Friday, March 15, 2019

The Judicial Dictatorship in Israel, is not Democracy

I’ve been speaking out about the need for judicial reform in Israel, for over thirty years. So, when I saw what Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has been doing in the last couple of years, I was mildly pleased. It didn’t go far enough for my taste, but “Liat Liat,” little by little, is better than nothing at all.
 
Why does Israel need judicial reform?
 
With Purim and elections coming up, National Union Chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich has recently unmasked the Judicial Dictators in the Supreme Court for what they are, a largely self-appointed leftist elite, that looks down on the simple Jews of Israel and their well being, more often siding with Arab terrorists and their political supporters, than with their Jewish victims. We can now also clearly see the disdain they hold for the other branch of government, the legislature, the Knesset and Knesset members, who are popularly elected by the public, as should be in a democracy, unlike the self-appointed Judiciary.
 
On March 6, the Central Elections Committee narrowly rejected the complaints against Otzma Yehudit’s Knesset run by a vote of 16 to 15. Afterword, left-wing and Arab MKs filed an appeal against the candidacies of Dr. Michael Ben-Ari and Adv. Itamar Ben-Gvir of Otzma Yehudit, with the Supreme Court.
 
During that Supreme Court hearing, a representative from the State Prosecutor’s Office, urged Ben-Ari’s disqualification. Ben-Ari, has faced multiple attempts from the left, to outlaw his candidacy under Article 7A of the “Basic Law: The Knesset,” which lists “incitement to racism” as one of three actions that disqualify a candidate from running for the Knesset. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit urged the court to bar him, because in his opinion, Ben-Ari has a long history of “severe and extreme” racism.
 
At the time, when the Elections Committee voted to let them run, Justice Uzi Fogelman criticized Ben-Ari, pointing out a rally he led in the northern town of Afula, against a tender that was open for all its residents, including Israeli Arabs. Ben-Ari claimed during the protest that the tender “has been opened to the enemy as a form of equal rights.” “That sentence is crystal clear,” Fogelman said, implying racist intentions of Ben-Ari.
 
Other Judges, earlier, in May 2018, cited remarks about Arabs made by Ben-Ari on another occasion. Ben-Ari said, “We need to call it as it is, they are our enemy, they want to annihilate us. Of course there are loyal Arabs, but they can be counted as one percent and less than that. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of them are full partners to their brothers in Gaza.”
 
Ben-Ari’s lawyer, Yitzhak Bam, responded that his client had “no problem” with Israeli Arab citizens who are loyal to the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, as enshrined in “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People.” Justice Yitzhak Amit asked Bam if 99% of Israeli Arabs are considered “enemies,” if they don’t identify with that viewpoint. Ben-Ari’s attorney confirmed, “That’s the logic.” Bam added, that it was hard to know the true number today, since “anyone who expresses those views [support for Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People] is ostracized, condemned,” or even attacked.
 
During that recent Supreme Court hearing, a bitter exchange developed between Chief Justice Esther Hayut and MK Smotrich. After Hayut rebuked MK Smotrich, “Don’t shout here, this isn’t the Knesset.” Smotrich replied.,”Don’t belittle the legislature and don’t disrespect Knesset Members.” Hayut then replied to Smotrich, “This isn’t the Knesset, there are different legal procedures here.” Smotrich replied, “I’m happy for the clarification.” Hayut then commented, “I don't need to clarify anything for you.” Smotrich then responded to her, “Don’t belittle the Knesset and the public.”
 
Something that happens regularly by Israel’s Supreme Court overlords.
 
Subsequently, Hayut also chastised MK Stav Shafir of the Labor Party, who tried to speak: “You won’t speak here, this isn’t the Knesset. At this point, Justice Fogelman joined Chief Justice Hayut saying, “This isn’t anarchy here; what you’re doing here is unprecedented, the politicians will not speak here.”
 
Thus showing their utter disdain for the legislative branch, regardless of party affiliation. And let’s not forget that Fogelman has already publicly voiced his opinions about Ben-Ari. Shouldn’t he have disqualified himself from the hearing?
 
Later MK Smotrich told the media, “You needed to be here to see the disgusting contempt, and condescending attitude of the judges, towards the Knesset Members present here in the hearing, from both sides of the political fence. They simply despise us and what we represent.”
 
Representative Democracy or Judicial Tyranny?
 
Smotrich continued, “What’s under discussion here is the very composition of the Knesset in the next term, and involvement of Knesset Members in this debate is the most legitimate thing in the world. It’s also legitimate for the judges to decide not to let MKs talk, so as not to turn the debate into a political election platform, but there’s a way to relate to a Knesset member while they're in the middle of a sentence. They wouldn’t treat someone like that, if they had a modicum of respect. And that’s nothing new."
 
Then, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked spoke out for the first time, about the attempt to the disqualify Ben-Ari from running for the Knesset. “I hope very much that the Supreme Court will not intervene in Israeli democracy and will uphold the decision of the Elections Committee. Michael Ben-Ari was already a member of the Knesset, and the sky did not fall. Arab MKs who do not believe in the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state are already in office.”
 
Let’s look at “Basic Law: The Knesset.”
 
It allows the Elections Committee to bar parties from participating in elections that, 1. Negate the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, 2. Made incitements to racism, or 3. Supported the armed struggle of an enemy state or terrorist organization against the state of Israel.
 
Many Israeli Arab citizens and their political representatives, the Arab political parties, therefore should be banned from running, under sections 1 and 3. Shouldn’t the law be applied equally in a democracy?
 
Notice, even Netanyahu knows the truth. In 2018, PM Netanyahu met with South Tel Aviv anti-illegal immigration activists, representing the Jewish population of South Tel Aviv, suffering from the meteoric rise of crime, from illegal African infiltrators living there. Netanyahu questioned one of the activists what caused him to join the campaign to expel the illegal Africans, David said that he began his political activism out of shock at the way the Supreme Court handled the petition against the 2005 Gaza Disengagement Plan. Netanyahu smiled as he said: “You expected justice from the courts? That is the last place to seek justice.”
 
How are judges picked in Israel? Does the citizenry vote for them as in the US. Few would claim that America is not a democracy.
 
According to “Basic Law: the Judiciary,” the Judicial Selection Committee has nine members. The committee is made up as follows: Justice Minister – Chairman, another Cabinet Minister, chosen by the Cabinet. Two Knesset Members, chosen by the Knesset. Two members of the Bar Association (Usually selected by the two largest factions in the association).The Chief Justice, and two other justices of the Supreme Court (replaced every three years, the selection is usually by seniority). The committee’s decision to appoint a judge in all lower courts, is passed by a simple majority of members present at the meeting.
 
Notice the inside deal, three Supreme Court Justices, and two lawyers from the bar (people who probably aspire to be appointed as a judge), who have an automatic majority on the committee.
 
And who appoints Israeli Supreme Court Justices? In America, the President nominates them, and the citizens' elected representatives, the Senate, vote to confirm them or reject them.
 
But in Israel, the rules for appointing Supreme Court judges, really aren’t much better than for appointing lower court judges. It requires a majority of 7 of the 9 committee members, or two less than the number present at the meeting (6 of 8, 5 of 7, etc.).
 
Notice, the elite clique of Supreme Court judges and lawyer wannabes, already make up five votes. As I said, self-appointing elites, who veer to the left and hold everyone else in disdain.
 
One last example of Judicial Dictatorship, it occurred in 2017, when Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor bullyed Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Naor made a veiled threat in a letter to Shaked, that she would petition the court against Shaked if Shaked delayed convening the Judicial Selection Committee, which was supposed to announce the appointment of Esther Hayut as the next Chief Justice. Naor said, “the minister should use her authority to establish the schedule only in a true and professional manner. Apparently the only reason to delay the meeting of the committee is that we have not succeeded in getting to an agreement regarding the identity of the two Supreme Court judges, to be appointed in place of [retiring justices] Danziger and Shoham.”
 
This problem wouldn’t exist, if the Chief Justice, or other justices on the Supreme Court, weren't involved with choosing their own colleagues. Judicial Cronyism and with it, Judicial Tyranny in Israel must end. Israel desperately needs reform of the judicial selection process, if it wants to end the Judicial Dictatorship, and have a true democracy.

In the end, the Supreme Court decided to disqualify Doctor Michael Ben-Ari of the Otzma Yehudit Party from running in the Knesset. In response, the Knesset Speaker, Yuli Edelstein said, that was “a serious mistake and the entire public will pay dearly for it.” He continued, “[The Arab] Balad party, that denies the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state, has no place in the Israeli Knesset.” Referring to Hadash [communist] leader Ofer Cassif, he said, “One who legitimizes harm to IDF soldiers doesn’t either. We will continue to struggle against provocative anti-Zionist elements [I might add treasonous] in the 21st Knesset as well.”

Chairman Rafi Peretz of the Union of Right-Winged Parties also criticized the Supreme Court for disqualifying Dr. Michael Ben-Ari’s candidacy for the Knesset race. Rabbi Peretz said, “In the State of Israel there is [only] a democracy in appearance. The judiciary has taken the right to choose for Israeli citizens in an unprecedented manner. [Hostile] Ofer Casif and [Ahmed] Tibi are inside, but Dr. Ben-Ari, a Zionist Jew whose sons serve in the IDF, is outside. We are committed to stopping the violation of democracy by the Supreme Court justices.”
 
Israeli citizens should demand judicial reform and only vote for parties dedicated to carrying it out!
 
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2019/5779 Pasko

Monday, March 11, 2019

Needed: a Jewish Honor Guard on US Campuses

The Rabbis ask, “Who is wise?” and they answer, “One who sees the future.” It’s no big deal to see “today.” A Jewish leader has to see tomorrow. Look at what just happened in Congress, after Rep. Ilhan Omar’s blatantly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments. The Democrat party couldn’t pass a resolution condemning her and her vile words, instead they condemned hatred, in all forms, downplaying the Judeopathy and not mentioning her by name. So benign was the wording, that even Rep. Omar voted for it.
 
Sometimes, its downright easy to see the future. The writing is all over the walls, in between the swastikas.
 
There’s been a meteoric rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States in recent years. The Anti-Defamation League reported a 58 percent increase in such incidents, between 2016 and 2017, many of them in schools or on college campuses. In France, incidents are up 74 percent from 2017 to 2018.
 
Whether, its the known neo-Nazi types, radical blacks, far Left, BDS, or Islamists, matters not; the solution for Jewish communities in the US, and more generally around the world, is Jewish active self-defense organizations.
 
On US college campuses (formerly bastions of “freedom of speech” in past generations), verbal and increasingly real violence, has started to become the norm. Conservatives generally and Pro-Israel activists in particular are regularly shouted down, and sometimes physically attacked. Jewish students on campus run scared, regularly under threat.
 
Anti-Israelism has become the preferred form of Judeopathy today, in many circles.
 
Yaakov Hagoel, deputy and interim chairman of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and head of the struggle against anti-Semitism, said recently, “The time has come to raise the issue of anti-Semitism to the top of priorities.”
 
The WZO recently helped to organize more than 60 rallies around the world, to raise the issue of anti-Semitism to the top of national priorities. The main event took take place in Jerusalem. Similar events were held around the world: in Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Romania, Germany, England, France, USA, Hungary, Italy, Georgia, Turkey, Poland, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, Bolivia, Mexico, and more. In some countries, rallies were held in multiple locations.
 
Hagoel said, “We stand here today and in different locations around the world to say ‘This is the limit.’ We are in a difficult and painful period that has deteriorated rapidly from the scrawling of caricatures and anti-Semitic graffiti, to the destruction of graves, to the severe physical harm to Jews in a number of countries. We do not have the right or ability to click our tongues and continue on with our lives in parallel. We stand here, specifically in the middle of the day, to say that we will not be silent and won’t continue business as usual. Recent events are no longer merely a warning, but rather a wake-up call for the rest of the world, Jews and non-Jews. I call upon all the leaders of the countries to put the struggle against anti-Semitism at the top of the list of priorities, and to eliminate anti-Semitism from their countries.”
 
That’s wonderful, Jews should work with friendly non-Jewish allies and the authorities in various countries, BUT, Jews shouldn’t put all their trust in them, to protect them. If we learned nothing from the 1930s and 1940s, at least Jews should have learned the importance of active self-defense, as permitted to the full extent of the law wherever they reside.
 
Even if national leaders talk out against anti-Semitism, as Trump just did, policing in America is usually local. When an incident occurs, will it be investigated thoroughly? Will campus cops protect the Jewish students properly? Some law enforcement officers themselves, might be anti-Semites.
Campus Hillels, Chabad centers, Jewish fraternities and all the other Jewish groups, aren’t prepared to defend Jewish students on the campuses of today. A new type of organization needs to be created.
 
A “Jewish Honor Guard,” that guards and protects the honor of Jews and Israel.
 
Jewish Pride Education:
Would include teaching the love of and defense of fellow Jews. Knowledge about Jewish tradition, culture, and the central importance of the land of Israel, must also be taught. Instruction in Jewish and Israeli history, to prepare Jewish students with the information and mindset, to do verbal battle with the haters, and when necessary, properly defend themselves against actual physical violence. That needs to become commonplace on campus.
 
Jewish Active Self-Defense:
Means, offering self-defense classes, gun training, encouraging the purchase of pepper spray, tasers, etc. and training in their proper use. The training and use of guard dogs, to protect Jewish organizations on campus. Its time to give Chizuk (strength) to Jewish college students and help them navigate the combative campuses of today.

Its well known that a shooting or stabbing attack is shortened, and casualties minimized, with the introduction of a second weapon. Israel has seen that often, armed Jewish civilians have also stopped Arab shooters, stabbers, and attempted car rammings.

Jewish Knowledge means Jewish Pride, Jewish Self-Defense means Jewish Security!
 
Headlines like this scream out, “Hillel International tells Jewish college students to ‘lay low’ during anti-Israel week”. But this mustn’t be allowed to continue.
 
A student activist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, Phillip Yurchenko responded, “I am most disgusted with the suggestion to stay low-key.” He continued, “Many Jewish students are worried about anti-Semitism coming to campus, and our support system is advising us not bring more attention to this event.”
 
In an exchange between Yurchenko and Hillel International campus support director Rebecca Simons, Simons asked,What she could do to be supportive of Jewish students. I said it would be great to see a statement from Hillel International condemning the anti-Semitism on [the] Wake Forest campus. She told me that is complicated because she does not speak for all of Hillel International and because of free speech.”
 
Can you imagine that, free speech? Someone from Hillel is worried about protecting Jew haters' free speech?
 
Then, I almost fell off my chair, when I read a recent interview with Michael Siegal, the Jewish Agency’s Chairman of the Board, who emphasized that the Jewish Agency does not believe in encouraging people to make aliyah (immigration to Israel). “I don't think it’s for us to tell anybody where they [should] live, that they ought to make aliyah,” he said. And regarding anti-Semitism, Siegal said, “its not really our agenda,” but that its “really high on everybody’s agenda.”
 
Decrepit organizations on life-support, like the JA and Hillel, can’t be counted on to help the Jews in this new environment of anti-Israelism and Jew hatred, not in self-defense, not in encouraging aliyah, and not on college campuses.
 
New types of organizations must arise, groups that re-instill Jewish Pride and specifically teach self-defense, and help provide, and organize that defense for Jewish students on campus, a basically hostile environment now.
 
A “Jewish Honor Guard” must be created, to equip Jewish students with the tools to thrive on college campuses today.
 
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2019/5779 Pasko

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Pekudei, Counting, and Israeli Election Polls

This week’s Torah Reading, Pekudei, describes a very Jewish character trait, meticulous accounting, whether in business, government, or the social sector. After Moses’ earlier call for donations (Exodus 35), the parsha opens with an accounting of the Jewish people’s precious metal gifts, to build the desert Tabernacle.
 
These amounts of materials were used for the Tabernacle of Testimony, which were recorded at Moses’ command. The total amount of gold used for all the work on the Tabernacle, was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the sacred shekel. A talent was 3,000 shekels, and a shekel was about 9.5-11 grams, according to various archaeological finds.
 
The silver obtained from the community, who were counted in the census was 100 talents, and 1,775 shekels, according to the sacred shekel. One beka per person, that is, half a shekel, according to the sacred shekel, from everyone who passed the census takers, twenty years old or more, a total of 603,550 men.
 
One hundred talents of silver were used to cast the sockets for the Tabernacle, and for the partition, 100 bases from the 100 talents, one talent for each base. They used the 1,775 shekels to make the hooks for the pillars, to overlay the tops of the pillars, and to make their bands. The copper from the wave offering was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels (Exodus 36:21-29).
 
So, I thought that since the Torah reading deals with counting, it might be interesting to look at some numbers, relating to election polls for the upcoming Israeli elections.
 
A new poll published by Walla! conducted by “Panels Politics,” has the Sephardic-Haredi Shas party just passing the electoral threshold with 4 seats. Both Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party and former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party, failed to pass the electoral threshold of 3.25%, a minimum of 4 seats.
 
And, another recent poll carried out by “Panels Politics” for Channel 13’s “Hadashot Haboker” also gives Shas 4 seats. Yisrael Beitenu and Zehut don’t cross the threshold again. In Fact, Zehut has only crossed the threshold once, achieving 5 seats in a poll on February 14, since holding their primary on January 29. Yisrael Beitenu has only crossed the threshold twice in the last eight polls, for the last two weeks.
 
At the end of December, when Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Shuli Muelum announced that they were leaving Jewish Home to form their new party, the New Right, they immediately reached a high of 14 seats in one poll, and have precipitously dropped since then, to average 6.688 seats, in 16 polls.
 
Jewish Home, before Bennett, Shaked and Muelum left, had 8 seats in the outgoing Knesset, and then dropped to 5, after their departure.
 
Since the Jewish Home-National Union-Otzma Yehudit joint list was announced on February 20 (now called the Union of Right-Wing Parties – URWP), it’s reached a high of 9 seats, and has averaged 6.375 seats, in the same 16 polls.
 
More recently, the United Right Wing Party has beaten the New Right in 6 out of the last 10 polls. And, combined, URWP and NR have been hovering around 13-14 seats.
 
Since December 26, 2018, when the government was dissolved, Shas has peaked at 7 seats twice in 62 polls and hasn’t crossed the threshold twice, it’s been averaging 4.871 seats.
 
When looking at potential coalition configurations, polls sometimes put the center-left-Arab parties ahead of the center-right-religious parties, but, you need to remember what Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Yael German have recently said about not sitting with the Arab parties.
 
Benny Gantz said, “he will call for a unity government with all parties, including with Likud, which will join us, and anyone else who is Zionist and sane.” That would apparently exclude Odeh, Tibi, and the Arab Parties.
 
So too, Yair Lapid, who has said that his party would not form a government coalition with the Arab parties, insisting on a coalition of Zionist parties; as has Yael German promised, another Yesh Atid leader.
 
After an election, the President of Israel, following consultations with the elected party leaders, chooses the Knesset member most likely to have the ability to form a viable (coalition) government. While this typically is the leader of the party receiving the most seats, it is not required to be so. In the event a party wins 61 or more seats in an election, it can form a viable government without having to form a coalition. However, no party has ever won more than 56 seats in an election; thus, a coalition has always been required. That party leader, then has up to 45 days to negotiate with the different parties, and then present his or her government to the Knesset for a vote of confidence. If the Knesset approves the proposed government (by a vote of at least 61 members), he or she becomes Prime Minister.
 
It will be impossible for the center-left to form a government, even if the Lapid-Gantz, Blue and White party gets the most seats, assuming they keep their word about not sitting with the Arab parties. Netanyahu and Likud only need to hang tough, and refuse to join them.
 
In 10 opinion polls since February 1, questioning voters which party leader they would prefer as Prime Minister, PM Netanyahu or Benny Gantz, Netanyahu has peaked at 48% twice, versus Gantz’s high of 41%. Netanyahu has averaged 45.2% against Gantz’s 36.7%. The polls show Netanyahu hasn’t yet been substantially hurt by the Attorney General’s announcement of intent to indict him on corruption charges.
 
Although Israel doesn’t have direct election of the prime minister, I believe that one most take into consideration voter’s preferences as to who should be the next prime minister, besides looking at party list polls, because many might change their vote in the last moments, and so far it looks to be in Netanyahu’s favor.
 
Even Gideon Levy, an extreme leftist journalist for Haaretz, appearing on the Erel Segal and Chaim Levinson talk show, on 103FM radio, at the end of December has said, “I’m not joking when I say if I have to choose between Gantz, Lapid, or Netanyahu today, I choose Netanyahu without hesitation,” Levy said. He continued, “I never thought to cross the lines and never thought to leave, but the reality changed. I believed in the reality of two states for two peoples. You [the right] have removed this possibility from the chapter and this train has already left the station.”
 
Meaning, because of Palestinian intransigence and the numbers of Jews in Judea and Samaria, Levy’s given up hope for the two-state solution. Is he becoming a born-again rightist, voting for Netanyahu?
 
I firmly believe that Feiglin and Liberman should encourage their parties to drop out of the race, and call on their voting public to back either Likud, NR, or URWP, so that no seats are lost to the center-left.
 
While dreaming, if Shas would only merge after this election with United Torah Judaism (the Ashkenazi Haredi party), to form a united Haredi party; with the demise of Liberman’s primarily Russian-backed party; we could put an end to pernicious ethnic politics, which is so destructive to Israeli society, forever.
 
There really shouldn’t be Jewish ethnic-based political parties in Israel. Politics should be a competition of ideas and policies, not a competition based on national origins from the Galut (exile).
 
That, would strengthen social cohesion, and Achdut Yisrael (national unity in Israel), which is a sacred Torah value.
 
A lesson we can learn from this week's Torah reading itself, where everyone donated to the Tabernacle, and had a hand in building the national sanctuary.
 
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2019/5779 Pasko

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Jewish Self-Hatred Rears Its Ugly Head

Jewish American leftists pandering to Islamo-fascists and BDS anti-Israel thugs; Israeli left-wing politicians coddling radical Arab nationalists sitting in the Israeli Knesset, who deny Jews the right to political self-determination, i.e. the State of Israel; these are just a couple examples of the ugly, hypocritical, and dangerous dark-side of Jewish self-hatred and faithlessness.
 
The Jewish self-hating left, both in America and Israel, have made an uproar recently, condemning Netanyahu and Likud, for encouraging the unification of several right-wing religious parties (so as to not loose votes to the center-left), and including within it, Otzma Yehudit, an ultra-nationalist (that means strongly pro-Jewish and pro-Israel) religious party.
 
Its gotten so outrageous, that even Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) saw the hypocrisy, and recently felt the need to push back. “If we want to see a Knesset without any radical representatives, we need to start with Balad [an Arab nationalist party], whose [former] MK [Basel Ghattas] is sitting in prison for aiding terrorists, and then there’s Hanin Zoabi [of Mavimara fame – the so-called “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” in 2010], whom we don’t even need to discuss...We need to decide whether the Knesset is open to everyone who has a voter base which sends him to the Knesset, or if we need to put boundaries. If and when we decide to put up boundaries, I’ll be ready to continue the discussion about the radical [Jewish] right, but right now, the situation is that Balad, which doesn’t recognize the State of Israel, is part of the Knesset.”
 
In this light, let’s look at the lessons of this week’s Torah reading, Vayakhel.
 
We find Moses telling the Jewish people that G-d has chosen Betzalel ben (son of) Uri ben Chur, to lead the craftsmen in building the desert Tabernacle. G-d has filled him with spirit, wisdom, insight, and knowledge (Exodus 35:30-31).
 
Why does the Torah give his grandfather’s name? Who was Chur? Let’s take a look at him. The first time we find Chur, he’s helping Aaron hold up Moses’ arms, during the battle against Amalek (the embodiment of atheism) in Exodus 17:8-13. The battle against Amalek, symbolizes the battle of the Jewish people’s faith in their destiny, against surrender and assimilation.
 
The Rabbis tell us, it was Chur, a man of spirit, who stood up to protest worshiping the Golden Calf, and was killed by the faithless mob who had despaired of Moses’ return (Leviticus Rabbah 10:3).
 
And, who was Chur’s father? Calev (1 Chronicles 2:19). The same Calev who later with Joshua, spied out the land of Canaan, and insisted, in spite of the other ten spies’ defeatist attitude, that it could be captured. The same Calev who we are told in the Talmud (Sotah 34b) went to pray for help at the Tomb of the Patriarchs – the Cave of Machpela – in Hebron. Full of faith in G-d’s promises to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they warned the Jews in the desert, don’t rebel against G-d and don’t fear the enemy, the land will be given to the Jewish people. The same Calev who G-d says has a different spirit, he followed Me wholeheartedly, he, I shall bring into the land, and his offspring shall inherit it. (Numbers 13:22, 30, 14:6-9, 24).
 
Chur and Calev were the ultra-nationalist, religious Jews of their time. And their descendent, Betzalel, was rewarded with helping to build the Tabernacle.
 
We also find in the Torah reading, the tribal leaders donating the last items to the tabernacle and for the priestly garments (Exodus 35:27). But Rabbi Natan asks, “Why did the princes contribute at the beginning of the dedication of the Alter, but not at the construction of the Tabernacle?” He answers, they said, “Let the rest of the people bring what they will, and then we’ll bring what’s missing.” He criticizes them for being lazy, they should have rushed to bring their donations (Numbers Rabbah 12:16).
 
Rabbeinu Bechaya on the verse adds, its the way of princes to look down on the rest of the nation. Not long ago, these tribal princes were lowly slaves, but after their appointment to leadership, they started looking down on their brothers.
 
The Talmud (Pesachim 113b), says that four people are intolerable, one is the public official, who looks down on the rest of the community for no reason.
 
That’s the nature of radical left-wing Jewish activists and politicians, self-appointed “leaders,” claiming moral superiority, they look down upon “Amcha” the average people, and their faith in G-d and the Torah. Screaming in the name of “defense of democracy,” they are willing to attack, slander and dis-enfranchise other Jews who don’t think like them.
 
The Yesh Atid Party, Labor, Meretz, and the Joint Arab List have signed a motion to disqualify candidates Itamar Ben-Gvir and former MK Michael Ben-Ari of Otzma Yehudit, from running in the upcoming elections. To hold a Central Elections Committee discussion, twelve signatures are required. Central Elections Committee members represent the outgoing Knesset factions. If the Central Elections Committee does disqualify them, it goes to the Israeli Supreme Court. 
 
In response, Otzma Yehudit said, “The cat is out of the bag and it turns out that Gantz and Lapid want to form a government with the votes of terror representatives in the Knesset and winks at them as he joins the request to disqualify Otzma. It won't help them! The unification of the right-wing parties will be the surprise of the elections, and in the coming Knesset, Dr. Ben-Ari and Attorney Ben-Gvir will also serve and protect the government from the right.”
 
This Jewish leftist self-hatred and faithlessness, has now fallen to a new low, highlighting the great divide between the universalist/suicidal left and the more particularist/self-preservationist right, within the Jewish people, globally.
 
Their attacks against Netanyahu, the Likud, and the Jewish Home-National Union-Otzma Yehudit list, have unmasked the Jewish left’s assimilationist/suicidal proclivites, both in America and Israel.
 
It reminds me of the “good Jewish communists,” the Yevsektsiya of the 1920s, in the former Soviet Union, who “helped” their brethren. Ripping them from Torah and Mitzvot, turning them into Stalin’s henchmen, for “re-education” or death, and causing three generations of Jews to be turned into atheistic, anti-Zionist, model Soviet citizens, until the 1967 Six-Day-War reawakened their Jewish national consciousness.
 
Many members of the Yevsektsiya, ironically perished in Stalin’s “Great Purge” of 1936-38.
 
So too, in America and Israel today. Jewish and Israeli leftists, are running down the Yevsektsiya’s path of self-destruction. While hating their Jewish brethren, who are true to the Torah and Land of Israel, they traffic with Jew haters and anti-Zionists, what has been called the “new anti-Semitism.”
 
What do they think the Islamo-fascists, BDS anti-Israel thugs and the “Palestinians,” will do to them, the Jewish left of today, if they are victorious?
 
Recently, leading Religious Zionist Rabbi Chaim Druckman, felt it necessary to respond to those on the Religious Zionist Left, who claimed the merger with Otzma Yehudit was an immoral move, “The most moral thing is to save Jews and keep them alive and to ensure no Jew is evicted [from settlements]. We passed Gush Katif and the folly of uprooting Jews from their homes. We got rockets in Ashkelon. We don’t have to worry about saving Jews and preventing their uprooting? Therefore it is immensely virtuous even if it’s not so pleasant to you and even if others will disparage you. You do something that you believe is in favor of the people of Israel."
 
Regarding liberal Rabbi Benny Lau calling Otzma Yehudit, Nazis, Rabbi Druckman said, “Even with all the expressions that sound so harshly like Nazism [refering to Otzma’s call to expel Arabs that are treasonous to the State of Israel – which actually is an Israeli law – stripping citizenship and deportation]...After all it’s been discussed, that it’s forbidden to use anything belonging to the Holocaust. We demand of the youth that they not call a policeman and a soldier ‘Nazi’[during a settlement expulsion].”
 
How can one say that voting for Jewish Home-National Union-Otzma Yehudit, is to vote for Nazism? It is a remark lacking all responsibility. There aren’t enough words in my mouth to condemn this expression...I refer to the things that were published in his name, and them I denounce, there can be no such thing. Jews are not Nazis. Jews are Jews even if their worldview is different from mine. I must go against the words that were said, but to say this about them, it’s not right and it’s not moral.”
 
The global Jewish leftist accusation of fascism, racism and Nazism, toward Otzma Yehudit’s participation in the upcoming elections, calling other Jews Nazis, debases the memory of those Jews who suffered from real Nazis, in the past, and suffer from real anti-Semitism today, and should be beyond the pale.

And this, while they themselves hypocritically cozy up to anti-Semites, real fascists, Nazis, and racists. Yes Arab terrorism against Jews, just because they are Jews, is racism too.
 
Jewish Leftist self-hatred has reared its ugly head, and it’s dangerous to us all!
 
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2019/5779 Pasko

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Goldstein Incident in Hebron, Twenty Five Years Later

Now that we understand that we live in the era of “Fake News,” - what once was called “Yellow Journalism” - where left-wing media hysteria, pre-judgement, and playing loose with the facts to further an agenda, reins supreme; I think it behooves thinking people to take a second look at an incident that occurred before the internet era, and brought immediate universal condemnation in the media, before it was even investigated.
What really happened twenty five years ago, in Hebron, at the Ma'arat HaMachpela – the Cave of the Patriarchs – or, as the Arabs call it, the Ibrahimi Mosque?
 
The short answer everyone “knows,” is that Dr. Baruch Goldstein carried out a massacre on the Jewish holiday of Purim, February 25, 1994. Its been portrayed for over two decades as a premeditated, causeless attack. But a study by Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons, published in 2004 entitled, "Did or Did Not Dr. Baruch Goldstein Massacre 29 Arabs?" questions that “common knowledge,” and raises some serious issues, that after twenty five years, still need to be addressed.
 
Lest one think that Rabbi Dr. Simons is some right-wing crackpot, his thoroughly researched work, of about 150 pages, includes 714 footnotes and a bibliography of over 150 books, journal and newspaper articles, interviews, archival records, and quotations of legal sources from Israel, England, America, Canada, Australia and Jewish Law.
 
According to the biographical information on his website, Rabbi Dr. Simons holds a Bachelor of Science degree with First Class Honors in Chemistry and Physics, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemistry, from the University of London. He also holds a Bachelors degree in Educational Technology. He possesses a Rabbinical Diploma and is a qualified teacher with decades of experience in education, which includes the setting and marking of matriculation exams in Israel. Rabbi Dr. Simons has written a number of books and booklets on a variety of subjects, including "International Proposals to Transfer Arabs from Palestine 1895-1947: A Historical Survey," published by KTAV in 1988. Its probably the most thorough academic review of the issue, and is also available on his site.
 
So, he's a serious scholar.

Rabbi Dr. Simons, states in the book’s dedication, “In the interests of truth and justice, a Commission of Inquiry should be established – the composition of which to be acceptable both to the Israeli authorities and to the Goldstein family – whose sole function would be to determine whether the killings by Dr. Baruch Goldstein should be classed as a massacre of Arabs or a pre-emptive strike to prevent a massacre of Jews.”

Rabbi Dr. Simons reviews the events leading up to Goldstein’s attack. He raises the issue of Goldstein’s prior knowledge of intelligence warnings that Arabs planned a massacre of Jews, to take place that Purim morning in the Cave of Machpela. Dr. Goldstein was an emergency doctor for the Kiryat Arba Terrorist Attack Response Team, and had been forewarned by security sources. He discusses whether Goldstein “planned” an attack on Arabs, or “responded” to what he saw as the Israeli army’s indifference to an impending attack on Jews. He questions, “What if a Government Fails to Act?” and then analyzes the legal status of “Killings Sanctioned By Law”, discussing “killing as an act of self-defense,” “killing due to necessity,” and “killing during a war.”

Rabbi Dr. Simons concludes that the “killings by Dr. Baruch Goldstein could possibly come under one of these headings or a combination of two or even all three.” But he then stresses “that I do not offer any conclusions on this question.”

Some of the more interesting points Rabbi Dr. Simons makes in his book include his description of the near “lynch” atmosphere in the media and among Israeli government officials just after the incident, describing it with the value-laden term “massacre” even before a full inquiry of the events could take place. Rabbi Dr. Simons prefers to use the more neutral term “killing” throughout his work.

Rabbi Dr. Simons works on the assumption that Baruch Goldstein went out to kill that morning, as did the Shamgar Commission, which shows the slanted nature of the commission’s investigation.
Several other theories of what took place that morning exist, however. Such as that Goldstein was in fact attacked first and responded in self-defense. Remember, the only eyewitnesses, are the Arabs that were involved in the event. Or, that the Israeli army passively let him carry out the killings to avoid the tragedy of an attack on the Jews of Hebron. Or, as the Arabs claim, the Israeli security service or army was involved in the attack itself. Which would have served PM Rabin’s purposes, since he was eager to find justification to remove the Jews from Hebron at the time. None of these alternatives were investigated by the Shamgar commission.

Rabbi Dr. Simons takes issue with the workings of the Shamgar Commission itself – the commission of inquiry set up to investigate the event. He points out their refusal to take testimony in multiple instances. He then shows the biased composition of the commission, including a known left-wing activist and “Peace Now” supporter, Professor Menachem Ya'ari, and an Arab Judge, Abed El-Rahman Zouabi.

Rabbi Dr. Simons states, “If we study the minutes of the proceedings of the Shamgar Commission, we can see that three of its five members – Judge Abed El-Rahman Zouabi, Lieutenant General (res.) Moshe Levy, and Professor Menachem Ya'ari – were describing Baruch Goldstein as a “murderer,” [rather than alleged killer] even before they had heard all the evidence...It was not just a stray remark by one of the members of the Shamgar Commission. Baruch Goldstein was called a “murderer” no fewer than 17 times by Judge Zouabi, 6 times by Moshe Levi and twice by Menachem Ya'ari [at the beginning stages of the hearings]...It is a cardinal principle of law that a person is innocent until proven guilty. If a majority of the Commission had already decided that Baruch Goldstein was a murderer before hearing all of the evidence, then the objectivity of the section of the Report dealing with Baruch Goldstein is surely put in doubt!”

The Shamgar Commission’s Report was only published in Hebrew, but to help facilitate the international media’s reporting on it, the Israeli Foreign Ministry translated selected excerpts. Was there bias on their part, about what was translated? An agenda? In another five years, i.e. in 2024, after thirty years, the records will be opened for public perusal, unless the authorities declare “for security reasons” they must remain closed, which would give another twenty years to hide the truth.

Rabbi Dr. Simons also refers to Haggai Segal’s article, entitled “A Failure to Inform,” which appeared in the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post on July 11, 1994. Segal wrote about the Commission’s findings, pointing out facts that the media conveniently ignored. Segal wrote, “The public doesn’t know that the Commission charged a key witness from the Wakf [Islamic Trust] with giving false testimony, expressed an understanding of the motivations of the Jews in Hebron, indirectly rebuked Yitzhak Rabin, and even mentioned the purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs by Abraham from a local merchant...[The Commission considered that] ‘the release of the terrorists [over 1000 in May 1985] raised tension between the Jewish residents and the Arab population of the area.’ Oddly, we didn’t hear this quote on the radio. And, wonder of wonders: It didn’t appear in the press. For some reason, but apparently not by chance, the media have failed to mention the astounding statistics for Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] collected by the Commission [regarding the countless attacks by Arabs against Jews]...An additional section, as yet uncited, verifies the claim of the residents of Kiryat Arba that Goldstein acted, fearing a massacre from the other side...Not even one reporter quoted the Commission’s sensational recommendation that the Intifada be crushed.”

Rabbi Dr. Simons brings another interesting fact to light. Besides the voluminous testimony before the Shamgar Commission of over nine officers from the defense establishment regarding their intelligence reports two-and-a-half weeks prior to Purim, about a planned Arab attack on the Jews of Hebron, numerous other sources he quotes corroborate that testimony. Even the mainstream Israeli media reported on the impending danger.

A leaflet was being circulated in Hebron by Hamas saying that on the 25th or 26th of February – the 25th being Purim – a terrorist attack would take place in Hebron. This leaflet was referred to in an article in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth the morning of February 25th – note, this was printed before Goldstein’s act – which said that the Arab residents of Hebron were notified by means of leaflets, loudspeakers and inscriptions on walls to stock up with food in anticipation of a long curfew to follow a gigantic attack against the Jews by Hamas. The existence of this leaflet was also reported in the Shamgar Commission Report.

Rabbi Dr. Simons informs us that in the week prior to that Purim morning, there were several incidents of Arab mobs at the Cave of Machpela shouting “Itbach Al-Yahood! - “Slaughter the Jews!” This included the Jews there being threatened, spat upon and struck.

Rabbi Dr. Simons describes an incident that happened five days before Purim, when a group of 120 Americans went to visit the Cave of Machpela. Although the soldiers had insisted that Arabs not go into the courtyard of the Cave whilst the Jews were there, a group of Arabs – between 50 and 100 – succeeded in bursting into the courtyard screaming “Itbach Al-Yahood! At that time, the Jews were peacefully praying the evening service.
 
One of the Americans present also referred to three other occasions during the days before Purim – twice on the Sabbath and once on the following Wednesday – when he visited the Cave of Machpela and was subjected to Arab rioting, insults and, on two of these occasions, the yelling of “Itbach Al-Yahood! He added that on each visit, he was personally threatened and struck by Arabs. He wrote a letter to the Jerusalem Post about his experiences – which was published – and a Bar-Ilan University professor submitted the “Letter to the Editor” in a brief to the Commission. The Shamgar Commission did not invite the American who was attacked to give evidence.

Other elements of the picture that Rabbi Dr. Simons informs us about include that the metal detector at the East Gate, where most of the Arabs entered that Friday Purim morning, was damaged the night before. An unusually large number of Arabs came to the Machpela that Friday – some 500 men and 300 women. Only a handful of the men were searched, and not one of the women. After the Goldstein incident, three automatic weapons were found in the Machpela – other than Goldstein’s weapon – including one wrapped in an Arab keffiya (headdress). All these elements point to a planned attack on the Jews at the Cave of Machpela that Purim morning.

Rabbi Dr. Simons also raises the issue of how Baruch Goldstein died and asks why haven’t the Arabs involved in his murder been prosecuted. He points out that the pathologist’s report says that numerous blows to the head, from all directions – from long blunt instruments – caused Goldstein’s death. It also speaks of a smashed-in skull, damage to the brain, broken ribs and a broken left arm. In her evidence to the Shamgar Commission, Goldstein’s widow, Miriam, said that her husband’s face was so mutilated that even Baruch’s brother had difficulty in identifying him.

Rabbi Dr. Simons then asks, “Why was the body in such a state? Did the Arabs have to do all this as an act of self-defense?” He states that “the answer can be found in statements made by Arabs who were in the Isaac Hall at the time.”

According to Rabbi Dr. Simons, a Muslim worshiper, Awad Abu-S’nina, present in the Machpela, testified to B’Tzelem – an organization that describes itself as “The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories” - that while Goldstein was changing the magazine in his rifle, Awad grabbed the weapon and that his father, Ayub Abu-S’nina, immediately took the weapon from him and threw it aside. B’Tzelem’s report was handed over to the Shamgar Commission.

Rabbi Dr. Simons continues, when questioned by the police, another Muslim worshiper, Al-Mutlab Natshe, described how about ten Arabs then fell on Goldstein, knocked him onto the ground and beat him to death with metal poles. A 12-year-old boy, Ala S’eid Ali Ashur, stated that a large number of Arabs beat Goldstein with a fire extinguisher and the metal poles from the room dividers. Another Muslim worshiper, Ashraf Karaki told the police that he saw Baruch Goldstein lying dead on the floor with a lot of blood on his neck and head and he also saw a large metal pole on his body and a large number of similar poles around him.

Testimony also comes from Israeli army private Avihai Zahala, who saw over the closed-circuit television system operating in the Cave of Machpela that after the shooting ended, about three Arabs with metal poles made their way towards the area of the Hall where Goldstein was killed.

Rabbi Dr. Simons then concludes, “From all this we can see that Baruch Goldstein was beaten to death after his rifle had been taken from him. This fact is confirmed in two places in the Shamgar Report, and this Report specifically states that this was done by Muslim worshipers. Furthermore, the official death certificate issued by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior states the cause of death as murder.”

The police investigated the murder of Baruch Goldstein and, by December 1994, they reached the conclusion that he had been murdered in cold blood by Muslim worshipers after his weapon had been taken away.

One of the Arabs present that Purim in the Cave of Machpela was a collaborator with the Israeli authorities.
 
This collaborator knows the names of the Arabs who murdered Baruch Goldstein and also to which organization they belong. But, State Attorney Dorit Beinisch decided not to open criminal proceedings against the Arabs, who were accused of murdering Baruch Goldstein. In June 1995, the Legal Adviser to Rabin’s Government, Michael Ben-Yair, endorsed Beinisch’s decision. Beinisch was then appointed to the Supreme Court of Israel, in December 1995, and later became it’s 9th president. Beinisch was also appointed chair of the Central Elections Commission.
 
An Israel Democracy Institute Researcher, Dr. Dana Blander, has asserted that “Israel’s Central Elections Committee is no different than the various Knesset parliamentary committees and is subject to political bias. As a result, even though its chair is a Supreme Court Justice, its decisions are tainted by partisan interests, and its make-up is inappropriate for the administrative and quasi-judicial functions it performs.” The Central Elections Committee, is the first filter, to decide which parties get to run in elections. The Supreme Court has final say.
 
Were these political appointments payback? And for what? What’s being hidden from us?

Rabbi Dr. Simons points out [in 2004], “To date, no Arab has been charged with Baruch Goldstein’s murder,” and fifteen years later in 2019, still no one has been charged. Why not?
 
“This can be contrasted with the case of a Jewish settler, Yoram Skolnik,” Rabbi Dr. Simons points out, “who killed an Arab terrorist after he had been disarmed” [in 1993]. “Skolnik was immediately arrested, charged, brought to trial and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. Later, President Ezer Weizman reduced Skolnik’s sentence first to 15 years and then to 11 years. After serving 7 years, a parole board followed standard practice and took off one third of his remaining sentence for good behavior. This did not find favor with Meretz Knesset Member Zahava Gal’on who challenged the parole board’s decision in the High Court, who then ruled that this decision was unacceptable. Yoram Skolnik thus remained in jail.”
 
Then there’s the case of Elior Azaria, tried and convicted, for killing an already disabled Arab terrorist in 2016. After Azaria’s release, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, “I was the only one who said at the beginning of the road: Wait, there has not been an investigation, the entire process has been polluted in the form of ‘no going back’. We first of all have to be with the soldiers and not rush to decide their fate. He was wronged.”
 
Rabbi Dr. Simons then says, “To the best of my knowledge, Zahava Gal’on has never challenged the fact that the Arabs who murdered Baruch Goldstein have never been brought to trial!”

Why haven’t they? Why does the Israeli media go into a frenzy when a Jew kills an Arab, but are much more sedate, when Jews are being attacked and killed? In a democracy, the law should be applied equally, by the authorities. In a democracy, the media and politicians should be equally disturbed by unlawful killings.
 
As with most good research, Rabbi Dr. Simons raises many more questions than he answers. Although, I must tell you, he does quite a job of informing one of the facts, relating to before, during, and after the Goldstein incident.

With the rise of vicious, unrelenting Arab terror against Jews in Israel since the mid-1990s, the Oslo War (second Intifada), the Intifada of Knives, etc., events of the past take on new shades of meaning. I feel Rabbi Dr. Simons’ seminal book sheds much needed light on the Goldstein incident, and is well worth reading for those who seek the truth about what really happened, and to understand the surrounding environment and circumstances, it occurred within.

In conclusion, I want to point out that Rabbi Dr. Simons states, “I myself wish to stress that I strongly deplore and condemn any form of killing of innocent people whether Jewish or non-Jewish, not sanctioned by law, or indeed any form of injury or harassment of such people not sanctioned by law. However, I can pass no judgment on Dr. Baruch Goldstein since the incident has never been adjudicated. As was quite rightly, repeatedly pointed out, when a number of prominent people were being accused of various crimes, one can criticize or condemn their actions only after a court of law has found them guilty...”
 
That goes for the investigations into Trump and Netanyahu today, and Dr. Goldstein in the past.
 
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2019/5779 Pasko

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Israeli Elections: Unite the Torah Nationalists Now!

A few weeks ago, I congratulated Bezalel Smotrich on his victory over Uri Ariel for leadership of the National Union party, and spoke with him about the historic opportunity that had opened up, after Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked left the Jewish Home party, which National Union had run together with, in the last elections. I emphasized that Bennett and Shaked’s derech direction, wasn’t “our way.”
 
And now, that they’re out of the leadership positions, how important it is that the religious right, the Torah nationalists of all the small parties, unite into one bloc, for the sake of the People, Torah, and Land of Israel, to save otherwise potentially lost seats, in the upcoming elections. He agreed, and although I’m sure he was already thinking about it, its important he heard from the grassroots, what they want.
 
That means, the Jewish Home party, Smotrich’s National Union, former MK Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party, former Shas chairman and minister, Eli Yishai’s Haredi nationalist Yachad party, and Otzma Yehudit, led by former MK Michael Ben-Ari must run together, for the sake of the country.
 
Rabbi Zalman Melamed, head of the Beit El Yeshiva and one of the most prominent rabbis in the religious Zionist community, recently said the same thing, calling on four of the right-wing and national-religious parties, Jewish Home, National Union, Yahad, and Otzma Yehudit to run on a joint ticket.
 
According to a recent internal poll conducted by the Ma’agar Mochot Institute, should they all run together, a joint ticket would net a total of at least 12 seats, boosting them past the New Right of Bennett and Shaked, and making them Likud's largest potential coalition partner on the right.
 
Contrast that with another poll conducted by Ma’agar Mochot recently, on behalf of Israel Hayom and i24NEWS, which shows that if no new alliances are formed, it could cost the right-wing and religious bloc as many as 17 mandates, probably giving the election to the left.
 
Such a united front of Torah Nationalists, might even pull some of the more nationalistic Haredi vote away from Shas and United Torah Judaism. In a recent poll conducted by Dialcom, on behalf of the Kav Itonut chain of local newspapers, 20.1% said they planned to vote for one of the non-haredi parties.
 
At the end of last week, Jewish Home and National Union announced they would run on a joint list. Rabbi Rafi Peretz (JH) Bezalel Smotrich (NU) later appeared together on Channel 12’sMeet the Israeli Press.” When asked whether the JH-NU party would unite with Otzma Yehudit, Smotrich said, “We will examine every possible option of unity, with all of the Religious Zionist [parties] and in the entire right-wing camp.”
 
And Rabbi Peretz added, “I'll say it clearly: Religious Zionism is a national movement which believes in a Jewish and democratic State of Israel. Whoever is our natural partner – that's great. Bezalel and I will sit and think together about this issue in the coming days.”
 
They better think fast because the deadline to submit party lists is coming quickly on February 21.
 
The travesty of the Torah Nationalists, the Likud, and the Right more generally, since 1992, has been lack of vision, direction, and disunity, leading to the Oslo Accords, the Gaza Disengagement, and untold suffering.
 
After it was announced that Jewish Home and National Union would re-unite, even the Likud party was happy, “We welcome the agreement between the Jewish Home and the National Union and call on them to unite with additional forces to ensure the victory of the right-wing bloc in the elections.”
 
Also the Samaria Regional Council Head, Yossi Dagan, while praising Jewish Home and National Union for uniting, warned that the right still needs the list to include both Otzma Yehudit as well as Eli Yishai’s party. “The entire public is happy and praising the unity between the Jewish Home and National Union parties, but we have no time to debate or to hold long negotiations with the other right-wing parties regarding negotiations. Right now we need unity between all the right-wing parties. The one who prevents such unity will be responsible for the fate of all of the settlements.”
 
Dagan continued, “Ideological purity or concerns about placement on the party’s list, may give control to the left. Considerations regarding chairs do not take priority over saving Israel’s settlements. I want to say clearly: A leftist government and a second Oslo may be just around the corner. Ending up with a leftist government because too many right-wing parties did not pass the electoral threshold is not as far-off a possibility as it seems.”
 
The next step in solving the election puzzle, to prevent the Left from returning to power, after all the Torah nationalist parties unite into a bloc, ideally would be Likud, Bennett’s New Right, and Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu, uniting also into a bloc.
 
So that, just as the more observant part of the Religious Zionist community need vote for one united bloc and no votes will be wasted; so too, the secular nationalist, traditional and less observant elements of the religious Zionist community, will be able to vote for one bloc and not waste any votes.
 
It’s time for all the big egos to get out of the way and let leadership and statesmanship enter.
 
It’s time to unite the Torah Nationalists into one bloc for the upcoming elections!
 
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2019/5779 Pasko