A Government Without the Crook or the Haredim

Nehemia Shtrasler
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Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to journalists at a conference organized by Channel 20, last week.
Nehemia Shtrasler

Tuesday, March 23, 2021, it has to happen. It happens to every crook. He fools everyone for years and years, lies constantly, doesn’t keep promises, ignores written contracts, wreaks damage and hurls insults, until finally the magic moment arrives, the moment no one could even picture anymore – and he is toppled.

Bibi has reached this critical mass. Just consider how many political parties and figures would have gone with Likud if he weren’t there. See how many good people have abandoned Likud because of him. As long as he’s around, no one else can get anywhere there.

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Bibi is the one who led us to this fourth election in two years, because he cares about one thing and one thing alone: getting his criminal trial canceled. To this end, he has harmed democracy, wrecked the rule of law and trampled civil rights. As far as he is concerned, anything goes if it will help him escape justice.

If he succeeds in forming his dream government, Iran will be a more progressive country than we are. He will form a backward, racist, homophobic, messianic, ultra-Orthodox government in which Moshe Gafni, Arye Dery, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir will call the shots. The first thing he’ll do will be to fire Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and cancel the trial. The second thing will be to make huge budget allocations to the settlements and the Haredim, while raising taxes on the secular. As a result, people will start leaving Israel – the most talented ones, especially. There’s a limit to how much of a sucker a person is willing to be.

Therefore, the vote today must be strategic. There can be no self-indulgence, no wasting of votes. Staying home is not an option. This truly is a fateful election whose importance cannot be overstated.

In the last election, about a million people in the big cities didn’t exercise their right to vote. This time they must vote. It’s unconscionable that voter turnout is 84 percent among the Haredim and just 67 percent among the secular. The second principle is to vote only for parties that cross the electoral threshold. Voting for Yaron Zelekha’s party, for example, would be unforgiveable foolishness – first, because he is personally not suited for any national role and second, because he has no chance of crossing the electoral threshold, so a vote for him is essentially a vote for Bibi. Zelekha is staying in the race because of his megalomania and because he also wants to receive 1.4 million shekels ($424,000) from the state – the amount given to anyone who obtains more than 1 percent of the vote.

The third principle is to vote for parties that won’t join Bibi’s coalition. Which means one mustn’t vote for Naftali Bennett, who appears to suffer from battered wife syndrome. No matter how many times Bibi has humiliated and insulted him, no matter that he fired him and lied to him, he keeps submissively crawling back.

So then, whom to vote for? For Yair Lapid, Gideon Sa’ar, Avigdor Lieberman, Benny Gantz, Merav Michaeli or Nitzan Horowitz. It’s true that without Bennett, this government of change does not have a majority, so we still have to pray that Bennett remembers what he himself said about Bibi and joins the government of change. This government would have religious members, but not extremist messianic types like Smotrich and Ben-Gvir, and it would have no Haredim either. The time has come for the Haredim to be detached from the udders of government. They wield too much power. They are a minority that controls the majority. And it’s impossible to continue with a situation where every secular family is carrying on its back a Haredi family, so many of whom don’t study a core curriculum, don’t work and don’t serve in the army. There is no country in the world that functions this way. If this doesn’t change, Israel will collapse, plain and simple.

But, most importantly, everyone must go vote. A bad government is elected by good people who don’t vote, so this is the first imperative for everyone who wants to change the government. You can’t complain to friends and family every weekend and then stay home on Election Day. And one should also vote with a feeling of joy – with a sense of pride about the civil protest movements, including the weekly demonstrations at intersections and at Balfour Street – a protest unlike anything Israel has ever seen. This big opportunity must not be missed. The crook must be sent packing. So go vote!

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