An Alliance of Necessity

For the sake of transparency, Arabs and Jewish democrats must demonstrate maturity and announce that they will forge an alliance, to be called 'the alliance of the coerced,' against Netanyahu

Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi during a Kahol Lavan event, March 9, 2019.
Rami Chelouche

Benny Gantz, the head of the Kahol Lavan joint ticket, is fiercely fending off two accusations. The first is that he exposed himself to a girl 44 years ago. The second is that he will ally with Arabs after the election.

He has disproved the first charge, but over the second he and his partners are sweating and squirming, willing even to abandon their promised electoral upset. After vowing to replace the government, now they say they would join a Likud-led coalition after the election. Can anyone resolve this paradox?

>>Read more: For Netanyahu, unity is a dirty word | Analysis ■ Corrupt, racist politicians' outrageous move against Israel's far-left | Opinion ■  After replacing Netanyahu, Gantz's party will self-destruct. And that's OK | Analysis 

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And if all this weren’t enough, the third accusation hurled at Gantz and his people is that they’re leftists. That’s too much. Pity there’s no blood test to determine the percentage of leftism in a candidate.

The Arabs, in contrast, need no diagnostic kit to check their national affiliation; they don’t deny that they’re Arabs. They were born into this nationality and are happy in their lot. Moreover, Israel’s Arab community can be proud of the fact that it has cleaner hands than any other group of Israeli society when it comes to shedding the blood of Palestinians, Jordanians, Syrians and Egyptians, and even of Jews. So isn’t it delightful to be an Arab?

Wouldn’t it be an honor for Gantz — who counted how many Palestinians he has killed and reached the astounding figure of 1,364 — to join forces with clean-handed people like the Arabs? Consequently, the Arabs are the ones facing a dilemma. How can this community, most of whose members don’t know how to fire even the simplest gun, join forces with a killer like Gantz?

Yet Gantz, instead of being grateful for this potential alliance, which would cleanse him a bit and without which he won’t be prime minister, is trying to flee and to outsmart it.

Salman Masalha dismissed this delusional attitude on the part of Gantz and his gang. “You’ve been warned,” he told Gantz (Haaretz, March 7), and urged the Arab parties to announce that they won’t ally with Gantz.

But someone needs to tell Masalha that if the Arabs do partner with Gantz, assuming the conditions are ripe for such a move, it will be because they have no other choice if the goal is to topple the right-wing extremist government, which is already bringing in monstrous elements like the candidates of Otzma Yehudit.

Therefore, for the sake of transparency, both blocs — the one comprised of Arabs and Jewish democrats, and the one known as the center-left — must demonstrate maturity and announce that they will forge an alliance, to be called “the alliance of the coerced,” against Benjamin Netanyahu. After all, the Arabs and the Jewish democrats will be joining forces under duress with those who count how many people they have killed, and those who count their kills will be joining under duress with people who are pure as the driven snow, at least when it comes to shedding other people’s blood.

For the sake of history, let’s recall that even Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who brought the greatest disaster of all upon the Arabs, had no qualms about using them to shore up his government. Granted, they were good Arabs, but they were nevertheless Arabs. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin also forged an alliance with them in 1992 in order to pass the Oslo Accords — the same Rabin who was responsible for expelling the Arabs of Lod in 1948.

Nor should we forget Ariel Sharon, who relied on the Arabs to pass the settler-compensation law that enabled Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. There is no need to waste words on Sharon’s history, from the bloody raid on the Jordanian town of Qibya in 1953 to the massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and Chatila by Israel’s Lebanese allies during the 1982 Lebanon War.

Incidentally, Rabin blossomed after his alliance with the Arabs. Thanks to this Jewish-Arab cooperation, he apparently rediscovered his humanity, which he had lost during the wars and expulsions and the breaking of bones.

Meanwhile, the world has turned upside down, and instead of the opposition attacking Netanyahu, it is running away. Here we have a strange sight — an opposition in flight. That’s not how you build a victory. That’s how you pave the way to a resounding defeat.