September 30, 2020: Israel’s day of infamy

When citing or offering comparisons, it is crucial to ensure that the historical event or the figure being offered for an appraisal is indeed representative of the known facts.

For example, recently Joe Biden compared Donald Trump to Joesph Goebbels. https://www.businessinsider.in/politics/world/news/joe-biden-says-trump-is-like-the-nazi-propagandist-joseph-goebbels/articleshow/78350066.cms Regardless of how much people may loathe Trump, the US president does not come even close to the image of Goebbels and his slick manipulation of Nazi propaganda.

I write the above lines, as I thought long and hard before using the word “infamy” to label the events of September 29 & 30, 2020 in Israel.

(For those readers who are not aware, the word “infamy” was used by US President Franklin Roosevelt to describe the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech)

The draconian legislation passed during the night is another, if not the final nail in the coffin of Israel's democracy. Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar remarked following the vote, “we have become a dictatorship”. https://www.timesofisrael.com/knesset-passes-bill-clamping-down-on-protests-after-all-night-session/

It’s maybe semantics, but I would argue the point, we did not become a dictatorship this past night, we have been on that road for some time. Netanyahu sees himself as a reflection of Vladimir Putin, of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of Alexander Lukashenko, and many other dictators, both past and present. He alone (thinks) he knows what is best for Israel, best for the people of Israel.

Israel in it’s near 73 years of statehood has known many critical historical dates: May 17, 1948, June 5; 1967, October 6, 1973; and now September 30, 2020.

Decades ago Benjamin Netanyahu had ‘balls of steel’, just look at his record in the IDF. Yet, over the years his balls have turned to putty. So intent is he to clinging to power, that every demand of ultra-orthodox is agreed. How is it that of Israel's approximately 74.5% Jewish population, of which just 10% are Haredi Jews, that they derive so much power? And, while they may be just 10% of the overall Jewish population, they account for 1/3 of COVID19 infections. “Top health official: 1/3 of Israel’s virus infections are among ultra-Orthodox” “Chezy Levy says community seeing ‘steep increase’ in deaths; says schools won’t reopen ‘as normal’ after holidays” https://www.timesofisrael.com/top-health-official-1-3-of-israels-virus-infections-are-among-ultra-orthodox/

Is it because they are unable to think for themselves? They need a rabbi to tell when to piss, when to shit, what to think or not think? Are they completely and utterly unable to think for themselves? When they utter phrases like “Only the rabbis will determine what is permitted and what is forbidden” and “Torah and prayer are what protect the world and prevent disease,”.then you have to believe that they unable to think for themselves, or maybe, they so brainwashed that they are incapable of comprehending what is going on around them. “Hundreds protest in ultra-Orthodox city after worshipers detained” https://www.timesofisrael.com/hundreds-protest-in-ultra-orthodox-city-after-worshippers-detained/

It hurts me, but almost daily I better understand what Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens’ notion that religion is a man-made phenomenon created to control man. Just think about it? Think back through history and how religion has molded, dominated our history.

Back to ball-less Benjamin Netanyahu, so intent is he in ensuring that Donald J. Trump is reelected, that both he and Trump win Noble Prize Prizes, that he has taken his eye off the target, and Israel today surpasses the US in COVID19 deaths per capita. Trump last week mused that it’s a shame that 200,000 people in the US died from COVID19, does Netanyahu feel the same about the 1,547 deaths in Israel? https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-says-200000-virus-deaths-a-shame-but-could-be-much-worse/

Netanyahu needs to stand-up and take responsibility, but of course, he will not. It’s much easier to blame everyone else.

What surprises me, although it certainly should not, is the lack of pushback from Likud MKs and Likud supports around the country. Do they lack compassion, are so blinded by Netanyahu and his poodles that they can’t see what is happening?

It would appear that the only current Likud MK with any balls is Yifat Shasha-Biton. I had anticipated that Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar’s voice would have been heard, together with Nir Barkat, Israel Katz, and one or two others would have stood up and voiced opinions. Sadly, they have not spoken out. Miki Zohar and the many other Likud poodles rule the day. But, for how much longer?

It’s a rhetorical question, but just as Trump’s supporters seem blind to the man, so here in Israel, Netanyahu can do no wrong, even if and when he does.

It’s time to remove Netanyahu, NOT, I hasten to add through any form of violence, but by perpetual acts of civil disobedience. Take a peek at the Gandhi or MLK playbooks.

Yesh Atid headman MK Yair Lapid, who is the leader of the opposition, is I am sure a nice guy, and maybe that is the problem. He needs to step up and lead a united opposition of all factions. Right now it seems that this role is being filled by Naftali Bennet.

How will we look back on this day? What will we tell our children and grandchildren about the day democracy was strangled in Israel. Will they inquire “what did you do to stop Netanyahu”? Will we hang our heads in shame and say “we did nothing”?

All rights reserved to Murray Lewis Freeman

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