It’s hard to think of historical examples in which a ruler took over most of the media for propaganda purposes, threatened the legal system and the police, and was ousted without a coup. You don’t have to go as far back as Germany, Italy and Spain in the 1930s. It’s enough to look at what is happening today – even in countries where there are ostensibly free elections. Is there a way to defeat Vladimir Putin or Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Of course not.
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In the run-up to a new, different stage of the Netanyahu regime, this question ought to be in the mind of every Knesset member and every party leader that knows the truth. And especially if this is a coalition government of 61 MKs.
All the propaganda about ethnic voting was primarily meant to serve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The truth is that the best predictor is religion: religious Ashkenazim voted for Netanyahu or parties to his right; Mizrahim who are neither religious nor traditional did not.
Still, the no-less-important fact about the votes for Netanyahu by many poor people is that they primarily read his house organ, Israel Hayom, which is thrust on them for free. In that paper, it isn’t just “the left” but also principled rightists like Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked who are objects of incitement. Yet all those who joined Netanyahu’s government gave him a license to turn our television into Israel Hayom. This means the limit of his “natural partners” is to be, at most, like Likud minister Gilad Erdan – an object for the ruler’s use.
Channel 2 television is already mobilizing on the ruler’s behalf. We received a chilling example of this in its Sunday night coverage of the scandal in which hundreds of stun grenades were thrown into Rabin-Murder Square at citizens who really weren’t endangering anyone’s life. Yet in the face of what was clearly visible, Channel 2 claimed the demonstrators were throwing firecrackers. Such deceptions will only get worse if the MKs enable Netanyahu’s absolute rule.
The police abuse of black people also exemplifies the effect of Netanyahu’s continued rule. Netanyahu is systematically making Israel racist. It’s not “just” statements like “The Arabs are going to the polls in their droves” or “The left has forgotten what it is to be Jewish”; turning the racist Amir Benayoun into the regime’s official singer; and the severe, ongoing incitement against Africans. Netanyahu is turning Israel’s citizens into distinct racial groups and systematically fomenting quarrels among them.
Building a fence to prevent Israel from being flooded is one thing. Sending black people to prison and abusing them is something else entirely. The police’s order to abuse African asylum seekers leads directly to the police violence against Israelis of Ethiopian descent. Witness testimony says the police abuse Ethiopians as if they were “Sudanese” or “Eritreans.”
This is what Netanyahu’s continued rule means: turning a country of people who fled racism into the country of a leader with his own media, legal system and police – a leader who divides the citizenry into racial groups that quarrel with each other according to his needs. That’s exactly what he’s doing now with the ultra-Orthodox and religious Zionists.
Netanyahu didn’t invent this racial system of rule. But those who intend to enable this disgrace by raising their hands in its favor are the ones who will bear the responsibility.
All the praise of Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon for defending the Supreme Court stems from confusion. Kahlon is the one who is making Netanyahu’s government possible; without him, Netanyahu has no majority. Kahlon capitulated to the demand that Netanyahu be put in control of what’s left of the media. And Netanyahu also intends to extort the finance minister-designate on other laws in return for his support of Kahlon’s reforms.
Even Netanyahu’s “innocent” plans will change everything. The most dangerous of them is allowing Israelis overseas to vote, to which his coalition partners have agreed. There’s no democracy in a situation where more than 12 percent of the citizens have already left the country: The anti-Zionist reality in which a million Israelis who chose to leave will send the remaining Israelis to war is shocking.
Even worse, the combination of absentee balloting with the Law of Return – which enables Jews to acquire citizenship instantly and start voting – is aimed at completely altering the voter rolls. Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn will become citizens, and then they’ll decide the election in favor of the racist ruler.
The time to stop this madness is next week. Netanyahu isn’t right-wing; he’s the end of democracy. If there are MKs who understand this, then the destruction of Israel will be halted.