All Israel
Opinion Blog / Guest Columnist

Israel’s proposed reforms - normal or crazy?

Suppression of freedoms by coercion and force is not normal

Benjamin Netanyahu during a plenum session on forming the government, in the Israeli parliament, on December 29, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

One of the best polar opposites was used, this past week, by Arkansas governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in her response to the State of the Union speech given by the U.S. president. In her clever attempt to paint a stark contrast of the two political sides, despite each having representatives of both crazy and normal, Huckabee Sanders articulately revealed that “The emperor has no clothes.” 

For the past five to ten years, too many have walked on eggshells and taken great pains to make sure that all of the nutty lunacies, birthed by the so-called progressives and Woke, are not labeled as crazy. After all, some of their grandiose epiphanies have been the altruistic hopes of “saving the planet,” “preserving the environment,” “bringing about a more equitable society” and “rightly acknowledging our sins of the past.” So, who, among us, wants to be guilty of condemning such lofty aspirations?

It's been play the game or be called out as a bigot, racist or selfish consumer of treasured resources. But Huckabee Sanders, courageously, refused to play their game and, instead, called a spade a spade.

It is that act to which Jerusalem Post weekly columnist, Ruthie Blum refers, in her article entitled, What Israelis can learn from Sarah Huckabee, as she points out how Netanyahu government detractors are aligned with the likes of the radical-leftist NGO, New Israel Fund.

While she may be somewhat correct in expressing concerns over the fact that such a group may be supportive of bringing about chaos in the Jewish homeland, this is also not exactly a black and white issue. 

Blum points out that the claim of “diversity” amongst the opponents is viewed as a legitimization of a justified pushback, because so many groups, which ordinarily would not have joined forces, are now coming together as one voice. She also points out that among those opponents are Palestinian flag-wavers as well as others who may be seeking to destroy Israel’s democracy.

While I have no doubt about those things, likewise finding them worrisome, it is also clearly not a two-pronged choice.

Choice One: back the present government, acquiesce to a new ultra-Orthodox, state-run reality, accept reforms which pile on more power to the executive and legislative branches of the government, making it close to a dictatorship.

Choice Two: oppose the present government, protest loudly, align yourself with bad actors, perhaps even anarchists and anti-Zionists, all in an attempt to wreak chaos and unrest to the point of a civil war.

Some of us want normal, but surely not at the price of severely wounding our beloved country which serves as the only refuge for the Jewish people who have suffered throughout millennia just for being born into their tribe.

And what is normal? Normal is the desire to live freely while, at the same time, abide by reasonable laws which promote respect for authority and our fellow man. Normal is being able to live by one’s conscience and determine for ourselves the God we serve, the thoughts we hold and the ability to not be judged or sentenced for our personally-held convictions, whether or not they comport with the majority position.

Normal is not allowing any group, religious or non-religious, gay or straight to have dominance over another. It means that everyone is afforded the same consideration without extra compensation or accommodation. Parades for all or parades for none. And, in the words of Martin Luther King, it means being judged by the content of your character, which is generally a good reflection of whether or not you’re normal or crazy!

And what is crazy? Crazy is allowing a convicted criminal to take the reins of a country which has been called the home of the Chosen People. Crazy is ignoring the moral turpitude of the individual whose supporters believe he did nothing wrong, is their divine emissary and has the greatest of all wisdom given to men. Crazy is doing all that can be done to bypass the law of the land in order to manipulate the political outcome that is sought by unprincipled people who covet power.

Crazy is pretending that among a country, with a population of 9.5 million, that all are agreeable to one expression and one interpretation of religious observance as being the only legitimate one. Crazy is forgetting that pluralism is the hallmark of humanity and has been since the beginning of time. Remember the old adage, “Two Jews, three opinions.”

So how do we get to the place of “live and let live,” without exacting a painful and damaging civil war on a country that should be united, just by virtue of the fact that we exist to preserve our race? There obviously has to be an alternative, and here it is: 

Choice Three: Call out what is normal and what is crazy. It’s not difficult, because suppression of freedoms and rights is generally what should be seen as crazy. Coercion and force have never been normal. So figure out who is trying to grab power for the sake of controlling others, and call them out as crazy. 

Develop cogent, thoughtful and convincing arguments as to why each one of us was meant to live freely and according to our God-given conscience. Disseminate that message, because people are smart enough to consider and weigh sound thinking. Destruction of property, dangerous threats to individuals and alignment with anarchists, or those who don’t have Israel’s best interests at heart, is not an option, because their end game is not peace and tranquility. 

Find like-minded people who support freedom and pluralism but also love Israel and are committed to living together as one. Bring that positive message to our leaders, and let them know that anything else is settling for so much less than what we should accept.

But, perhaps, most important of all, is to do all of this with humility, respect and deference to the Creator, because, after all, no one knows better about how to restore sanity and normalcy to the land which He established and has preserved, despite all of our craziness in not acknowledging Him first and foremost as our Sovereign Master.

“If my people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

ALL ISRAEL NEWS is committed to fair and balanced coverage and analysis, and honored to publish a wide-range of opinions. That said, views expressed by guest columnists may not necessarily reflect the views of our staff.

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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