Is the Jewish Home moving to the center in a misguided quest to expand its voter base?
After the announcement of Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) that he would support the establishment of a seaport in the Hamas terror stronghold of Gaza, one has to wonder just which of his supporters he is trying to appease. Granted, the head of Jewish Home’s ostensibly more right-wing Tekuma faction did qualify his odd statement by asserting that such an obvious weapon-smuggling channel would have to be approved by the IDF. Unfortunately, this is no great comfort, given the far too numerous left-wing political positions staked out by some top IDF generals.
Most troubling, Ariel’s statement reveals a disturbing pattern of weak security-related positions taken by the Jewish Home leadership. After the controversial statement by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot that soldiers shouldn’t shoot teenagers attacking them with scissors, Party leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett defended Eisenkot on Channel 2’s Meet the Press program, commenting that Eisenkot merely had repeated the rules of engagement in stating that soldiers need to “strike those who endanger lives and not those who don’t endanger lives.” Even if that is true, is that really what Israelis long to hear from their leaders in a time of daily terror attacks, many carried out by teenage Muslim terrorists, sometimes using guns, but more frequently using knives, rocks, firebombs and yes, even sharp scissors that can inflict great injury or worse?
Why not just state the truth, which is that Israel’s security and political establishment is failing in its responsibility to restore safety to Israel’s citizens. Rather than defending those who affirm a flawed policy, why not state the truth, which is that the current attacks are so hard to stop because of the current rules of engagement that excessively protect enemy terrorists masquerading as civilians, while failing to protect Israeli civilians. Enough with this nonsense about the IDF being “the most moral army”.There is nothing moral about allowing Israeli citizens to be murdered and wounded with makeshift weapons. The Palestinian Authority leadership knows our “moral” weaknesses all too well, and, specifically for that reason, they are sending women and teenagers to launch the attacks with weapons that don’t have bullets.
The Jewish Home, as the leading right-wing party in the government, should understand this and should stop defending the rights of the enemy to attack Israelis with knives and scissors. Last but not least, allowing Hamas to build a seaport, obviously intended for weapons-smuggling, is a suicidal act that Jewish Home voters absolutely did not vote for.
Many right-wing voters supported Jewish Home so as not to split the nationalist voting bloc, but that support should not be taken for granted in a quest for centrist votes. It’s highly unlikely that Jewish Home supporters intended to vote for a Netanyahu-Ya’alon clone to apologize for Israel’s reputed audacity to fight back. Bennett and Ariel had better wake up, before they find their nationalist supporters looking for a further rightward alternative when elections draw closer.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News