Israeli Right-wingers, You're in Control, So Stop Whining

The right-wing assumption that the left controls Israel's major political institutions could not be further from the truth.


A foreigner who heard Israel's (very shallow ) political debate would surely conclude that the left has been ruling the country unchallenged for many years. All aspects of government are in its hands, and it runs them as it sees fit. The legal system is left-wing, the army is left-wing, the police are left-wing, the prosecutors are left-wing, the education system is left-wing and the media is horrifyingly left-wing.

The right is all but obliterated, its activists arrested and their rights trampled on. The settlement enterprise, discriminated against and dejected, groans under the brunt of the leftist regime, the Arab citizens are blissfully overprivileged and rabbis are wantonly persecuted. A foreigner hearing all this moaning and groaning would conclude that the right-wingers are ruthlessly oppressed.

This was always the rightist way - the way of the robbed Cossack, the rich and cruel robber who not only robs but protests that he is the real victim. The right has never admitted that it took power 34 years ago and has hardly been out of power since. It has never acknowledged that the country has been galloping to the right for years; neither does it recognize that Israel today is ruled by the most rightist-nationalist government in its history, one of the most right-wing, nationalist governments in the world, and the parliament barely rests between one piece of anti-democratic legislation and the next.

Weep and legitimize, weep some more and acquire more loot - this is the way of the robbed Cossack. The cynical manipulation has proved itself: Quite a few of the right's achievements have been won through complaining and blackmailing, weeping and self-victimizing. All these methods have been breaking records in recent weeks. Anyone listening to right-wing spokesmen would think Israel is an apartheid state - an apartheid against the disenfranchised right-wingers.

Just take the settlement project. No group seems to complain about its woes as incessantly as the settlers. Their construction is frozen, their houses are demolished, their movements are constrained, their leaders are persecuted, their produce is boycotted. Gewalt - they even get called "settlers."

Reality, of course, is the exact opposite. No group terrorizes all sides of government as incessantly, plotting and extorting. Its enterprise is blooming, receiving constant investments in the billions of shekels, practically untouched by the law, feared by the army, police, government, prosecution and courts. Violent settlers roam free, murderers are freed from prison almost immediately, land robbers and arsonists are not even questioned.

But for this group nothing is ever enough. Let's start an almighty din over the hour-long detention of a rabbi, in the robbed Cossack tradition. And this method is proving itself: Next time, the police will think twice before they dare.

The right-wingers portray the courts, which discriminate for the settlers and against the Palestinians, as persecutors. They portray the Supreme Court, the one that has never called the settlement enterprise illegal, the one that decade after decade has rejected petitions demanding human rights and law enforcement in the territories, the one that has yielded every so often to the military - even that court they audaciously portray as left-wing. Even Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and Col. Nitzan Alon are lefties, it turns out.

The same description is applied to the media. Preposterously, the media, which on some matters takes an establishment, not to say governmental, propagandist and biased line, which blindly and automatically recites the defense establishment's positions on nearly every issue, is described as "a leftie mafia." The same description is applied to the military radio station, in which debates between "left" and right are conducted between the right and the radical right. And this method is proving itself, of course: The media apologizes, gets defensive and drifts ever further to the right.

So here's a reminder for right-wingers. You're in control. You've been in control for years. You'll probably be in control for many years to come. You're legislating right-wing laws and running a right-wing policy, and there's nobody to stop you. So please, stop your wailing, the moan of the robbed Cossack. You don't need it anymore.