Israel Banning Kahanist Played Straight Into the Right's Hands

The attack at Ariel junction and the Supreme court ruling disqualifying Kahanist Ben Ari but allowing Balad and Cassif is good luck for Bennett and Shaked

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Naftali Bennett attend a press conference on the day of the launch of their new political party in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 29, 2018.
Ofer Vaknin

What luck the co-leaders of the Hayamin Hehadash party, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, have. These folks sure know how to maximize profits. Less than two hours after Sunday’s terrorist attack at the Ariel junction in the West Bank, they were already able to say who was to blame. Who? The High Court of Justice.

Okay, so try to look surprised. It’s actually the Israeli justice system that put the knife in the terrorist’s hand, wished him luck and sent him to the intersection. And now boys and girls, who knows what you’re supposed to do to someone who helps terrorists?

That’s right. If Mom and Dad vote for Hayamin Hehadash, when you grow up, you’ll have to go to into the army but it will be an entirely different army. If up to now, the Israeli army hasn’t had to provide answers, Bennett and Shaked will also eliminate all the questions.

“The legal restrictions imposed on the army are preventing effective deterrence,” Shaked has said. And Bennett has added: “When Israeli soldiers see a terrorist, they think five times over before opening fire for fear of being put on trial.”

>> Israeli justice minister's three lies | Opinion

Did you get it? A soldier sees a terrorist, but because he’s preoccupied by the high court, he can’t manage to cock his weapon and fire. They swear by the Torah, that’s what has happened. Look at the effect involved. A group of old Ashkenazi jurists in Jerusalem flutter their wings and a soldier and a civilian get killed at the Ariel junction.

What luck Bennett and Shaked have. Just that same evening, they received the best news they could have hoped for. The high court had disqualified Michael Ben-Ari of the right-wing Otzma Yehudit party from running for the Knesset, while allowing leftist Ofer Cassif of Hadash and the Arab Ra’am-Balad party slate to run.

“High Court justices have crossed a red line this evening,” Bennett gleefully tweeted. “The justices have left us no choice but to act, and forcefully.” A red line, no choice – hey, what’s happening? Is someone planning to wade in the Litani River in Lebanon this summer or something? What’s with the rhetoric?

Ah, Naftali Bennett, the outgoing education minister, and Ayelet Shaked, the outgoing justice minister, had done their homework and just by chance, they were well prepared. “Shaked’s plan to complete the judicial revolution,” is what they call it. Or in short, the justices should say thank you and shut up.

>> Hayamin Hehadash calls to annex part of West Bank, grant citizenship to Palestinian residents

They should say thank you that they are still allowed to wear their nice black judges’ robes, to sit on the nicely upholstered chairs and draw a salary. They should say thank you that they’re not in Syria. But they should shut up already.

We don’t care about international law, about constitutional law, about justice. They should do what they’re told. We’re the chosen people, haven’t you heard? Not the appointed people, not the people who went through a public bidding process or a nominating committee. Chosen! So who are you to make decisions about us?

“Ayelet will direct the Supreme Court, Bennett will defeat Hamas,” That’s really what their party’s campaign slogan says. It contains alliteration in Hebrew, but the meaning is clear. No more nuance or subtext. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first draft of the slogan said something like Ayelet will defeat the Supreme Court.

How lucky Bennett and Shaked are. The attack at the Ariel junction was just a stroke of luck that played into their hands, but by evening, they were probably nervously biting their nails while watching TV. Would the court disqualify Ben Ari or not? Would it disqualify Balad and Cassif? Their sigh of relief when they learned how the court ruled reverberated from Shaked’s home in Tel Aviv to Ra’anana, where Bennett lives.

What would they have done had the court not done what was expected, heaven forbid, and allowed Ben-Ari to run or barred Balad or Cassif? What grounds might they have found for issuing their plan to “complete the revolution”?