Finally, Israel gets an Israeli government

"Some of these people sitting here see the Temple Mount as the major issue of Israel. What will happen if they decide to go and visit the Temple mount?"

Finally, Israel gets an Israeli government
The 37th Israeli government (picture: Israeli flag over screenshot from i24 news)

Finally, Israel gets an Israeli government, rather than a caretaker Palestinian one. With the swearing in of each Israeli government, the pundits' first concern is always, "What does this mean for the Palestinians?" With this, the 37th Knesset, that question has been reverberating against the walls of Jerusalem and bouncing around the globe, raising voices, heart-rates and Hell. "Far-Right!" screams one aficionado, "Extremist!" screams another, "a descent into authoritarianism" opine the pseudo-profound. What should warrant such dire warnings? Wait for it... the presence in the Israeli government of religious Jews. Let me go over that slowly:

In the Jewish State of Israel, the Jews finally managed to choose their leader by such an overwhelming majority that no amount of gerrymandering, Supreme Court shenanigans, sleeping with the enemy, or even last-minute sedition, not to mention outright insurrection, can prevent their choice from taking power. No sooner are the election results known than the ultimatums start flying thick and fast. One country demands that unless the Israeli government-elect implements their foreign policy, they will have nothing to do with that government. Others, the media in particular, demand that unless the new government marginalises certain of its own specifically-named members, it shall be boycotted and condemned. The chattering classes of Tel-Aviv are most vexed over the tsunami of discrimination about to be visited upon "the Arabs"—STOP! Let's take this calmly, shall we?

This is an Israeli government, not in exile, but physically present in the country that it has just been elected to govern. It has been elected to govern Israelis, not "Palestinians." All the angst and anguish over what it all means for the Palestinians are misplaced. Such enquiries should be directed at the government elected to govern the Palestinians. They do have elections, don't they?

Journalist Daniel Ben Shimon saw the new government holding its first meeting and mused, "Some of these people sitting here see the Temple Mount as the major issue of Israel," and wonders, "What will happen if they decide to go and visit the Temple mount?" If I may hazard an answer, they will go and visit the Temple mount.

Any Israeli government that refrains from visiting the holiest site in Judaism, right at the heart of the supposed "eternal capital of the Jewish people" is little more than a Palestinian caretaker government, and to prevent Jews from praying at their holiest site, by force, to boot, is to serve as an arm of the Jordanian police enforcing the so-called waqf. Such a government's priority is not Jews, but Muslims; not Judaism, but Islam. There is a word for that, it's dhimmitude. There, I said it.

There was much smugness and self-righteous satisfaction at the inclusion in the previous Israeli government of a self-declared "religious Palestinian Muslim Arab." Yes, that's right. This Muslim Brotherhood member described himself that way from the podium of the Knesset on Yom HaShoah. This was before he was invited to join the last government. What do religious Palestinian Muslim Arabs stand for? I could just say, they want nothing less than the destruction of Israel and the complete annihilation of the Jews, and leave it at that. Or I could add that democracy is an affront to them. I could mention that they aspire to impose Shari'a on all the world. I could go on and create a very long list of the most barbaric iniquities imaginable, and it will all be straight from their holy texts. Yet neither this man, nor any other member of his party or list in the Knesset, has ever been challenged to explain their adherence to the notorious genocide hadith:

The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.[1]

For some bizarre reason, the MKs who wish to destroy Israel and all the Jews in it have never been made to repudiate the genocide hadith as a minimum condition for setting foot in the Knesset, but a religious Jew joins the government of Israel and Jews everywhere lose their minds. "Our country is at great risk!"

"Next year in Jerusalem," we are told, was the hope that sustained the scattered, hunted exiles through their darkest, coldest, homeless centuries, chased hither and yon, forever hiding and lying low. Unimaginable sacrifices they made to return to their "ancestral homeland." What was it all for? What does praying "next year in Jerusalem" mean, if it doesn't mean praying on Har haBayīt?

So, the newly-sworn-in Israeli government has some religious Jews in its ranks, people who want to keep shabbat sacrosanct – a nuisance to people like me – and who have a real problem with gay people – a lot worse than a nuisance to people like me. Till now, without the religious in such a powerful position in government, marriage between gay people has been recognised, even if it could not be officiated in Israel. Today, with the new "extreme" government in place, that remains the case, except that from today, one such man, married to a man, is the new Speaker of the Knesset. Some religious MKs avert their gaze, but they've taken their seats and remain in those seats. They do not storm out. Israelis will work it out in their own way, in their own time.

Of course, there has been much unseemly haste to deny the new government any time at all, even before it was their time. The never-Bibi poison has a potency all of its own. Apparently, some woke gay people were "outraged" that Amir Ohana, the new Speaker, did not fly into his religious colleagues for their anti-gay stance. How Mr Ohana deals with his interactions with his colleagues is nobody's business but his own. Clearly, he knows the job he is there to do, and he knows the colleagues he is there to do it with. But that will not stop the petulant from throwing tantrums in Tel-Aviv traffic. Did somebody mention "descent into authoritarianism"?


  1. Sahih Muslim/Book 41/6985.