Opinion

Hatred of the Government Will Unite the Israeli Nation

Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A demonstrator sits with a sign reading "ashamed" at a protest against the Netanyahu-Gantz unity government in Jerusalem, May 14, 2020.
A demonstrator sits with a sign reading "ashamed" at a protest against the Netanyahu-Gantz unity government in Jerusalem, May 14, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman
Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher

Truth is very dear to the heart of the Israeli public. Even when it errs, it does so through a wrong interpretation of the truth, not out of indifference to it. As far as truth goes, the public in Israel is never indifferent. Moreover, it’s keen on convincing the entire world of its being right, namely, of its adherence to the truth. This, after all, is the essence of the almost magical thinking termed here “hasbara” (explaining our cause overseas).

When the public supports annexation, it does so out of a deep conviction that the West Bank really and truly belongs to Israel, and that our ownership over it is an expression of historical truth, of a biblical, national and divine truth. The growing belief in God and in believing that the people of Israel are the “chosen people” attests to the fact that people have to anchor their worldview on solid ground, in order to show that this worldview is the word of the living God.

It’s important for Israelis to prove that Israel is right and that the Palestinians are wrong. The dominance of Holocaust remembrance also attests to the importance of truth in the life of this nation. Holocaust denial is perceived as a crime against truth. The Nakba narrative [the Palestinian perspective of events in 1948] is a crime against truth. In the way we perceive ourselves, Israel is not an aggressive nation but one pursuing the truth, using its power as a means of defending this truth.

The Trump plan, which allows annexation to proceed, is perceived as American recognition not only of the reality that’s taken shape on the ground, but as American recognition of the truth. The same applies to the recognition of the annexation of the Golan Heights and of East Jerusalem. This land truly belongs to us, in the deepest evangelist, religious and historical sense.

The truth also affords significance to the death of soldiers. In their death, not only do these soldiers bequeath us life, they also ratify the validity and importance of Israel’s truth. It’s doubtful whether there is another nation in the industrialized world that is so obsessively immersed in proving its truth. Israelis are fanatic about their narrative. It’s hard to think of a more central concept in the life of this nation, held even while being so horribly wrong in its conception of the truth.

More over, the “Bibism” movement which rules this country is based on a struggle to reach the truth in the cases against Netanyahu and his impending trial. The hatred of the High Court of Justice is driven by a controversy over what that truth is.

Therefore, the public is going to hate the new government. Hatred towards this government will unite all parts of this divided nation, because there is not a shred of truth behind it. Netanyahu set up a government in order to cancel his trial, to annex part of the West Bank and to fight the coronavirus, precisely at the moment in which these issues lost their importance, with the main issue becoming the one million unemployed and the recession that’s around the corner. It’s the economy, stupid.

A cabinet with 36 ministers and 16 deputy ministers is the epitome of reckless profligacy and government corruption. The nation won’t accept this absurd government. It’s a government that’s patently a lie. It has invented groundless and needless ministries and is wasting much of the most precious resource we have (money), thereby proving that it isn’t intended to deal with the economic crisis. While people are losing their money and livelihood, it is stealing public money to give to politicians.

The public will not accept this. In times like this, a government such as this is the enemy of the people. It doesn’t even try to hide this. This time, Netanyahu’s political instincts have betrayed him, and he’s on a collision course with the public, whose spirit will soon become quite gloomy. Annexation and Netanyahu’s trial will not interest people, not when taxes go up and pension funds come down. He won’t be able to sell the story that Gantz is to blame. The public knows who’s the boss.