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Keep Silent, Wait and See

Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann
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Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu, the day after the elections.
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu, the day after the elections.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann

1. These days I hear many people say, “the prudent doth keep silence in such a time" (Amos 5:13). A strong inner voice is calling on us to keep silent. To wait and see. Not defiantly (“Let’s see them pull something”) but humbly. The truth is, I don’t know what’s going to happen. My natural tendency is optimism, but maybe I’m just a frog, and the swamp is a warm bath. Will the right-wing devil turn out to be not as black as it is painted, or even demonstrate responsibility and surprise us? Will it be truly terrible and then better? Or maybe truly terrible and then even worse? On the one hand, people around me seem to be relaxed and happy, despite the things they say, and on the other hand it’s clear to me that the distance between crowded cafes and abject fear is two terror attacks in Tel Aviv.

2. As crazy as it seems, as soon as one understands that he was Druze, the crazy story of Tiran Fero isn’t crazy at all. The 17-year-old Israeli from Daliat al-Carmel was critically injured in a car accident near the West Bank city of Jenin Wednesday and admitted to a local hospital, where he was placed on life support. Palestinian gunmen from Jenin entered the hospital, disconnected him from the machines and abducted him, before discovering that he was Druze. After holding the body for about 24 hours, they returned it before dawn Thursday. Who needs the so-called nation-state law when reality presents itself in stark black and white?

3. In regard to the proposal to introduce legislative override of constitutional rulings by the High Court of Justice, the right’s trust in the rule of law astounds me every time. I would tell them: If you want to be criminals, then be criminals. But no, they insist that it doesn’t matter what they are planning, all that matters is that it be legal. What is legal? What the law determines. And who determines the law? The majority at any given moment. Of course, the right isn’t ashamed to pass a law against the possibility of the minority becoming the majority (the nation-state law), or against the possibility of the majority deciding democratically that Israel is whatever it wants (the Basic Law on the Knesset, Article 7A, which disqualifies from election to the Knesset anyone who negates the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state – that is, anyone who supports the idea of a state of all its citizens).

4. Benjamin Netanyahu is certainly pleased with his election victory. He needs it to prove once again that the people support him despite his corruption trials and the political boycott. But I’m not at all sure that he’s happy to lead the government that’s in the making. This will sound strange, but the day after the election I even had a fleeting thought that the winner would have preferred to go to bed drunk with victory and not wake up. To retire as a winner. Somehow, in the collective memory his name is not associated with Operation Guardian of the Walls, last year’s military operation in the Gaza Strip, particularly the riots in mixed Arab-Jewish cities within Israel. But the credit is entirely Netanyahu’s. Is it true that God is with him, and gave him the election victory, or did God lay a trap for him?

5. People are considering emigration, out of despair or fear for the way the country is deteriorating, or at least they’re talking about it, either defiantly or to vent. On the other hand, some people say proudly: “We’re staying in Israel,” no matter what. Well, if the atmosphere in the street, the expressions on people’s faces and their tone of voice are a real indication, the both sides are full of hot air. Only when fear rules the streets, then and only then will they determine the real answer to the question of whether they stay or leave. Is that moment near? No more and no less than the distance between us and a car accident.

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