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Are Israel's New Ministers Trying to Show They Hate Arabs More Than the Far Right?

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Bezalel Smotrich at the Knesset, last month.
Bezalel Smotrich at the Knesset, last month.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

“The funeral is noisy and the deceased is a dog.” After all, we’re only talking about the removal of a disgrace from Israeli society – repealing the law that separates families so that both father and mother can hug their sons and daughters. But the coalition is roiling now, and all to guarantee the continuation of this disgrace, known as a “temporary order” but which has long since become an “eternal order.”

Under the rule of the right and its satellites on the left, the exception has become the rule. As an Egyptian news reader said once, “We apologize for the program we broadcast, we’ll return to the malfunction shortly.” This is a country that lives in eternal malfunction.

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One can understand where Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is coming from. She once posted an article by Uri Elitzur on her Facebook page that compared Palestinian children to snakes that must be eliminated before they grow. That’s Shaked, and that’s her doctrine. But one cannot understand many other ministers and MKs in the coalition, like those in the Labor Party or Yesh Atid, or even Yisrael Beiteinu, who are battling to pass this law and begging other MKs to support it.

Seriously, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, do you hate Arabs more than Itamar Ben-Gvir hates them? And honorable Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, do you hate them more than Bezalel Smotrich, who doesn’t want his wife next to an Arab mother in the maternity ward? Instead of these two racists and fountainheads of hatred fighting for the passage of this law, which suits them perfectly, you are trying to persuade them to support it? That’s not absurd, it’s moral suicide.

Do Lapid and the other sane people in the government have to be more Catholic than the pope in this case? Back in the 1990s, when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who needed the support of Hadash and the Arab Democratic Party, realized that there was no majority for the proposal to expropriate Arab land in East Jerusalem, he withdrew the proposal, apologized to no one, and blamed Benjamin Netanyahu.

Oh, sorry, I forgot. For a move like Rabin’s, one needs two leaders: one like Rabin, who did not blink when faced with Netanyahu, and one like Tawfiq Zayyad, a Hadash MK, who on matters of principle did not seek compromises; he drew the line, and everyone had to toe it, not the other way around. But Shaked is drawing the line and asking the United Arab List MKs to trample on their national and humane obligations to their people, thus the path is paved to absurdity.

During the second Rabin government, Zayyad didn’t seek compromises on important issues; the only word he uttered was a loud “No.” The Arabs say, “If you get someone used to riding on your back, every time he sees you, he feels tired.” Now all the pressure is being directed at the UAL. As if the UAL leaders don’t have enough from the almost weekly shower by their disappointed friend, MK Yariv Levin, who never stops praising UAL’s support for the Zionist movement – from the shameful capitulation to the Evyatar settlers to the vote in favor of drafting Haredi girls – now Shaked is coming to them with threats that if they don’t vote for the Citizenship and Entry Law amendment, she will work with Likud to advance a stronger immigration law.

Meanwhile, within this gloom, it was pleasant to hear Meretz, and in particular MK Mossi Raz, firmly opposing the law.

We’ve been told that those who entered this government had to be prepared to suffer its onions, not just enjoy the honey. But until now our eyes are stinging from copious tears and the offensive smell is blocking our noses – starting with the permits to build in the settlements and ending with the repulsive march of hatred in Jerusalem. When do we get the honey? And with leaders like Shaked and Gideon Sa’ar, is there even any honey in the pot to be found?

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