The ultimate hypocrisy: MKs who voted in favor of the crime of the Gush Katif Disengagement condemn a man whose Jewish values prohibit the transfer of civilians.
The Likud said nothing new in its wild attack this week against Naftali Bennett. As early as 1,936 years ago, King Yanai warned his wife, Salome, against the hypocrites: “Fear not the Pharisees nor the Sadducees, but the hypocrites, who commit the act of Zimri and demand the wages of Pinehas.”
The hypocrisy in our story belongs to the Likud—the very same Likud which did not bat an eyelash when it engaged, with noticeable glee, in the incomparable crime of deporting the Gush Katif settlers—is now attacking Bennett, who simply stated that there are situations in which Jewish and universal values supercede any other value, and that in the case of expulsion, an individual soldier is obligated to request that his commanding officer release him from that despicable assignment. The Likud, which led the ethnic cleansing of Jews—simply because of their being Jewish—in Yamit (1987), Gush Katif (2005), Amona (2006), and Migron, Yair Farm and Ulpana Hill (2011-12) is the one bitterly decrying Bennett’s moral stance. It’s the peak of hypocrisy, it’s a case of the robbed Cossack.
It’s hard to tell what exactly bothers Netanyahu the most when he looks at Bennett. Maybe because of Bennett’s statement: “Right now they’re viewing us as the state’s chaplain. We don’t matter to Netanyahu. Not regarding Supreme Court cases, not regarding the settlement freeze, not regarding the appointment of Barak as Defense Minister. This has to change.” Maybe that’s scaring Netanyahu.
In his eagerness to block Bennett, Netanyahu behaved like the Hollywood gangster who commits robbery in broad daylight, discovers to his alarm that a group of citizens are chasing him, yelling “Stop, thief!” and so he points his finger at an innocent bystander and yells: “Stop, thief!”
The gangster in this fable is, forgive my insolence, Benjamin Netanyahu. This major partner in the crime of deportation of Jews, who avoided emphatically any attempt on his part of halting that unforgivable moral- security- and national disaster, now joins the chase after Bennett, yelling “Refusnik! Refusnik!” This leader who could have bought his place in Heaven if only he had refused, back in 2005, to partake in Ariel Sharon’s immoral gimmickry, is pillorying the one human being who speaks for Jewish values. It’s the ultimate absurdity.
Hypocrisy has been celebrated in earnest recently over at Likud. Because, had Netanyahu been a man of truth, promising that he would not admit into his government anyone who called on soldiers to refuse orders (although, in fact, Bennett did no such thing, he merely expressed a personal opinion) he would have had to fire Minister Uzi Landau who read into the Knesset transcript in May, 1995, during a debate over coming down from the Golan Heights: “A law that does not pass the values test does not exist in the eyes of people with values… A government order to evacuate a Jewish settlement does not pass the values test… Whoever dares to send our security forces to evacuate a settlement would be committing a clearly illegal act over which flies a black flag.”
The same Netanyahu must also remove Likud MK Tzipi Hotoveli, who said in April, 2010: “There’s such a thing as proper refusal… When a soldier is willing to give his life to defend this country, for this nation. If the soldier is willing to die in Gaza to defend Sderot and Ashkelon, and he experiences a real problem of conscience – that would be his litmus test. If he is truly ready to give his life, it means he is not a politician, he’s not waving signs. He is a man with a high sense of conscience and morality.”
Except that only Uzi Landau and Tzipi Hotoveli are the true Likudniks in this story. Like Menachem Begin, who said clearly at the Knesset, back in 1955: “The free man is entitled, and sometimes even obligated, regarding issues of irrevocable rights, to transgress formal directives, should said directives threaten those rights, provided that he is then willing to accept responsibility for his action.” And even Ariel Sharon said, during the struggle over Oslo (in the summer of 1995): “If a soldier feels that the command he was given contradicts his conscience, he must approach personally… appear before his commanding officer, and explain it to him, and be prepared to accept the consequences.”
An examination through moral lenses of Netanyahu’s and Bennet’s positions on the expulsion of Jews, reveals that they are opposite sides of the same coin. On one side are carved super-moral values, and on the other moral degradation. On one side national-Jewish values, on the other politically leftist merged with economically right-wing policies. On one side a man who objects, in the name of morality, to expelling people from their homes, on the other one supporting the vile deportation of good Jews, salt of the earth, who had turned Gush Katif into a thriving region and were already raising their third generation there.
And, please, don’t give me the line about outside coercion. There was no foreign pressure involved in the expulsion of Gush Katif, only the existential threat against Prime Minister Sharon by renegade ministers vowing to desert his government.
FLOWERS FOR NETANYAHU
It’s true that the public tends to forget that Netanyahu was a persistent partner in the expulsion of Gush Katif. This week I sat in some conference in Tel Aviv commemorating the Disengagement, and a respectable lady sitting on my side yelled excitedly at the stage: “But Netanyahu objected to the Disengagement!” She, like so many others, had forgotten that Netanyahu’s score on his actions during the Disengagement was a floor hugging 14% (meaning that during 86% of the related discussions in the Knesset he voted either for transfer or at most abstained). Try and explain to her that when the Knesset was debating the proposition of a national referendum on the Disengagement, in October, 2004, after MK Uri Ariel chided him for voting against the referendum, he received from Netanyahu the surprising answer, immortalized by the television cameras: “Make no mistake about it, in the Likud membership referendum I will support the Disengagement.”
So now this man, who was so eager to support that crime, is rebuking a man whose crime is his being moral. An upside down world.
In his efforts to blacken Bennet’s face, Netanyahu has taken an unprecedented, sly step. Minutes before Shabbat, he alerted over to his office the television crews to be interviewed and condemn Bennett. The interviews were broadcast Friday night, and were rehashed ad nauseum throughout the Shabbat. Being Shabbat observers, Bennett and his staff had no way of responding. So the hate Bennett campaign had free reign, unanswered, for 25 hours. Did we mention sly?
But the public was hip to it. The public rejected the campaign to blacken Bennett’s face. An Haaretz poll conducted after the storm (Dec. 25) showed Jewish Home rising to 13 seats. If I were Bennett, I’d have sent Netanyahu a large bouquet of flowers.
DISENGAGEMENT PART 2
What is the actual conclusion from the attack on Bennett and his clearly morally superior statement? It’s not inconceivable that Netanyahu has his own big plan, following in Ariel Sharon’s footsteps, to execute yet another disengagement, this time in Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu has already made clear that this would be his final term in office, and therefore he intends to permit himself moves that have not been tried in the past. If he’s looking at Disengagement Part 2, he would obviously not rely on Bennett, but would include, instead, Shelly Yachimovich and the conscientious objectors to IDF service on her list, Meirav Michaeli (5th), Yossi Yona (20th) and other leftists; as well as Mrs, Clean, Tzipi Livni, who has in her number 2 spot the most senior conscientious objector in IDF history, retired Brigadier General Amram Mitzna, who, in the middle of the battle on Beirut refused a direct order to enter the Lebanese terror capital; and, of course, rising start Yair Lapid.
In such a case, Jewish Home will stay in the opposition. But it’s still better to have an opposition Jewish Home faction with 15 seats that matters, over the 3 member faction inside the former coalition government—with the Science and Space portfolio—that mattered to no one.
At this stage of the race to the Knesset, as the Jewish Home’s strength is only increasing, and while the threat of a Bibi-Shelly-Tzipi-Yair government is in the air, let us remember that not one democratic government in the world has expelled Jews forcibly in the last 68 years, except for the Sharon, Olmert and Netanyahu governments.
At this day, there’s nobody here but us, Bennetts.
About the Author: Born in Tel Aviv in 1943. Graduated Bar Ilan University (Political Science and History) and Haifa University (Political Science). Chaired the Maariv political desk for 24 years. Married with children and grandchildren. Living in Raanana.
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