It’s reasonable to assume that Avi Maoz will soon be sacrificed. That’s how Benjamin Netanyahu operates. A statement will be issued on Maoz’s behalf, saying he will forgo being put in charge of external programming for schools in order to prevent the extreme left from sabotaging the Jewish-ultranationalist government. By way of compensation, he will be given a seat on the Judicial Appointments Committee and some new agency for the reinforcement of the patriarchy and homophobia. We must not settle for this. The struggle now is not over keeping his far-right, fundamentalist Noam party at bay and continuing to hold Jerusalem’s annual pride parade. The struggle is for the state and its institutions, against which Netanyahu and the gangs that he commands have declared war. It seems that the state is beginning to fight back.
This isn’t “rebellion,” it is defensive democracy in action. The initial shock has worn off, together with – as expected – talk of emigration. Half of the country cannot simply leave in a single day, and there’s no reason why it should when it carries the main burden of taxes, manufacturing, the gross domestic product and military and civilian national service. The rushed and panicked complaint of “incitement” filed by Netanyahu’s top three lapdogs against Haaretz and journalist Raviv Drucker is mainly an indication of alarm and the desire to point to the usual enemies in order to obscure the true fault line: the uprising of the mayors.
Carmel Shama-Hacohen of Ramat Gan, Tzvika Brot of Bat Yam and Haim Bibas of Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut aren’t leftists, they’re Likudniks. But unlike the disconnected Netanyahu, they are very much in touch with their constituents (to generalize: urban, middle-class, secular-traditional). At the start of a municipal election year, they have no desire to subordinate their political futures and the lives of the residents of the cities they govern to the Haredi and Zionist Haredi fundamentalism to which Netanyahu has tied his fate.
The mayors who identify with the center-left certainly won’t do this. Increasing the powers of the local governments will in any case eventually lead to Israel’s voluntary disintegration into a confederative structure; there is no obvious way for Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Ramat Gan and Bnei Brak, to continue to exist under the same roof.
The attempt to label outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid a dangerous dissident in the wake of his call for mayors to resist changes that Maoz may introduce in their cities’ schools is ludicrous. Lapid represents the values of the center, the bourgeoisie, the consensus. This is not the soil from which regime opponents sprout. The men of the hour of the uprising come from the heart of the mainstream – the head of the Israel Bar Association, Avi Himi in his impressive and surprising “Hungary” speech, or Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and his designated successor, Herzl Halevi, whose fierce opposition to placing Border Police forces in the West Bank under Itamar Ben-Gvir and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories under Bezalel Smotrich in charge was widely published.
The next campaign of Bibis-im will be heresy in the IDF General Staff and the top ranks of the Israel Police. They will be presented as organizers of a military putsch in the elite ranks, who accrue giant pensions as they grow fat behind their plasma screens and stab combat soldiers and police officers in the back. The attempt will be to create a wedge between the disconnected generals and police chiefs on one side and the parents of “the children of us all” on the other, who battle terror in the West Bank and rampant crime in the Negev with their hands tied, while lawyers and left-wing activists annoy them. Ben-Gvir is already working on this full-time.
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Netanyahu, for the first time, is establishing a unity parity government with only the Haredim and the Zionist Haredim. The coalition agreements express total enslavement subjugation to the Jewish Brotherhood. The Haredim demanded – and received – more allowances and stipends, the abolition of the demand for core studies in their schools, full state funding for separatist education and a full exemption from military conscription. The Haredi Zionists demanded – and received – a private army in the West Bank, authority over the police on both sides of the Green Line and responsibility for managing the lives of the settlers and the Palestinians from within the Defense Ministry.
Netanyahu has sold them the state and the future of its citizens in order to carry out his plans to eradicate the justice system and the free media. This will not happen without a head-on collision – and that’s as it should be.