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The Inmates R Running the Asylum & Starting a War


How come, you may ask. Well… let me tell you: It is taking place as I write this in a very important, well-established institution in a country with a history going back to the beginning of time as we know it, and as we learn about it. The inmates who took control of this asylum—I’ll refer to them from now on as Camp A, a definition needed for the sake of explanation—decided that they don’t like some other inmates who are currently also institutionalized there, we’ll call them Camp B. They don’t like them for various reasons, mainly because they don’t like their skin-tone color, their religion, or their history of arrival at the asylum in the first place. Furthermore, Camp A insists that they were the first to be institutionalized in that asylum, so they have all the rights to govern it as they please.

For a while prior, things were relatively all right between these two camps, and were moving forward in the right direction due to leaders with progressive, forward-thinking ideas on how to manage the asylum. But then a group of zealots within Camp A decided to rebel against these leaders, since they didn’t like the way they were leading the institution, especially so because they felt themselves superior to the inmates of Camp B, insisting very fervently that their God is the only one there is. Unfortunately, other inmates in Camp A didn’t take that group seriously, and even used to ridicule them. As a result, they were able to act unimpededly. Their first act was ‘brilliant,’ and took the other people in their camp entirely by surprise. What they did was, they sent one of their most extreme, insane believers to infiltrate the sane people in their peace group gathering and, as they sang about peace and tranquility, he was able to shoot and kill their leader.

The sane inmates of Camp A were so traumatized by this assassination, were so heartbroken and upset that—you can’t blame them, really, or can you?—they were too numb and therefore unable to react properly to the threat that the extremists among them posed to the entire institution. To be fair to the sane people, one must admit, even admire to a degree their wish to concentrate on their work, families, education, and even high-tech endeavors for the benefit and prosperity of the whole asylum. Some of them were released or escaped the asylum altogether. At the same time, though, the zealots took control and put in charge a new leader for Camp A. They were so successful because they chose a leader who on the face of it was actually one of the sane people, in terms of his background and education. He had charisma in abundance and gave good speeches, so they chose him to replace the murdered leader.

Consequently, the insane inmates continued to multiply—it was part of their modus operandi, which they called Mitzva from ancient times—and they continued to take more and more control of the asylum’s day-to-day operations, and deprive the citizens of Camp B of more and more of their rights and property. While they were doing all that, the sane people in their camp were mostly apathetic, or simply continued with their daily lives. Of course, because they made more money in the asylum various professions and businesses they were supporting and financing the insane people of their camp, who continue to just study and preach about their God, and prepare for war. They knew that war was coming because that was their raison d’etre—i.e. to deprive and throw out all the inmates of Camp B who didn’t believe in their God Almighty, and to prevent others from realizing what in fact they were doing. Indeed, the sane people in their camp didn’t realize that a war was coming and therefore were unprepared for it when it arrived.

But now it has arrived. And while within Camp A the insane people are not that many in numbers more than the sane people, because of their understanding of ‘realpolitik’ and their preparation for war, they are able to institute new laws which basically mandate that everything that their leader and his ministers choose to do, it automatically becomes the law of the land. I mean the asylum, of course. Needless to say, the sane people don’t like it, not at all, and try hard to rebel against it but it’s too late. Too much power is secured now in the hands of the insane inmates, and they can subdue, imprison—even kill, when they see fit—or expel from the asylum all those sensible people in Camp A who are rebelling against them.

So now, with all the power in their hands, they’re instituting an autocratic regime, their leader is becoming a dictator, and they’re capturing easily every aspect of the asylum lives. With the place under their control, with their God being declared the only one, they turn their attention to their real enemy: Camp B. Ruthlessly, savagely, they’re either killing or expelling most of the people from Camp B. Those who remain are enslaved, and become servants of the ruling class of Camp A. For a short while, it seems, all is going well with these insane inmates controlling and running the asylum. But then one day…

I woke up.

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Low Expectations; High Stakes


On November first, the citizens of Israel will go to the polls to choose their members of the Knesset, and by extension the next government. The expectations are low, and turn out not expected to be high, because these will be the fifth such elections in the country in less than four years. The previous four cycles of elections produced no clear winner, but two so-called unity governments that didn’t last long. Expectations are low, as well, since all the polls—which were pretty accurate last time—predict a stalemate again.

But the stakes are high, and not due to any external enemies of the state, even taking into considerations Hamas in the south, Hezbollah in the north, and Iran in the east. It looks now as if Israel was successful (I thought they would be)—together with Iran’s leadership, one must admit—in curtailing the chances, limited as they were, of achieving a nuclear agreement. Not that I see Iran’s nuclear threat as an existential threat to the state of Israel. Rather, it helps all its governments to deflect other issues and pressures, mainly the need to solve, once and for all, the conflict with the Palestinians.

As long as we’re at it, a word about it. To his credit, the caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who’s doing a relatively good job in his limited time in power, had mentioned recently in the General Assembly of the United Nations the need to solve the conflict on the basis of the old two-state solution idea. That statement created a short-lived firestorm back home in Israel, and favorable responses here in America. A major new candidate for the next Knesset, an admired former IDF chief of staff,  Gadi Eisenkot, who joined Benny Gantz’s party, had also voiced the need to solve the Palestinian conflict along the lines of the two-state solution. However, there’s no chance of it becoming a reality any time soon, if ever. I don’t see it being much discussed, even, in the next government and Knesset.

For that matter too, it’s worth mentioning here that what currently is happening in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, is akin to a low-simmering, semi-Intifada. On the one hand, young Palestinians, desperate of the oppression of the occupying Israeli army on the one hand, and the useless corrupt leadership of the Palestinian Authority on the other, are determined to resist and inflict some suicidal pain on the Israelis. Who, in turn, seem determined to kill as many young—and not so young—Palestinians as possible, daily and persistently, almost as if Israel has decided that this is the best way for it to eliminate, eventually, the Palestinian problem.

Of course, it will not. This brings me back to the ‘high stakes’ of the headline. Unfortunately, the high stakes have nothing to do with the possibility of solving the Palestinian conflict, or with any other threat facing Israel externally. But it is all internal. It is the threat to Israel as a democratic state. While it being a Jewish state is not, currently under threat; the Jewishness of its character, though, may overrun its democratic character and values. The chief instigator of this threat is none other than Benjamin Netanyahu. Yes, he, the longest serving Israeli Prime Minister, twelve years and counting, before this latest, short-lived attempt at a unity government. Since he, sometimes only his lawyers, appears almost daily in a Jerusalem court, fighting his indictment on charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust, determined to return to power and, Trump-like, put an end to the Israeli judiciary system and democracy as we know it.

It is not surprising to learn, therefore, that way back during the Obama administration, it had come to light lately that former president Obama characterized Netanyahu as an Orban-like leader. (See under Hungary.) And while right now, as mentioned above, the polls are indicating that no candidate will be able to form the next government, two things are still working in Netanyahu’s favor. One, his Likud party no doubt would come on top, as the largest party in the Knesset, based mainly on Netanyahu’s traditional stronghold on the large Mizrachi, Sephardic population of Israel, with other elements of society—American immigrants, Russians immigrants—helping his cause. But mostly, his chances are improving due to the emergence of a new party, and a new force in this elections cycle: Itamar Ben Gvir.

A far-right religious zealot, Ben Gvir is a disciple of “rabbi and former MK Meir Kahane, whose Kach party was banned and declared a terror group in both Israel and America,” (TOI). He previously was convicted on terror charges, and like his ‘prophet’ had espoused the idea of expelling all Arabs from the land of Israel. Though he’s now backtracking on that notion I, for one, do not believe him. Together with another extremist, Bezalel Smotrich’s, their Religious Zionist Party is projected now to be the third largest party in the next Knesset. This means that in order to form the new government, it would not only be Netanyahu’s natural partner—its anti-democratic tendencies align squarely with Netanyahu—but an absolute necessity for Netanyahu in order to form the next government.

No wonder some high-ranking US politicians—Senator Robert Menendez, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and California Congressman Brad Sherman—issued strong warnings already to Netanyahu regarding such an alliance with those far-right extremists, and the damage it may inflict on the US-Israel relationship. So that you’ll understand clearly what we’re talking about here, the favorite chant of their supporters is “death to the Arabs.” Such a probable outcome would not only endanger the Israeli democracy, as envisioned by Herzl and put into practice by Ben-Gurion and other leaders and generations, but would shred whatever credit Israel still possesses in terms of human rights, and regard to it as a peace-seeking nation around the world. It will undoubtedly add fuel to the fire of anti-Semitic rhetoric and threat, and thus, I’m sorry to say, endanger the lives of Jews worldwide, not the least here in America.

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