The Right’s Prayer: Apocalypse Now!

The best way right-wingers can brand themselves is to help foment the next intifada.

Carlo Strenger
Carlo Strenger
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Likud MK Moshe Feiglin at the Western Wall after a visit to the Temple Mount, November 2, 2014.
Likud MK Moshe Feiglin at the Western Wall after a visit to the Temple Mount, November 2, 2014.Credit: Reuters
Carlo Strenger
Carlo Strenger

Benjamin Netanyahu was warned time and again: The powder keg of the West Bank and the climate among Israelis Arabs would most likely explode if the status quo on the Temple Mount was destabilized. Hence, early last week, he issued a directive to his ministers to show restraint and responsibility by refraining from heating up the situation.

This was enough to ensure to make some of the more ambitious young right-wingers realize their moment of opportunity. After all, not every day brings the opportunity of having an intifada with your name on it, and there seems no better branding proposition for today’s right-wingers than showing that they were responsible for the next Palestinian uprising.

This is not an interpretation; it’s a direct quotation of Deputy Transportation and National Infrastructure Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who visited the Temple Mount last week. To her great sorrow, the local media hardly covered her heroic act, but to her great luck, her visit was all over the Arab media as a further indication that the status quo on the Temple Mount was about to be changed.

Hotovely’s great moment came when she was on a Channel 2 news show, where commentator Ehud Yaari told her that she was fanning the flames in the region. She responded with great pride: “Me and Arik Sharon Each of us will have an intifada registered in our name!”

So here we have it. Today’s young right-wingers are praying to have an intifada named after them. Unfortunately, Moshe Feiglin is always a step ahead, but Miri Regev, Uri Ariel and other right-wing luminaries are making sure to be as inflammatory as possible, to show how much they are standing up for the Jewish people’s right to pray on the Temple Mount – and to improve their own political visibility.

Historians continue to debate to what extent Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000 was instrumental in igniting the second intifada, but symbolically Sharon’s gesture was of immense importance. And there can be no doubt: The second intifada was very good for Israel’s right. It thoroughly discredited the Oslo process, and turned Israel’s peace camp, those detached, pathetic elitists with no understanding of the Middle East, into the laughingstock of most of their countrymen. .

Lately Israel’s political right has felt a bit threatened: In the last half year, the Arab League peace initiative, which has been in existence for more than a decade, finally began reaching the consciousness of a small number of Israelis. Former head of Saudi General Intelligence Prince Turki Al Faisal published a statement in Haaretz this past summer reaffirming the Muslim world’s willingness for recognition of and full diplomatic relations with Israel if Israel retreats from the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This is not good for Feiglin, Danny Danon, Hotovely & Co: Israelis, God forbid, might think that peace is possible. But fortunately, they always have the option of heating up the temperature, for example, by marching to the Temple Mount.

I am not imputing to them that they are as mad as the Jewish terror group, uncovered in the 1980s, that wanted to blow up the Dome of the Rock, thus speeding up the war of Gog and Magog and the coming of the Messiah. But Ms. Hotovely would be proud to have an intifada in her name. The extreme right’s strategy could be code-named “Apocalypse Now!” Palestinians east and west of the Green Line could do them no better favor than committing a few more terror acts. Because a third intifada would bury whatever minimal chance there is to prevent Israel from becoming a Sparta living by the sword for another century.

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