Power to the People

‘’Power to the People’’ was the often-repeated catchphrase of ‘’Wolfie’’ Smith, played by Robert Lindsay in the late 1970s comedy series, Citizen Smith.

As a side note, the series was written by John Sullivan who went on to write the classic comedy series, Only Fools and Horses.

For those not familiar with Citizen Smith, "Wolfie" Smith, is a young Marxist "urban guerrilla" in Tooting, south London, who is attempting to emulate his hero Che Guevara. ‘’Wolfie’’ is a reference to the Irish revolutionary Wolfe Tone, who used the pseudonym Citizen Smith to evade capture by the British. Wolfie is the self-proclaimed leader of the revolutionary Tooting Popular Front (the TPF, merely a small bunch of his friends), the goals of which are "Power to the People" and "Freedom for Tooting".

My mind has been focused on ‘’people power’’ the last few days following the atrocious behavior of fringe elements of the Haredi community in various parts of the country.

Countless articles, opinion pieces, and news reports - both radio and TV - point the finger of blame squarely at the rabbis of these sects and communities. And now we have an opinion poll that forcefully affirms that 61% of the population do not want the Haredim to be part of the next government following the March elections. Of course, this feeling may change, either way, as the election date looms ever closer.

It does nevertheless send a powerful message to those who will be involved in forming the next government; Naftali Bennet, Gideon Saar, Yair Lapid, and Avigdor Liberman. The message should also be clear to Benjamin Netanyahu, that the public does not want the Haredim involved in government.

According to the Israel Democracy Institute, “The share of Haredim as a percentage of Israel’s total population is predicted to be 14 % in 2024; 19 % in 2039, and 27 % in 2059. By 2059, the Haredi community is expected to constitute 35% of the Jewish population in Israel’’. The figures need to be digested and contemplated given their undoubted impact on the future of a demarcating Israel.

Today, right now, we need to ask how just 12% of the population of Israel dominates the majority. Make no mistake, they do, and will continue to do so unless stopped.

While certainly, part of the answer goes back to the establishment of modern-day Israel, closer to home, the answer is two words - Benjamin Netanyahu.

It’s no secret that Benjamin Netanyahu will do anything and everything to cling to power. Simply, whatever it takes, and if that means selling out Israel and citizens, so be it.

In his celebrated ‘’J'Accuse…!’’ open letter of January 13th, 1898 to the president of the French Republic, Émile Zola, includes the lines ‘’My duty is to speak out; I do not wish to be an accomplice in this travesty.”

With just weeks to the election, now is the time for the people of Israel to rise up and with one voice, say enough is enough. It’s time to stop the charade and purge once and for all the travesty of justice that Netanyahu has subjected the people of Israel too.

I’m no lawyer, but it would be interesting to see if Netanyahu could, in a ‘mock’ court, be convicted of treachery and treason against the people of Israel? He has after all sold out the people of Israel for his own ends. He, and his cohorts, could be described as “Johnny Turks”, available and willing if the price is right.

The Haredim here in Israel need to decide if they want to live in a modern, vibrant democratic country or if they want to remain isolated in their 17th, 18th, and 19th-century‘ shtetls’. Being part of modern Israel means embracing the responsibilities that come with citizenship. It’s not all take, take, take. There is also give, give, give.

The notion that prayer and study protect Israel is pure mumbo-jumbo. Yes, believe it if you will. It is no secret that the Haredim have been brainwashed by their rabbis into believing this fable, along with the notion that a modern, democratic Israel wishes to do away with religion. What utter and complete bullshit. The rabbis are doing their communities no favors by these blindside antics. The reverse is true.

“Benny Gantz threatens to enlist all Haredim unless his national service plan advances, defense minister, who has been feuding with ultra-Orthodox parties, says he won’t extend military exemption which ends next Monday.” https://www.timesofisrael.com/gantz-threatens-to-enlist-all-haredim-unless-his-national-service-plan-advances/

This is of course nothing short of an election gimmick on his part. His hot-air is meant to convey that he intends to be ruthless in his application of the law to all citizens regarding military or a form of national service. Fat chance, in fact, no chance. But it makes good copy.

And we have the outcry regarding the TV satire, ‘Eretz Nehederet’. ‘’Satirical portrayal of top rabbi sparks outrage, debate over freedom of speech. Amid growing conflict with Haredi community over flouting of lockdown, opponents call ‘Eretz Nehederet’ skit of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ‘disrespectful and offensive’’’. https://www.timesofisrael.com/satirical-portrayal-of-top-rabbi-sparks-outrage-debate-over-freedom-of-speech/

What I see as being ‘disrespectful and offensive’ is the fact that certain elements of the Haredi community think they are above the law of the State of Israel.

What I see as being ‘disrespectful and offensive’ is the way that Netanyahu bends over backward to accommodate the Haredim, and how by default a ninety-four-year-old rabbi, managing the country. Granted, he is considered a leading authority in Haredi Jewish society; that does not make him nor his mouthpiece grandson, the de-facto ruler of the modern State of Israel.

No doubt the main reason people are up-in-arms is that the skit is just so true. Read the complete article, and then judge for yourself.

And of course, always wanting his 15 minutes we have National Union MK Bezalel Smotrich who protested against the “harm to the honor of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.” “These satirists are not just mocking the rabbi but the entire traditional, religious and ultra-Orthodox communities who revere the sages of Israel,” he tweeted.

This is the same ultra-conservative who just a few years ago raged at the very notion of an Arab midwife delivering his wife, and baby. Did he think then about free speech, the injury his rant may cause? Of course not. The gentleman does not understand that free-speech works both ways.

My disdain for the gentleman and what he stands for is crushing, yet, to borrow from Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s coined quote in her biography of Voltaire, “while I disapprove of what you say, what you stand for, I will defend your right to say it, and assume that you will do the same for me?’’.

Free speech and thought are the immovable cornerstones of a democratic society. Stifle them and you spiral down into a totalitarian society where free speech, free thought is outlawed and only the words, thoughts of dictators are allowed. We have witnessed this in both communists and right-wing dictatorships to this day. Think of Iran, North Korea as just examples.

And sadly we see it closer to home amongst the Haredi communities who are brainwashed, brain-dead to any original thought or ideas. They are robots tuned and directed by their rabbis to have zero thought process, tweaked not to think outside the box.

I innately believe that the overwhelming majority of Israel’s regardless of ethnicity, sex, religion, or grouping, desire to live in a wholly democratic society, and to that end, pursue their lifestyle according to their wants.

It is, therefore, time for all good men and women of Israel to stand up, stand together, and exclamation, enough-is-enough, we want our country back. From the hills, valleys, desserts, from all corners of this country, it’s time to throw off the yoke of tyranny, of the tyrant, of despair and disillusionment. Just as in South Africa, not so long ago, we must roar at the tops of our voices ‘cry my beloved country’ we will win you back. We will climb the mountain, we will stand fast and strong for the rights of a democratic nation. We will welcome with open arms all who wish to partake and share our democracy. Those who do not can scuttle away and live, without our support, without our comradeship in their ghettos. They can continue to live with their dark, morbid outlook on life, cocooned in hatred and loathing for a world they can not appreciate or understand because they are blinded, brainwashed and feebleminded.

Power to the People of Israel that come March 24, 2021, collectively we shout aloud that we have returned Israel to the true path of democracy, that Israel is once again a country of egalitarianism, equality, and consensus. Where the rule of law prevails to all.

Above all, a country where a prime minister puts the country first not his agenda and his self-preservation. Where ministers have the balls to carry out their duties for the good of the country instead of merely kowtowing like puppets to the puppet-master.

All Power to the People of Israel.

All rights reserved to Murray Lewis Freeman

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