A Tale of Two Israeli High Court Decisions: Sussia vs. Beit El

Why are those who enthusiastically support demolition in Beit El raising a storm to prevent compliance with the evacuation of structures in Arab Sussia?

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Israel Defense Forces troops demolish the Dreinoff buildings in Beit El, July 29, 2015.
Israel Defense Forces troops demolish the Dreinoff buildings in Beit El, July 29, 2015.Credit: Reuters
Israel Harel
Israel Harel

The Schadenfreude among the left at the sight of the demolition in Beit El is one of many reasons why leaders Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) and Zehava Galon (Meretz) should be concerned that their parties will lose the Israeli mainstream.

A Palestinian man looks out of a tent in Sussia, July 20, 2015.Credit: Reuters

The media outlets, which have always sown hatred of the settlers, called the Beit El youth “rioters” and “hooligans,” and planted even darker hints about them (we will never forget the media’s coddling of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and its mudslinging at the Gush Katif settlers in order to justify uprooting them from Gaza in 2005). At the same time, in Arab Sussia, where a violent struggle is also being waged against a High Court of Justice expulsion decision, there is support in Israel and worldwide for the masked Palestinians and their violent followers. And the latter, although the media conceals it from us, sometimes exercise greater force than the youth of Beit El, and their invective is more serious than that of MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) and the “price-tag” inciters.

Most of the public – apparently even the settlers – is in favor of complying with the orders of the High Court. What the same majority has difficulty in understanding is this: Why are those who enthusiastically support the demolition in Beit El raising a hue and cry, and enlisting international organizations, to prevent compliance with another High Court order – the demolition of some 15 structures that constitute Arab Sussia? At the heart of the response to this question lies the reason why Herzog and Galon’s parties are liable to disappear, unless they make a complete U-turn. And they aren’t doing so.

Even if he isn’t a fan of the settlements, the average person doesn’t understand the source of the profound and automatic identification with the Palestinians. Especially when the High Court demanded that the state finally enforce the planning and construction laws for the Arabs, too. This “average person” also fails to understand how, after all the ills we suffered as a result of the expulsion from Gush Katif, those who favored the uprooting continue to display unlimited and wicked heartlessness toward their Jewish brothers, whose world was destroyed, yet clear empathy toward the other people, the ones whose representatives sow fear, death and destruction among Israeli citizens.

Do the recent declarations by Herzog and Galon about moving toward the center attest they have begun to understand that self-flagellation is one of the things undermining their political power? That’s far from certain. At a Peace Now convention last weekend, former Labor MK Tzaly Reshef presented a strategic plan for the left to make a comeback: supporting a boycott. Only a boycott that hits the people hard in their pockets will shake up Israeli society and bring the left back to power, he claimed. While many are succeeding in ridding themselves of the vain desires and temptations that Reshef and his friends have been feeding us for years, Herzog and Galon are holding their peace in the face of the brutal Leninist strategy.

It is said about the tzadik Reb Zusha of Anipoli that he told his disciples, “When I arrive in the heavenly court they won’t ask me, ‘Why weren’t you Moses?’ They’ll ask, ‘Why weren’t you Zusha?’” The ranks of Herzog’s party aren’t being deserted because he decided to call it Zionist Union. On the contrary: the camp is being abandoned because this obligating pledge has nothing behind it. He didn’t lose the last Knesset election because of a bad campaign; he was defeated because he left the source of living waters of Zionism, as practiced by the founding fathers of his party, and was dragged – with Peace Now as the ideological leadership – toward broken cisterns that do not contain water, namely Judaism and Zionism.