An Open Letter to Mr. Netanyahu

An Open Letter to Mr. Netanyahu

Ma’ariv, Israel, November 13

Hello, Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu. You don’t know me, but I’m a leftist. I spent my entire life working as an educator. We just concluded a difficult election campaign. The past few months were difficult months, which concluded with the Israeli Left suffering a stinging defeat. This defeat isn’t different from the one we experienced between 1967 and 1977, following the Six-Day War. The inability to think deeply about our situation and our future brought us to where we are. The old Labor party’s decision to leave the West Bank, which was home to millions of Palestinians, under Israeli rule was a sin that gradually came back to haunt us. Within this story, you had a central role; you were one of the sinners, both on a personal level and on a national level. You are responsible for the formation of two camps in Israeli society between which there is a deep schism. You and the Likud party won, as expected since 1967, when we decided to remain an occupying country. The long process came to its expected end. If it didn’t happen now, it would have happened following the next election. You received in your hands, as prime minister, a conflicted and wounded country, with many despairing people in its midst, who believe that it has reached the end of its journey. Many may seek to build their future away from here. You are a powerful leader of the camp that follows you through thick and thin, so a lot depends on you from now on. Part of the camp that you lead wants to establish a different Israel for us: a halachic state that operates according to the laws of the Torah and not on the basis of modern civil law. A country that discriminates between parts of the population. The question you will have to answer with your actions: Will you let the extreme parts of your camp take advantage of their great nationalist and religious power to make the country their own, or will you act to set up fences and boundaries? Will you know how to protect the only state of the Jewish people from destruction? True, there won’t be a civil war here, but there will still be a mass migration of men and women, who are productive members of our society and our economy, to foreign countries. Will you know how to protect the large minority before it slips through your fingers and disappears? Sadly, I doubt you will be able to do so within your evil coalition. You will be held captive by extremists that will control your personal and political destiny. You will have to navigate a crazy maze of politics with every single issue that comes up. But there is still one way to save our country and avoid its biggest crisis to date: Invite your political rivals to form a national unity government with you. It’s up to you, Mr. Netanyahu, to choose between leaving behind you a scorched earth, or saving the Zionist movement, in its present form, from utter ruin. Avraham Frank (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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