“Time is on our side” is the hollow mantra of Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel of Habayit Hayehudi, along with their brothers in Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Yesh Atid. The leftists are tired Zionists, they claim, while appropriating the Zionist project for their messianic ideology. We’ll get the world used to our caprices, they tell anyone who wonders where they’re heading.
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But the Jewish year 5775 is beginning and refusing to get used to anything. Some 1.5 million Israelis ushered in the new year at meals funded by donations from good people. The number of Israelis in the cycle of poverty grows each year; most of the poor work.
The gaps are increasing, but the messianic brothers have a solution: Join us in the welfare state in the West Bank. “We doubled the budgets for Judea and Samaria,” boasts the previous finance minister, the embodiment of the vision of socialist Zionism.
The frequent rounds of violence take their toll in blood and damage to the economy. They’re responsible for budget cuts in both primary and higher education, and undermine the welfare and health services. This mainly affects poorer people, of course. While the Jewish brothers are once again proposing that we occupy Gaza, the education minister is explaining that “there was a war” and it wouldn’t be right “to curtail the vision of Greater Israel.”
Nor is the international community getting used to anything. Israel’s standing continues to suffer, especially among those closest to us, the United States and Western Europe. The disgust at our continued domination of another nation is eroding cultural, economic and scientific ties with the rest of the world.
The United States is undergoing demographic changes, as well as a change in priorities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the Americanologist doesn’t realize how U.S. support is slipping through his fingers. Others, drunk on imaginary power, promise us that the world won’t move without that Israeli app Waze. Particles won’t accelerate without Jewish genius.
The Jewish brothers who continue to put “Jewish” before “democratic” refuse to notice North American Jews’ reservations about Israel. They eschew the two-state idea, repudiate liberalism, sanctify power and practice discrimination.
Even “united” Jerusalem is not cooperating with the security hawks. In our eternal capital the nationalist and religious tensions are deepening, and violence is increasing. The city’s poverty on both sides of the Green Line puts most of its children, both Jewish and Arab, below the poverty line. Most of its residents are anti-Zionists.
Meanwhile, many young Israelis have stopped believing that time is on the side of messianic Zionism. The cost of living, reserve duty and mainly the absence of faith in government policy are pushing them to a future on the other side of the ocean. No, they aren’t tired. The residents of the western Negev near Gaza, a stronghold of genuine Zionism, aren’t spoiled, as some people accuse them of being.
They simply understand that an honest attempt at achieving peace doesn’t mean rejecting the two-state idea, ostracizing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, torpedoing any attempt to include Hamas in the diplomatic process and continuing unbridled construction in the West Bank. They understand the real price, both economic and moral, in the refusal to separate ourselves from the Palestinians.
Time remains indifferent and does not sanctify the artificial status quo. Waiting around the corner isn’t a binational state, but one state – whose characteristics are far from any divine or other promise. It’s a state that even a messiah wouldn’t be able to cleanse.