The Oslo Accords and the process that followed them were, above all, a case of moral bankruptcy. The left’s yearning for peace legitimized inexplicable lies and voter deception that led to bloodshed and political corruption never before seen in Israel.
After moving from Syria, Rabin sought peace with the PLO and Yasser Arafat, a ruthless terrorist organization and its arch-terrorist leader with whom Rabin had vowed never to recognize or negotiate with him during his election campaign.
When the opposition and religious protesters called foul play, Rabin described them as “enemies of peace” and no more than “propellants” blowing wind in the face of that precious peace.
Following the signing of the accords in 1993, as the Israeli withdrawals progressed, the lies and institutionalized incitement against the protesters were internalized and rationalized by the media, academia and the leftist elite. Rabin received international accolades and the Nobel Peace Prize, while 1,500 civilian deaths caused by Palestinian terror were labeled the “price of peace.”
Netanyahu and the religious right were blamed for the failures of Oslo, and even for the murder of Rabin. But it was the blown up buses that ultimately derailed the corrupt political process. A morally broken process from the start.
On the eve of the recent elections, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett declared that it is not democratic to appoint a prime minister with 10 seats in the Knesset. He also signed a “binding” document on national television that “under no circumstances would he sit in a government with Ra’am or Meretz because they are anti-Zionists and post-Zionists,” adding that “under no circumstances would he form a government with Yair Lapid as Prime Minister, in rotation or in any other format. ” Now we know that that is exactly what Bennett planned all along and that is what he finally did when the opportunity presented itself.
To add to this surreal situation, and despite having promised before the elections that they would refrain from doing so, the government is now legislating a bill that would, in effect, prevent the head of the opposition and the leader of the larger party in parliament to run for elections.
This would have seemed like science fiction before the election.
In the few months since its establishment, this government has accepted the inevitability of an Iranian nuclear deal and brought the process of Palestinian statehood back to center stage, with top ministers visiting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, despite his unwavering insistence on paying off the terrorists. who killed Israeli civilians.
The United States has stated that it will open a Palestinian consulate in Israel’s capital and that it does not rule out Jerusalem being the capital of the Palestinians. MK Ahmad Tibi, who has expressed avid sympathy for Palestinian terrorism, has celebrated the Bennett government as “the first Israeli-Palestinian government in history” and cast doubt on the legitimacy of Israel being defined as a Jewish state.
Yet many on the religious right are still in love with Israel’s first religious prime minister, who, ironically, would not wear a yarmulke if Rabin had not been assassinated. Bennett wore a kippah again, he said recently, as a sign of solidarity against the vicious attacks on religious Zionists after the ill-fated November night of 1995.
Many on the religious right have become convinced of the merits of government and the importance of having a prime minister who wears tefillin almost every morning (especially when taking pictures) and observes Shabbat. Everything else has become secondary. They “hope for the best” and are “optimistic” about the government’s ability to do “good things.” Even Bennett’s chaotically mismanaged COVID crisis, which culminated in the unnecessary loss of more than 1,500 lives, is now being described by mainstream media and a prominent religious journalist as a huge success.
A prime minister in a kippah could be significant precedence, but the Bennett-Lapid government is also the first government in Israel with key members who oppose basic Zionist concepts, including the designation of Israel as the Jewish state.
This government is the most damaging development for Zionism since Oslo, perhaps the most. The religious right should unequivocally oppose Bennett and his morally bankrupt government.
The writer is the author, most recently of Targeted Killings, Law and Counter-Terrorism Effectiveness, a researcher at the International Counterterrorism Institute, and founder of Acumen Risk Ltd.