Israeli Spring Is in the Air?

It turns out that Israeli Arabs are indeed a threat; they threaten the hegemony of a government that divides the two peoples and the hatred percolating under every statement by the extreme right.

Saja Abu Fanni
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, February 8, 2015.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, February 8, 2015. Credit: Alex Kolomoisky
Saja Abu Fanni

Two springs are in the offing: The spring that nature, in its goodness, bestows on us every year, which arrives on Saturday, and the second spring, which will come even earlier – the spring of people tired of the frost of a right-wing government. That’s how seasons change. A refreshing breeze takes over, warms one’s bones, and life suddenly seems more humane. Welcome, spring!

The truth is that even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has wearied of his rule. He revealed this distaste when he dismissed out of hand one of life’s concerns, the housing shortage, for the benefit of “life itself.” The next day he flew to Washington to sort out matters of “life itself,” and the people here were left stuck with miserable crumbs, like the Sisyphean struggle with the cost of living.

These crumbs of life are too small for Netanyahu; the only place for dealing with “life itself” is in America. Too bad he wasn’t born American. According to his wife, he could have been president of the United States. And now the existential threat has passed with Netanyahu to America, where he has proven to be a miracle worker. Netanyahu came, and the age-old American order faces an existential threat, with 47 senators threatening a foreign leadership (Iran’s) over U.S. President Barack Obama’s head. Some say this is the first time in history such a thing has happened.

One can only advise the Americans to study some history. Then they will learn how Netanyahu whispered into the ear of kabbalist Rabbi Yitzhak Kadourie that the (Jewish) left has forgotten what it means to be Jewish. Earlier, he had explained that the Arab citizens of his country, for whose well-being he is responsible, are a demographic threat.

Let us say to our American brothers, congratulations on your new-old acquisition. But be prepared! The next whispering, this time into Sheldon Adelson’s ear, will explain which Americans have forgotten what it means to be American.

On the other hand, it turns out that matters of “life itself” are too much for ordinary mortals to deal with. Because the Netanyahu version of “life itself” means the nerve-wracking wait for the first nuclear missile. And as we know, he who waits for Judgment Day dies a thousand times a day, while those exempt from the harassment of “life itself” die only once.

“Life itself” has overwhelmed the spice of life, with even joyous times lacking joie de vivre. Meanwhile, “life itself” has produced other existential threats that are no less horrifying. In addition to the demographic and Iranian threats, the newest existential threat is the money ostensibly flowing to the Arabs, the left, and Yedioth Aharonoth publisher Noni Mozes in order to replace Netanyahu.

It turns out that the Arabs are indeed a threat; they threaten the hegemony of a government that divides the two peoples and the hatred percolating under every statement by the extreme right. But for those seeking compromise and a decent life, the Arabs have gone from being the problem to part of the solution; from trouble to the bearers of good tidings to both peoples with the establishment of the Joint List.

As in many journeys, you move forward 10 steps, and suddenly you fall back one. It was a mistake not to sign a surplus-votes agreement with Meretz, when, according to one poll, 83 percent of the Arab public supported such a deal. Let us hope that this step backward leads to 10 more steps forward – that Meretz comfortably exceeds the electoral threshold and that the Joint List wins an impressive number of seats.

The morning of the last elections I wrote a piece titled “On the road to a small revolution” (Haaretz, January 22, 2013). I was correct. The right was nearly knocked out of power, but Yair Lapid’s genius torpedoed the process when he hooked up with Naftali Bennett. The result was a descent to the brink of disaster. This time, the strong desire for change will prevent that.

By the way, meteorologists are forecasting spring-like weather for tomorrow.

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