Photo Credit: Uri Heitner's Facebook
Uri Heitner with his leader, Moshe Ya'alon, shortly after the establishment of Telem, March 5, 2019

“Bogie Ya’alon announced that he is ready for a minority government supported from the outside by the Joint anti-Israel Arab List, this is a violation of his promise to the voter,” Uri Heitner, one of the early supporters of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon when he established his Telem Party in January, 2019, posted on Facebook Thursday night.

Heitner’s credentials read like the epitome of a moderate Israeli: he is a publicist and an educator, senior researcher at the Shamir Institute for Research, member of Kibbutz Ortal also on the Golan, served a number of terms as secretary-general of his kibbutz, worked as youth guide, was the spokesman for the Golan communities, Director of the Golan Community Center network, and Director of the Yuvalim Center for Jewish Culture and Identity at Tel Hai College.


One couldn’t imagine a more attractive, clean cut profile of the sort of Israeli activists who decided it was time to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu and replace him with a better leader.

“Ahead of the elections for the 21st Knesset, I decided to join political life in Telem — a national movement, led by Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon,” he wrote in 2019. “I joined the Telem movement out of my concern for the future of Israeli society. Our society is splitting into two progressively extremist camps, to the point of tearing apart and hatred between them – the left and right camps. National solidarity is giving way to tribal solidarity, and even the solidarity of each camp with a global camp – the international right and international left, both of which include anti-Semitic elements. Each camp is dragged after its extremist base, and this trend, which I call “baseaucracy,” could lead to the collapse of Israeli society.”

Back in January 2019, Heitner suggested Ya’alon’s new movement offered a path that avoided the growing extremism in both camps: “I firmly believe in the Zionist golden path – in national pride that isn’t nationalistic, in total devotion to the substance and identity of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people; a democratic Jewish state that grants civil equality to all. I believe in deepening Zionist education and instilling the values of Zionism for future generations.”

Thursday night, Heitner wrote, Ya’alon had betrayed all of those values when he joined with his fellow leaders at Blue&White – Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Gabi Ashkenazi, to establish a minority government that would lean on the temporary support of two outsiders: Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu and the Joint Arab List.

“A government that would depend on the ill will of the List from the outside is even worse than having the Arab List as part of the coalition,” Heitner argued, “Because with them remaining on the outside, every legislation would entail coalition negotiations. It would be a government under permanent extortion, with Arafat’s consultant (Ahmad Tibi – DI) sticking his gun to its head.”

“This is not the Telem I joined as soon as Bogie retired from the government and the Knesset,” the disillusioned Heitner wrote. “I do not belong to this Telem.”

“I never was and will never be any leader’s blind supporter,” he continued. “When Rabin violated his commitment and negotiated a withdrawal from the Golan Heights, we told him that if we had to choose between our loyalty to him and our loyalty to the Golan, we chose the Golan.”

“Today, I tell Bogie Ya’alon that if I have to choose between my loyalty to him and my loyalty to our path, I remain loyal to the path. If Bogie veered from the path – I’m not with him. I hope that [rightwing Blue&White MKs] Yoaz Handel and Zvika Hauser frustrate this attempt (to join forces with the Arabs to unseat Bibi – DI),” he wrote.

Heitner concluded his post in parenthesis: (I wish Bogie would put out a release saying this is fake news. Nothing would make me happier than to have to delete this post. But from the inquiries I’ve made so far, it’s probably the truth).


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