don’t see any other way!!

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