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A Wake-Up Call for All of Us

There wasn’t a single democracy defender who wasn’t appalled by the unprecedented images emerging from Capitol Hill in Washington. Immediately after the event, many were horrified and began questioning whether similar events could happen here, in Israel. The left immediately identified the potential culprits: Netanyahu’s supporters. I would like to, instead, offer a few different implications for the Israeli case. First, in Israel, those who refuse to accept the election outcomes — the very ones that gave Netanyahu the right to form a government — are those on the left. Instead of accepting the fact that the people voted for Bibi, these so-called defenders of human rights have turned to the courts with the hope of voiding the election outcomes. Second, violent protests must be condemned, no matter which side of the political map they come from. Unfortunately, in Israel, those protesting outside the Prime Minister’s Residence each and every week, threatening to break in and forcefully remove Netanyahu from power, are the leftists. Third, words matter. As the events in Washington DC teach us, the slogans chanted by the masses can inspire action. Therefore, even if they disagree with the prime minister, Netanyahu’s political opponents must cease to describe him in such vulgar terms as “traitor” and “crook.” Finally, we cannot silence dissenting voices. Whenever a large public demands greater accountability and transparency, authorities cannot respond by promising to “look into things.” If a large portion of the Israeli right believes that Netanyahu has not received fair treatment by the judiciary, then those allegations must be looked into; not silenced. The events in Washington DC should be a wake-up call for all of us here in Israel, and not necessarily in the way that the left is proudly claiming. – Ariel Kelner, member of the Israeli parliament from the Likud Party (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)