you shall find. This is true also for those who enjoy accusing the Jewish state
of racism. And the political drama that has blessed the Israeli people with
three parliamentary elections within twelve months provides ammunition in
is racism in Israeli society. This can never be excused, covered up or “put
into perspective” by inappropriate comparisons. And this also applies to the
Arab world, including the Palestinians. Incidentally, the main frontlines do
not run between Jews and Arabs or Israelis and Palestinians, but within the
everything is racism that is described as such in heated political debates in
Israel. A close look is crucial if one does not wish to become a victim of
oriental emotions or fairy tales of the Arabian nights.
Pro and contra Netanyahu
In the power
struggle within the Knesset, two camps face each other. On one side there are
the followers of Benjamin Netanyahu, who is undoubtedly not only the
longest-serving head of government, but also the most popular prime minister the
modern state of Israel has ever had. Netanyahu’s admirers include quite a few
Arab citizens of Israel and even Palestinians.
block of parties including the Likud, the right-wing Yamina party, the
ultra-Orthodox Sephardic Schass party and the ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi United Torah
Judaism seems to have pledged each other faithfulness to political death. This
alliance of parties missed the absolute majority in the Knesset by just three
seats in the last election.
other side there are the opponents of Netanyahu. He appears to be at the same
time also the most hated head of government the modern State of Israel ever had.
The face of Netanyahu’s opponents is Benny Gantz, whose problem is not only
that he doesn’t know what he might be able to do better than Netanyahu. Much
worse: There is nothing that connects the 62 Members of Knesset who together might
make Gantz prime minister – except their hatred of Netanyahu.
The Joint List
winner of the March 2, 2020 election is the Joint List of Arab parties. With 15
seats, it is the third largest party in the 23rd Knesset. Almost all
Knesset parties have Arab voters, Arab members, or even Arab members of
parliament. What distinguishes the MKs of the Joint List is their decidedly
List demands that Israel give up the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, Judea and
Samaria and to uproot all Jewish settlers in these areas. As a condition for his
support of a Gantz government, Joint List chairman Ayman Oude demands that Jews
will from now on be prohibited from visiting the Temple Mount. Non-Muslims are
already banned from praying there.
List demands that all “political prisoners” be released, including mass
murderers such as Abdullah Barghouti, who killed 67, and Abbas A-Sayed, who
killed 29 Israelis. A number of statements in the program of the Joint List cannot
be understood other than to support Palestinian terror against Israel.
one of the most distinguished members of the Joint List, has praised the
well-known terrorist Marwan Barghouti and described the State of Israel as “colonialist”.
Tibi sees firing rockets at Israeli civilians as legitimate resistance. At the
same time, the Joint List demands that Israel abolishes its nuclear arsenal.
cannot form a government with 58 mandates. This would require 61 seats in the
Knesset. Gantz, a former general chief of staff, is supported by his own Blue-and-White
party (33), the pitiful rest of Israel’s Left (7) and the secular-right party Yisrael
Beiteinu of Avigdor Lieberman (7). That adds up to 47 MKs.
achieve the majority needed to form a government only with the help of the
anti-Zionist Joint List. However, that will discredit him in the eyes of many
of his own voters. Two Blue-and-White MKs, Tzvi Hauser and Yoas Hendel, have already
committed themselves: A coalition with the Joint List and even a minority
government tolerated by it is out of the question, even if they were to be excluded
from their party.
political right extends far beyond Lieberman into the Blue-and-White camp.
There are fears that Gantz will chose to form a government with the support of
the Joint List, instead of thinking about a unity government with Netanyahu. The
idea of a unity government of Likud and Blue-and-White has so far failed
because Gantz insists on a rotation as Prime Minister. He wants to govern
himself first, while Netanyahu is supposed to get through his upcoming legal
number two of Blue-and-White, assured on Facebook that a collaboration with the
Joint List was only conceivable for the establishment of a minority government.
Never would the Arabs become part of a Gantz government. “They will vote once from
the outside. And that’s it,” Lapid wrote. It is unlikely that the Joint List
allows itself to be used like this.
this background, Benjamin Netanyahu, two days after the election in a speech to
his own right wing block, once again accused Gantz of wanting to form a
government with the help of those who “do not recognize the State of Israel”
and “attack our soldiers”. Such people, according to Netanyahu, cannot be part
of the political equation. Foreign Minister Israel Katz went on to describe the
Joint List as “terrorists in suits”.
List answered that “the Likud were losers with ties.” In addition, its chairman
Ayman Oude formally applied for bodyguards from the Knesset. His party
colleague Ahmad Tibi had earlier complained that Netanyahu’s statements were
dangerous and might provoke the assassination of one of the leading party
MK Ofer Shelah
(Blue-and-White) countered on Facebook that Netanyahu had declared war on
Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. After all, the founding fathers of the
Jewish state had imagined a country in which Arabs and other non-Zionists were
citizens with equal rights.
A biblical perspective
has made a name for himself as a commander of the paratroopers, then as a
journalist and more recently as a politician of the secular party Yesh Atid, is
not that wrong from a biblical point of view.
paints an astonishingly nuanced picture of the Promised Land in which
non-Israelites and the chosen people lived side by side and even in harmony with
each other. Abraham’s calling is inconceivable without Gentiles. After all, God’s
basic mission for Abraham is to be a blessing to “all families on the earth”
(Genesis 12:2-3), which obviously applies first to those Gentiles who live in
the land of Israel.
exemplified this. With his life he set standards, for example through the close
relationship with the brothers Eshkol, Mamre and Aner (Genesis 14:13,24), in
which one was willing to risk his life for the other. Abraham knew and
respected the spiritual and human authorities that he found in the land, as we
can see, for example, in his relating to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20). All of
Israel’s ancient law, the Torah, is designed so that Israelites and Gentiles
live together in the Land of Israel.
of the Creator in his dealings with and through the people of Israel is a
coexistence of Jews and Gentiles. Together God promises them a future. It is
only one aspect that the prophet Isaiah sees in Jerusalem a “house of prayer
for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7). However, to both Israelites and non-Israelites
applies alike: Only he has a future in the Land of Israel who asks for the will
of the one and only, true, living God and then also practices it (Leviticus 18: