Why Israel's Government of Inciters Can't Win

The battle now is a battle for democracy, and therefore we will defeat you. That’s how it is everywhere in the world and that’s how it is here.

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Thousands march in Tel Aviv in protest of incitement against President Reuven Rivlin and left-wing NGOs, December 19, 2015.
Thousands march in Tel Aviv in protest of incitementCredit: Moti Milrod

Israeli society is aflame in the fire of incitement and violence. The prime minister and his cabinet are behaving like pyromaniacs. The justice minister is a worthy opponent and the debate with her is incisive and to the point. On the subject of the left-wing NGOSs it's worth telling her and them: You can legislate innumerable unnecessary laws, or continue to ignore the legal framework that defines and addresses all the needs for transparency and reporting. Nothing will help you. It’s impossible to stop the dedication to values that lies at the foundation of the battle of civil society. It’s a great worldwide wind that will carry you with it too.

You are hypocrites and that’s why you’ll fail. Remember the large numbers of organizations with whose help Israel undermines the foundations of many societies and countries. You are ignoramuses and therefore you won’t succeed — mainly because of the simple truth that wherever the democratic process has begun it has always been victorious in the end. Sometimes by a knockout, sometimes barely and at a high price, but always victorious.

Even democracies that fell (like the Weimar Republic) recovered and regained their strength. In that way Hitler and Stalin, Franco, the South American regimes and the Greek generals were defeated in the end. The battle now is a battle for democracy, and therefore we will defeat you. From the moment that human beings have breathed the air of liberty, it’s impossible to imprison them once again without rights and freedom. That’s how it is everywhere in the world and that’s how it is here. That’s how Islamic State will be defeated too. Because democracy patiently shapes human roots whereas physical force —from Islamic State to your Duma — is the superficial violence borne of confusion and losing the way. Internalize this: You’re lost because we’re headed in the right direction.

Moreover, the growing religious extremism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam is in effect the violent defense of conservatism that is losing its outposts in the face of the progress of our values of freedom. The more extreme they are the more it means that we are becoming stronger. Look even at your own religious community. Freedom is chewing away at you. Today there are more religiously observant gays and lesbians. There are women and men who are equal, and educated women who earn a livelihood. So is it any surprise that some of your rabbis are losing it, and many of their students are becoming cannon fodder in this war of values?

No flame will stop progress. Our generation is healthier and better nourished. Life expectancy has increased, infant mortality is declining. Education is spreading and ignorance is being defeated. Africa is awakening and China is opening up. Women are world leaders, technology is erupting, and agriculture is producing more. Not only are we better off materially, but our values and spirituality are also improving. Human rights are spreading, the pope is better than his predecessors, concern for the environment is becoming international policy, diplomacy is returning to its rightful place.

And the democratic spirit is also unstoppable. Don’t count on Europe to become racist and xenophobic once again. That stage is behind it. It will absorb the immigrants and create something unprecedented — Western Islam. Like Western Christianity and Western Judaism. With a commitment both to the Muslim tradition and to the values of Western democracy. Not all Christians are there, and many Jews are still far from Western democracy. And the Muslims? Patience, — they’re only starting out. Some of them, like some of us, will arrive.

It’s important to understand. The Western countries — the United States and Europe — are not interested in bringing down Israeli governments. Their motivation for supporting civil societies the world over is entirely different. Europe and the United States are not only geographical areas — they are world views. And they are committed to spreading their outlooks beyond their continental and political borders — not only in order to be protected by a moderate and democratic safety belt, but due to a profound understanding of the essence and mission of the old and young continents.

Europe brought a great deal of evil to the world as well as many wonderful things. Now it — like its younger daughter, the United States — is on the positive end. And they are working to share this value-based and material goodness. That is the money being invested in Russia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Arab countries and Israel too. It’s a large, democratic and determined movement. Neither pyromaniacs in Jerusalem, nor a prime minister and cabinet that incite, nor cries of woe and colored patches on Jewish lapels will deter them from realizing the tikkun olam (repairing the world). And we are their partners.

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