Opinion |

Michaeli, Shaked: There's No Real Difference Between These Two Israeli Ministers

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli in Jerusalem.
Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli in Jerusalem. Credit: Emil Salman
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

Make no mistake: Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli is very humane, very progressive, and she also opposes the occupation and supports universal values. Once she even called on mothers not to send their children to the army.

But at work, things are different. Work is work and leisure is leisure. During leisure time, one can sink into an armchair and ponder questions of morality. But at work, who has time for such extraneous matters?

There’s more to come, all the best things are still ahead of us. Just wait for the day Michaeli retires. Then we can expect a revolution: Civil rights will flow like water through the wadis, the occupation will end instantaneously, and labor migrants will dance on the rooftops. Patience! Auntie Merav has a bag of goodies in store.

Incidentally, it’s not only Michaeli. For example, five directors of the Shin Bet security service, the organization that has been engineering the occupation for decades, gathered before the TV cameras once and bitterly wept as they described the bad, cruel occupation. After they had completed their tenure, of course. When I saw them I thought, maybe we should send all the senior military and Shin Bet officials into retirement – especially after the increase in their pensions. That way they’ll all be guaranteed a fat retirement plan, and their sensitive souls can continue to flourish.

But let’s ask ourselves: If Michaeli were at the Interior Ministry, would her policies on Ukrainian refugees, for example, differ from those of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked?

The answer is yes. We can assume that Michaeli would ask everyone to cut the misogyny. “Don’t just use the masculine form of the word refugee in Hebrew, use the female form,” Michaeli would chide. Thank you for restoring the humanity that we almost lost, Merav. After that civics lesson, the refugees can return to their war-torn country, moved to tears that someone has finally corrected that historic injustice.

I assume Michaeli is singing a prayer of thanks that she is not the interior minister – that fortune has smiled on her and Shaked is filling the role. Now she can remain as pure as the bleeding hearts, who misunderstand the essence of the Jewish state and target Shaked with their condemnations.

Until this moment, the dignitaries in the Labor Party have voiced almost no reservations about the disgraceful sight at Ben Gurion Airport. At a time when even ordinary souls, not even the sensitive ones, are horrified by the spectacle, the party remains silent as the grave. The same is true regarding the Citizenship Law, which is a mark of Cain upon the forehead of the State of Israel. Even the pleasant “shooting and crying” hypocrisy has disappeared. Today they look straight into their victims’ eyes as they shoot.

The silence among the leaders of the Labor Party and their ideological circle in light of recent far-right policies – including the neutered Electricity Law, the Citizenship Law, JNF tree-planting in the Negev and rioting gangs of settlers – goes beyond coalition constraints. These dignitaries simply have no other policy. They align with the far-right because in principle, they agree with them. After all, the battle over the Citizenship Law was conducted without any input from Labor. Why? Because Shaked’s Yamina and Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism have done the work for them.

I’m sorry to say it, but there is only one possible conclusion: Shaked and Michaeli have the same policies, even if they are packaged differently. In the central issues on the agenda, they are in agreement. As it turns out, the two parties share the same DNA.

It serves to note here that about four years ago the Nation-State Law passed with 55 Knesset members in opposition. Where are those 55 now? I doubt whether one third of them would be willing to vote the same way today. It’s stunning.

Those who worked so diligently to replace Benjamin Netanyahu at all costs didn’t notice that they have become just like him. As Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

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