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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
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Bad Boy

"My engagement in medicine has taught me that in order to heal one must come in contact with the most repulsive things you can imagine."
Power for Israel leader Aryeh Eldad.

Power for Israel leader Aryeh Eldad.
Photo Credit: Yori Yanover / JewishPress.com

“The third most important issue is the disloyalty of Israeli Arabs. And here we’ve had a longtime neglect on the part of Israeli governments on the right and on the left, which have been ignoring the extremist expressions of Israeli Arabs.”

A couple of days before our interview, only a few blocks from his office building, an Arab from the Israeli village of Taiba hid a bomb onboard a bus that blew up, injuring many.

“This was a quick response to the Israeli weakness in operation Pillar of Defense,” Eldad argues. “They understood that Israel is making threats but not acting on them. Israel says it would put boots on the ground, enlists 70 thousand reservists, but does not take a decisive step against Hamas. Weakness in the Middle east is like an injured swimmer bleeding out in a sea full of sharks. That shark that blew up the bus arrived there because he smelled the blood in the water, he identified the weakness. In the Middle East, to show weakness is to invite an Intifada, invite attacks, invite terror.”

So, does he want Israeli Arabs to sing Hatikva and swear allegiance to the Jewish state?

“Why not? It’s a minimal expectation of every citizen. And if they don’t like it, let them move to a state with a nicer flag, and let them sing ‘Biladi Biladi’ there until tomorrow (Bilady, Bilady, Bilady, ‘My homeland, my homeland, my homeland,’ is the Palestinian national anthem.).”

Israel was rocked for one news cycle last year, when Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran stood up for the national anthem but did not sing the words. MK Michael Ben-Ari proposed a bill that would require sitting Supreme Court judges to have previously served in the IDF (Joubran, being Arab, was exempt from IDF service), but the bill was rejected.

“We will initiate legislation in the next Knesset, establishing the principle that without duties there are no rights”, Eldad promises. “If a person does not fulfill his duty to be loyal to his country, he will not be entitled to rights.

“We came up with a campaign that picked a few basic words which we suggested it was appropriate for Israeli Arabs to be familiar with, so we wrote them down in Arabic. We talked about loyalty, taxes, permitted highway speeds, traffic laws – things which, sadly, are not accepted by many Arabs as compulsory for every citizen.

“There are 60 thousand illegal structures belonging to Arabs in the Negev, Galilee and Jerusalem. The state of Israel systematically ignores them. The state ignores its own laws. So citizens see there’s no law enforcement, they figure it’s OK to break the law.”

What about the fact that many of the things Power for Israel proposes will inevitably bring on the hostility of Europe and the U.S. How can they shield Israel’s economy from those repercussions?

“It’s impossible to be completely independent in a global economy,” says Eldad. “But anyone who threatens that Israel won’t be able to sell goods, mostly wants to scare us and isn’t presenting true data. Let me give you an example: Israel’s relationship with Turkey is at an unprecedented low. Yet our trade with Turkey stands at $4 billion annually. Meaning, people buy where it pays. They don’t buy from us chips or fruits or knowledge because we’re Jews or because we’re nice to the Arabs.

“There’s a boycott on Israeli goods which affects the fringes. They boycott the settlements, they boycott because we’re Jewish, they boycott because they’re anti-Semites, they boycott because we’re bombing in Gaza, but in the end, they trade with Israel because it pays to buy from us and sell to us.

“If Turkey, whose leadership hates us bitterly, and wants to see us on our knees, has a flourishing trade with us, that should teach us that we shouldn’t let anyone frighten us with such threats. It is conceivable that some day Israel will be in a catastrophic economic situation – but it won’t be because of its foreign policy.”

I ask him about a list of topics that one expects to find on any party platform. Eldad is not fazed.

“Our platform includes ten skeletal points,” he says. “My experience of the last three election campaigns has been that no one really reads those party platforms. We could, of course, present ourselves as potential prime ministers, and state our position on Chemicals for Israel which is digging up the Dead Sea and should, in my opinion, pay higher residuals to the state. And I could add my participation in the committee that dealt with residuals from Israel’s natural gas deposits.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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10 Responses to “Bad Boy”

  1. Alexis Worlock says:

    Great article. One edit: you meant to write "teetering", not "tittering".

  2. Alexis Worlock says:

    You've been in Israel long enough that you now hear English in your head in an Israeli accent. :)

  3. Liad Bar-el says:

    Informative and inspiring article Yori. For such a good article, the title does not do it justice for it is misleading and of poor choice. Even though they may be in humor, there are far too many people reading the Jewish Press with weak English that they will take your words seriously; then, the sin is on your head. Not worth it, IMO. Aryeh Eldad is one of the very few in the Israeli government who is very straight forward and that speaks the truth without a forked tongue. He has never minced words and nobody should mince words with him. The more I learn about Aryeh Eldad, the more I like. Thank you for this article.

  4. Hadar Israel says:

    In Hebrew Arieh Eldad can be called, among the rest of politicians and Knesset Members, without fear of being wrong or excessive, צדיק בסדם, that is a "righteous in Sodom".

  5. Elisheva Barre says:

    This Arab "loyalty" is a double edged sword that could easily turn against Israel.
    So they WILL serve in the army and pay duties and get all the privileges of Jewish citizens including being appointed chief judges and PM – that is if they keep Palestine (as it is to them) democratic and not turn it into an Islamabad…
    Because Ben Ari and Eldad will not stir the pot too much – let alone BREAK IT.
    The change will come from elsewhere.

  6. Felecia Rosenberg says:

    Eldad says: “There’s this ancient Jewish yearning to redeem humanity. I don’t share it. " Who else sees this as problematic? This isn't a cat we want to let out of the bag.

  7. This is a problem. I certainly don't mean in terms of some simplistic liberal idea of a large dissipation of limited national financial resources on a world where there are a lot of larger, wealthier, more secure countries, well able to do so. But in terms of caring, of wanting to see the world better, and wanting to be a role model, a true Jewish and Israeli unity — not just for mutual self-protection, but in mutual concern and responsibility even were there no external threat — this is our entire national raison d'etre from time immemorial!

    Our calling is to be a Light onto the nations, not merely "a nation." And when we insist that we are "just another nation" is all we are, then even as fallacious a national entity as "Palestine" — whose name can't even be pronounced in its national language (no P-sound in Arabic) — is brought into existence and granted the Chutzpah to call Israel illegitimate.

    Devorim 32:21 — "They provoked Me with a non-god, angered Me with their vanities; so I shall provoke them with a non-people, with a vile nation shall I anger them." There is no greater provocation of the G-d who is One, than with the no-god of disunity. If we do not rise above, we will be pushed under. "Normal" has never been, and never will be, an option for Jews or Israel.

  8. Felecia Rosenberg says:

    WOW! consider the implications Israel ——
    Mr. Ponderer writes: "Our calling is to be a Light onto the nations, not merely "a nation." And when we insist that we are "just another nation" is all we are . . .

  9. RabbiRachamim Pauli says:

    My wife was the Yaffo Arab Mr. Taya as in Tayadent who was going for his PhD in Biology-Medicine. He loves Eretz Yisrael on the Muslim Bro grill.

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