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R.I.P Israeli Democracy

If we had only done something sooner!

Yesterday, the obnoxious government of the Supreme Leader Netanyahu, opened a door to a new tomorrow and pummeled Israel onto the path of dictatorship.

This ‘tomorrow’ is not a ‘brave new world’ but rather a world of bigotry, of black hats and grey beards, of repression of women, of members of the LGBT community, a world where settlers living on occupied land are flouted as the elite. Where Haridim sitting on their backsides in their ghettos are compared to IDF troops, and get paid by the State for sitting on their bums. This is the new world that Netanyahu and his band of clowns are giving Israel.

Perhaps it is time for ‘a call to arms’ to mean just that.

US Marine Colonel Nathan R. Jessup in giving testimony at the trial of two marines used the words "honor," "code," and "loyalty." To describe the backbone of a life spent defending something.

Quoting the colonel again, we can see that Netanyahu now uses these virtuous words as a punch line.

Those who have looked at this morning's newspaper or the Internet would have seen the photos of the dunderheads celebrating by taking selfies. Sickening. They are killing a democratic, liberal Israel and they are celebrating as if they have a great victory.

No figleaf can cover this disgrace. It is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking.

What follows are three social media postings from a group I am a member of. The posting originally in Hebrew has been translated into English. Where required I have corrected spelling, grammar, otherwise the English is un-edited.

Posting #1 written by Yuval Noah Harari, and appearing yesterday in Hebrew on the Ynet Hebrew website.

This is the time to stop the country, there is no need to wait for the President of the United States to save us, for the High Court to save us, or for anyone else to do the work for us. The time for unity and bringing hearts together was before they reached out to power - now is the time to resist, and disable everything possible.

Our real fight begins today. We have reached the point of crisis, and it is a good thing. The stomach shrinks and the throat chokes, but it's good that we know where we stand, instead of dragging this nightmare further and further. Israeli democracy will not survive four years of the Netanyahu government. The economy will not survive, the military will not survive, our sanity will not survive. It is better that we decide our future here or there already. Either a messianic dictatorship will arise here, or democracy for all will arise here. The decision is in our hands.

Netanyahu and his people have made it very clear to us what they want - unlimited power, which will allow them to establish a Messianic dictatorship here. They talk a lot about democracy, but they probably learned citizenship from Smotrich's English teacher. They think that the fact that they won the election means that now they are allowed to do anything they want. They think any restriction on an elected government is anti-democratic. "Why can't we deny people their basic liberties?" they ask in all seriousness. "After all, we won the elections! That means we are allowed to do whatever we want!".

So that's it, no. Democracy is not the tyranny of the majority. Democracy means freedom and equality for all. Democracy is a system that guarantees all people basic freedoms, which even the majority cannot deny, so democracy places limits on the power of the majority. In a democracy, even 99% of voters are not allowed to kill, imprison or silence the remaining 1%. Netanyahu's coalition won the elections, and that gives them every right to form a government and decide a thousand and one things. They can decide on foreign policy, security, and the economy. They can address the cost of living and solve the housing crisis. They can fight crime and traffic jams. They can build new hospitals in Kiryat Shmona, Beit Shan, and Beit Shemesh. They can give huge budgets for education in the periphery, and additional huge budgets for welfare. They can do all this, and no one came out to protest against them for it.

But they chose not to do all this. Instead, out of a lust for power and a desire to establish a messianic tyranny here, they chose to try to unilaterally change the democratic rules of the game, seize unlimited power for themselves, and deny the basic freedoms of the citizens. This must not be done in a democracy, and we will fight them for it.

Netanyahu says many times that when someone declares that he is going to eliminate us, you should believe him. He and his people told us exactly what they intend to do to women, Arabs, secularists, LGBT people, the free media, labor unions, academic institutions, and anyone who thinks differently from them once they have unlimited power. And here today, they reached out to that power.

Now they must try to put us to sleep. They will flood us with rivers of sugar and watch over the need for unity, about bringing hearts together, about the danger of gratuitous hatred. Do not fall into their trap! The time for unity and bringing hearts together was before they reached out to power. We should remember very well everything they told us about what they are going to do to us - and if we are objects of life, it is essential that we fight them.

To beat them, we just have to do what we promised. That is: not to do. If the reservists stop volunteering, if the unions and academic institutions sit down, if the engineers put down their tools and the hi-tech workers put down their keyboards, and if the businesses close their doors, then time will play in our favor. It's time to go on vacation - for our freedom.

Of course, this is not a total strike. There are those who have to work harder now than ever before - for example, female journalists. There are those who cannot strike even if they want to - so let them find creative ways to stick small sticks in the wheels of the government. And it is also important that we remember who stood by us in our time of need, and who supported the coup, and that we remember this not only next week but also when we go shopping in a year and in ten years. And if Netanyahu and his people want to put us in jail for inaction or civil disobedience - then please, let them try. They still haven't built enough prisons for all of us.

True, Netanyahu and his people control the Knesset, but what happens in the Knesset is a total of 64 lunatics talking about reality. 64 The lunatics in there can pass whatever laws they want, but if we refuse to cooperate with their delusions, then all these laws will remain on paper. A law is a fantasy, which becomes reality only when people take it seriously and obey it.

(That) 64 crazies can pass a law that foreign investors must double their investments in Israel, a second law that prohibits Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and a third law that orders the sun to stop and the wind to stop blowing. It is very easy to pass laws. The paper endures everything. But rules are hard to enforce. As long as the laws are not obeyed, they do not change reality. Like the foreign investors, and like the sun and the wind, we too do not have to obey the delusions of Netanyahu and his gang. It's in our hands. They cannot force us to serve them. And without us, they can't run this country. Let them try and see.

So what to do now? do not do it! It's time to stop the country. Those who think that the moment has not yet come and that it is better to wait and see what happens will find that by the time they wake up, it will already be too late. True, the sun will rise and the wind will blow both tomorrow and the day after tomorrow because the sun and the wind do not care about the follies of humans. But we should be very concerned about these shenanigans. A small messianic group has taken over our country. She doesn't have much power yet, and she doesn't have much support. It tries to take control of the country's resources, in order to use these resources to gain power and support. If we don't stop them now, it will be very difficult to stop them later.

In 1917, a small extremist group seized power in Russia, took control of the country's resources, and then used those resources to crush anyone who remembered it a little too late to oppose them. It took eighty years to get rid of this group. In 1979, a similar thing happened in Iran, and the madmen still rule there. It can happen to us too.

There is no need to wait for the President of the United States to save us, for the High Court to save us, or for anyone else to do the work for us. The High Court has saved us enough, and today it is our job to save it. We must all resist now. It is not that difficult. All that is needed is not to do it.

The full Hebrew text of Yuval Noah Harari’s opinion piece is available at

Posting #2 was posted on Twitter by Major Nir Avishi Cohen. The English transaltion of his Twitter post orgianlly in Hewbrew, reads:

I refuse I, Nir Avishi Cohen, major in resp., personal number 7018784, commanding officer of the infantry brigade, inform (you) with a heavy heart of refusal. I refuse to continue serving in the IDF, an army of a non-democratic country. It is important for me to emphasize, I do not volunteer, I serve in the reserves by virtue of the law. I am aware of the possible consequences of my statement and am ready to accept it wholeheartedly, including sitting in prison for it. An order of conscience forbids me to be part of the army.

And most of all I think today of my grandmother, the late Leah, the one who survived Auschwitz but her entire family was murdered there. On this day when I announce my refusal to serve in the army of a non-democratic country, I think of her. Her private history, which is part of the national history of the Jewish people, taught us the duty to refuse. There is not a single person in the State of Israel who was not ready to return in the time machine to Germany in 1933, just after it ceased to be democratic, and All the soldiers are screaming in my ears that they are not allowed to serve in the army of a non-democratic country. That they must refuse. We can all only imagine what would have happened if in 1933 tens of thousands of officers and soldiers had refused to continue serving in the German army.

So, long before anyone even thought that the horrors of Auschwitz could happen, the soldiers had to refuse.

I have been serving in the IDF for 24 years. On a regular basis as a combat officer in the Golani, and later in reserve service as a company commander, Sgt. Yes, and I made my contribution to the defense of the country. It's no secret that for quite a few years I have been strongly critical of the actions of the IDF in the occupied territories, I even wrote a book about it. But despite this, I decided to continue serving. True, not in the occupied territories but in the defense of Israel's legitimate southern border. Although with many doubts in light of what was happening in the territories, I continued to serve. In all the countless times I wore a uniform I remembered Grandma Leah. I always remembered that she repeated and said that our family should contribute to the security of this country and that the Holocaust would not have happened if the State of Israel and its army had existed. I have decided that on the one hand, I will continue to serve in the reserves, and on the other hand, I will act as much as I can as a citizen to influence and change government policy. As long as the country is democratic, I found logic in this, even if I received criticism for my decision from both sides, from the left and the right.

It is a clear fact that an undemocratic regime makes use of the army, police, and other security agencies, in favor of the personal needs and desires of the rulers and not in favor of the real needs of the defense of the state. The moment has come to look honestly at the reality, Israel has ceased to be a democratic state, even the one within the Green Line. The current laws are just the beginning, many terrible, anti-democratic laws are about to be enacted. Many population groups face real danger. Arabs, women, and LGBT people will be the first to be harmed within the green line. In the occupied territories, the suffering of the Palestinian population will increase and Palestinian blood will continue to be shed in large quantities. History shows that an undemocratic regime may require the army to commit atrocities, certainly, a regime in which the rulers are Smotrich, Ben Gvir, and their racist and messianic gang. Not long ago, Bezalel Smotrich, who is also a minister in the Ministry of Defense, called to "wipe out Hvara", a call that certainly could soon become an order. That is why the duty to refuse today can prevent tomorrow's atrocities. History shows that when the atrocities the army demands to be carried out are accompanied by virulent propaganda, it will already be too late, the soldiers will "just follow orders". Therefore, there is no choice, now is the moment.

In this difficult moment, I think of my grandmother. I think what would have happened to her family if in 1933 a critical mass of officers and soldiers had refused to serve. Today I make my humble contribution, all in all, a simple and unimportant major. A contribution in the form of a public refusal to serve in the IDF. I now look to the sky and tell my grandmother with pride, filled with tears of sadness, that I am not ready to be one of those who "just follow orders", and that I also learned this lesson from her private history, which is the history of all of us. As of today, I am not part of the army of the State of Israel, a non-democratic country. In the photo: Me, when I was a young officer in Golani and the late grandmother Leah.

While the photo may have appeared in the original Twitter, having been forwarded so many times, the illustration has been lost.

Posting #3 was posted originally on Facebook by Nir Aden. The English translation of his Facebook post originally in Hebrew, reads:

Hi Bibi. Truth? It's strange to call you Bibi. Strange because all the years I was your shadow I was not allowed to address you by your first name. Remember me? Nir Adan does not ring a bell? Maybe try to concentrate, still nothing? (Must read to the end). I was one of those who was willing to lose your life for you. I was one of those who underwent aggressive courses in the Shin Bet to change the human instinct and jump on you, to protect you with my body when your life is in danger. Still can't remember? I am one of those whom you and many others called "salt of the earth," well, of those who made an army, of those who buried friends, of those who followed you "on the blind." Nothing? Still nothing?

I am the one who once aggressively neutralized a person who wanted to protest at a Likud conference, I am the one who stood for countless hours outside your home, in winter, summer, Saturdays, and holidays.

We traveled the world together, you and I always sat in the front and you at the back, I would open the door for you every morning with a good morning.

I was the one who was the fly on the wall in meetings at the White House, in the pit in the Kirya, and other surreal places.

I was the one who was willing to kill.

In your name, for your sake.

Beginning to return to memory?

No huh

I'm the one who knows the house in Balfour better than mine, I'm the one who always stood by your right shoulder and I'm the one whose left ear always heard too much. (Because there was an earpiece stuck on the right)

I was the one I was proud to protect.

I'm the one who was brainwashed.

I'm the one who traveled the world with you, the one who walked with you in demonstrations, and I'm also the one who can't explain to my children why I did it.

You won't remember me.

Only you are important to you.

So guess what? Yesterday I came to visit you, yes yes, in Balfour. I am the one who, if you wake him up in the middle of the night, will know within 37 seconds to reach every house in the vicinity with enormous poverty, the one who chose to defend democracy. I am the one who knows the martial law you invented. The one who knows the shticks you do. Yesterday, I am the one who heard the voices of despair of our people both at the left-wing and right-wing demonstrations across the street. I was the one who was beaten yesterday by police officers just because I came to exercise my basic democratic right in Jerusalem. I am the one who hijacked an unreasonably powerful stream of water from an extreme crowd control measure, simply because our politically summoned police have no containment capability.

And you Bibi? You didn't even come out to say hello, sorry, or thank you. You were scared. But hear something, I felt you, I knew you were sitting in that beloved chair of yours on the patio in Balfour and listening. And moving uncomfortably. I am also the one whose grandfather, Avraham Eden "Baran", hung the ink flag with his friends in Um Resh Resh in 1949. The one whose uncle was Finance Minister Yitzhak Mudai. The fact that his father, Omer Eden, commanded fighter squadrons in the Air Force. The one whose brothers and sisters served and were wounded in the army. Today? Today you no longer remember. Not my friends, not my brothers and sisters, not my uncle, not my father, not my grandfather, certainly not me. But I do! I remember. And today, I'm the one who is ashamed. I'm the sad one. I look into my two sons' eyes and don't know how to answer them with worried looks.

I thought it would be right to suggest that you take a moment to read the Declaration of Independence, it has a paragraph about the vision of the State of Israel, if you forgot then here is the quoted passage, I didn't touch it. "The State of Israel will be open to Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles; will strive to develop the country for the benefit of all its residents; It will be founded on the foundations of freedom, justice, and peace in light of the vision of the prophets of Israel; It shall maintain complete equality of social and political rights for all its citizens, regardless of religion, race or sex; Ensure freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture; Take care of the holy places of all religions" Remember Bibi? Remember those words? I hope so because you've sworn allegiance to strive for them, sworn to lead your partners, and strive to realize your vision. Do you even know the vision? Maybe you should refresh their memories, even those without the bag (of money). So maybe now you remember, and maybe you try to forget. The people are divided Bibi. And you're out of touch, like the business government you assembled with your pet doll. Hear what I'm telling you. I felt it yesterday when I came to visit you at your home in Balfour. I think it's time to go home, let us rebuild our broken country, and give way to real leaders. Clean, valued. And that they didn't come here for the power, money, and honor. I know you Bibi, I know you well, and that's exactly why it's clear to me that you won't get up and leave, but it was important for me to give you a flap, to tell you that yesterday I came to visit and tell you that I and all my social circles are fed up, we are here to fight for our country, we are here to turn the ship of all of us towards its original vision.


Perhaps it is time for ‘a call to arms’ to mean just that.

For the fallen of Israel not to be forgotten, we MUST be their voice and stop this government from plundering the wealth of the country.


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