In his editorial comment in the Jerusalem Post on February 24th concerning the fact that after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was filmed shaking hands with and smiling at a Yesh Atid MK who
returned to the Knesset after recovering from an auto accident, Bibi was excoriated in the social media by members of his coalition partners for being friendly to the "enemy", Yaakov Katz, editor-in-chief of the newspaper, wrote "Have we lost our minds? Smiling is now a sin?"
It is tempting to simply answer "yes", and let it go at that. But I will resist temptation in this case. When President Herzog made a perfectly reasonable proposal that controversial legislation be paused
while the two sides attempted to reach compromises, both sides rejected the suggestion! Which was another indication that opposition leader Yair Lapid has lost his political smarts. Since it was obvious that the government would reject the offer, Lapid could have, and should have, accepted it, thus putting the governing coalition in a very bad light. Of course, he would still be prime minister if he had forced Meretz and Labor to merge for the election, as Bibi did with Smotrich and Ben Gvir.
All of which leads us to the conclusion that both sides in the current political and social crisis are to blame for the fact that the personal and group courtesies that enable society to function normally have almost disappeared. No-one discusses rationally and calmly any more--everyone curses everyone else, often in the vilest terms.
And even when civilized behavior emerges briefly, as with the encounter in the Knesset mentioned above, those who engage in it are condemned by their own supporters.
It is this, rather than any specific proposal by the government, that threatens the future of Israel, and if it is not promptly reversed,
the result will be dire indeed. "Senseless hatred" led to the destruction of the Second Temple and the eventual expulsion of the Jews from their homeland two millennia ago. Is it happening again?
Dr. Norman Bailey is professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. Dr. Bailey was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 26, 2023.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.