Make Me Prime Minister or Leave Me Alone

Desperate times call for desperate measures — and this Kahanist Knesset is desperate indeed.

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A memorial for Meir Kahane in Jerusalem.Credit: Emil Salman

“The situation” is apparently desperate. Lately, more people have been asking me when I’m coming back. Newspaper columns are not enough - they don’t make sparks fly. This is an emergency, you mustn’t sit home — there’s a shortage of people like you there. I look out of my window and see mass demonstrations of support below the balcony: ten to twenty concerned citizens.

To all those who seek good but not my welfare, I say: Sorry, forget it. I didn’t resign of my own free will in order to return against my will. My time is past, and time cannot be brought back, nor can I. I’m not Benny Begin. I resigned because I felt out of place. My last term was like a nightmare for me. I would return home fuming. I became a monster. My family urged me to stop: It’s not up to you to finish the work, it will finish you first. I had a heart attack 40 years ago, and since then I have functioned halfheartedly; my heart gave and my heart was taken.

Even if I had had any hesitations, what happened last week would have made even the slightest temptation vanish. One committee meeting cast a horrific light on a benighted Knesset, which hosted the leader of the Lehava organization, Bentzi Gopstein. Anyone who wants to guard his heart and soul will stay away. Of course, there are still a few good people there, but they are not the ones who determine the Knesset’s character: Say MK and immediately you picture... you know who.

No, not because of the stormy debates, not even because of the insults and the cursing. It’s all because of the vessels that are being broken, and there’s nobody to put them back together. Only 30 years ago we vomited Meir Kahane from among us when we sent his offensive party outside the boundaries, and naively believed that we had buried it.

Now the situation is reversed: The Kahanists are the ones sending the MKs outside. MKs were removed one after another from the meeting, while the man who heads a neo-Nazi party remained inside to talk and mock. A real topsy turvy world. On the one hand the police and the State Prosecutor are considering how to declare the Lehava organization illegal; on the other hand, they bring them into the legislature, and not through the back door. Had I been there, I would also have been expelled by comittee chairman Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) denying me the right to shout, while giving the scoundrel Gopstein the floor.

In the first place he shouldn’t have been invited; it was wrong. But today there is nobody to stand at the gate and block his entrance. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein plays dumb. “No legal reason was found to ban his entry,” was his excuse after the fact.

But as we know, you don’t attend a Knesset committee discussion by accident; you don’t come without being invited. He was there because someone was interested in him being there. Birds of a feather flock together and Smotrich, a Kahanist from Habayit Hayehudi, is of the same flock as Gopstein. So, too, is the permanent chairman of the committee, the inviter, David Amsalem, a Kahanist from Likud. “Kahane lives” is dead, but he is alive and kicking at the Knesset. There’s no difference today between the right-wing parties. They are all descendants of the living dead man.

The Knesset has had black days in the past, but never a day like that, and it’s just the beginning. The next chapter will come soon, and the direction is clear. And when Isaac Herzog and Yair Lapid are the ones heading the “enlightened camp,” is it any wonder there are 50 shades of black?

Once, just before my departure from politics, I said that for the sake of the education of Israel’s children I would be willing to return. That offer has long since been removed from the agenda for reasons related to the spirit of the time and the place. Now, and only because of the times and Bibi, it’s all or nothing: either the premiership or the weekly column. And if they don’t want that, then never mind. I don’t miss it.

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