From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the amazing people who volunteered and, with a miniscule budget, operated Zehut’s spectacular campaign. You planted a new dream, a dream of liberty, in a new generation in Israel.
Much is yet to be written on what transpired in the 2019 elections. But what moved me more than anything else were the tens of Israelis who left Israel years ago but flew in specially to vote for Zehut. They left because of enslavement and they owed it to themselves to make the small effort that could have returned their country to them – and them to their country.
To where did the fighting spirit that generated such enthusiasm disappear? What happened to the polls that predicted eight seats for Zehut?
When I was asked during the campaign how such diverse elements could support Zehut, I explained that the unifying factor was an aspiration for liberty, the will to get the state out of our lives. But when Shas, Kulanu, and Agudah all announced that they would not join a coalition with Zehut, I understood my own message on a deeper level.
What on earth connects Shas, Kulanu, and Agudah? What is their common denominator against Zehut – a common denominator that is greater than the sectoral and ideological differences between them? And what is the connection between those three parties and the United Right and the Yesha rabbis who ran a hate campaign against Zehut (instead of against the New Right, which betrayed them)?
And what is the connection between all of them and Meretz, Ha’aretz, Rivkah Michaeli, Gilah Almagor, and the entire old-time, satiated Left that attacked Zehut as only the Left knows how to do? And what is the connection between all of them and the director of Israel’s National Insurance, who, with total disregard for the law, took the liberty of also attacking Zehut?
Of what were they all so afraid? What scared them more than any of the other parties and established institutions? Was Zehut espousing a racist ideology? Extreme nationalism? Zehut focused on the economy, education, separation of religion and state, and legalization of cannabis. You can agree or disagree with a plank in our platform, but the venomous campaign that combined all possible methods of fake news and de-legitimization from perhaps every institution and power hub in Israel had to have been motivated by a very deep reason.
The reason is this: Israeli society is built on a large number of sectors, tribes, ethnic subdivisions, and faiths. Every one of these sectors has its leaders, and every four years, the leaders incite their group against the other groups. Most campaigns are based on “It’s either us or them.”
When the election results come in, the spoils are divvied up. It is decided who will get what from the spoils of the public at large. By means of arousing hatred between the groups, the power of the established institutions is preserved. That is how it has been working for 70 years. Divide and conquer, divide and pillage.
Zehut came along and threatened the entire system. It said to the young charedi, “You don’t have to hate the secular and vote Agudah to get funding for your yeshivot. You’ll get a school voucher like every other citizen.” Zehut said to the secular young person, “You don’t have to hate the charedi and vote for Meretz to marry in Israel as you wish because we will be separating religion from state.”
To young couples, Zehut said, “You don’t have to hate the tycoon who sells you Israeli cottage cheese that is more expensive than exactly the same product in New York because the state will no longer be arranging protective tariffs. We will expose the tycoons to competition so that you will be able to pay the same price for your food products that Americans and Europeans pay.”
To the poor, Zehut said, “You don’t’ have to hate the National Insurance because, if you’d like, you can purchase the same insurance on the private market.” In field after field, Zehut eliminated the need to hate and fight one another.
But by removing the barriers of hatred, Zehut found itself threatened by all the parties and established institutions. Zehut threatened to change the system. That is why they all joined forces against us in a targeted campaign, which apparently succeeded in overturning and eroding our voter base.
But the message of liberty has already set out. An entire generation was exposed to it and we have no right to extinguish the flame. Baruch shehechiyanu v’kiymanu v’higianu lazman hazeh. Zehut will continue to herald the message of liberty to the Israeli public.
We respect all the new and old members of Knesset. But we do not see a message of change coming from them – not on the social front, not on the economic front, and certainly not on the security/diplomatic front. Our new leaders and MKs are clueless on how to deal with the main challenges facing Israel.
So you and I do not have the privilege of going home. We will be there for our nation and country so that when its consciousness ripens a bit more – just a drop more– Zehut will be there to present Am Yisrael with the freedom revolution. And Am Yisrael will reach out to embrace it.