Right vs Left – Democracy in Israel is Tested Too

  • The Eductaion Minister spoke out about what he believed in as an Orthodox Jew without considering that he might weaken Netanyahu in the future elections.
  • He called the wide assimilation of Jews in Israel, America and abroad a second holocaust. 
  • The local residents of Afula demanded from the mayor of the city to restrict the use of the park to residents only.  This would prevent Arabs from the neighboring villages from using the facilities.

Democracy which is enjoyed by America, Israeli and the free world continually faces conflicts between the two sides left and right.  Democracy gives the right of both sides to interact peacefully but there is always conflicts over political control.  After President Trump won the election he revealed himself as a conservative Republican.  Republicans are generally more conservative than Democrats who are more liberal. Republicans can be conservative or liberal republican and democrats can be more or less liberal.

Rafi Peretz is the new Minister of Education, appointed by Netanyahu. A former military officer who served as the Chief Military Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, he is currently leader of the Jewish Home party and a member of the Knesset for the United Right alliance.

America has no center party.  There are two major parties, Democrat and Republican. Israel on the other hand is a coalition government which has a place for the two sides right and left with the possibility of organizing a party in between. Trump is faced with opposition from both the Republican and Democratic side on some of his policies because he is a conservative Republican.  He feels he is right in what he is doing. He may be right but in a democracy the majority is heard.  Without the majority he is limited in what he can do.

Israel is faced with right and left conflict. Benjamin Netanyahu could not put together a government on the right side with Likud.  Elections are scheduled in September.  Two of the members in the government of Netanyahu, Minster of Education Naftoli Bennet and Minister of Justice Ayalet Shaked made their own parties in the new elections and failed to get even one mandate. Netanyahu replaced Bennet as Minister of Education with Rafi Peretz from the religious right party. Peretz spoke out about what he believed in as an Orthodox Jew without considering that he might weaken Netanyahu in the future elections.

Peretz wants to provide to gays therapy to heal or convert them from their desire to be gay through the Ministry of Education.  The gays resented being called sick and in need of help. The LGBTQ community demonstrated in Tel Aviv against him on this issue and called for Netanyahu to remove him from the position. Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that his statements are unacceptable and do not represent the government position.

Another remark which Peretz made was to compare the assimilation of Jews throughout the world with the holocaust.  He called the wide assimilation of Jews in Israel, America and abroad a second holocaust.  Orthodox Judaism has two sides, National and Universal.  The Universal side is almost completely convinced that assimilation (intermarriage) is considered the worst of all sins. Jews assimilate of their own free will. Many Jews feel that their own happiness is more important than their religion.  Jews who are assimilated are not being persecuted like being brought into a concentration camp against their will. Each Jew living in a free world has free choice to make his own priorities.

Arab citizens of Israel are Israeli citizens who are Arab. Many Arab citizens of Israel self-identify as Palestinian and commonly self-designate themselves as Palestinian citizens of Israel or Israeli Palestinians. By religious affiliation, most are Muslim, particularly of the Sunni branch of Islam.

After the nation of Israel was conquered by the Romans and the holy temple was destroyed, Jews lived in the diaspora amongst the other nations of the world.  World Peace today is as important as the survival of the Jewish nation. It is sad for Jews when members of their family intermarry but it their free choice.  Many Orthodox religious sects are only interested in the Judaism of their own children and do not worry about assimilation of Jews on the outside of their congregations.  In America and throughout the world the Lubavitch Orthodox Chassidic movement takes an interest in all Jews and works to help them maintain their connection to Judaism.

Netanyahu, even though he wants affiliation with the Orthodox Jewish parties, is not himself Orthodox.  He can wear sometimes a Yamulka (skull cap) out of respect. Netanyahu is still in government and his government includes the Orthodox religious parties.  The new elections in September will decide on how right or how left the government will go.  Trump is also facing opposition from liberal Democrats and even liberal Republicans on issues like abortion, and immigrant rights.

Another conflict Jews in Israel as a Democracy occurred this week in the city of Afula in the North.  The city of Afula is a Jewish city but there are Israeli Arab villages located in the vicinity.  A park and playground was erected in the city.  The park is gated with a security guard at the entrance. The local residents of Afula demanded from the mayor of the city to restrict the use of the park to residents only.  This would prevent Arabs from the neighboring villages from using the facilities.

The courts rejected the edict from the municipality prohibiting non-residents from entering the park on the grounds of racial discrimination. The courts ruled municipal property is public to all Arabs like all other Israelis. The residents fear the danger of an Arab terrorist entering the park which would be impossible to prevent if the park was actively being used by many Arabs even if there is a guard at the entrance. The people of Afula have accepted this court decision.  They have free choice to use these facilities or not to use them. Democracy does not allow discrimination of public property.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites.www.progressivejewishspirituality.net
http://www.worldunitypeace.org

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