The Doomsday Bearers of Black Flags 
An Israeli demonstrator waves the national flag plastered onto a black flag, during a demonstration outside Israel's Knesset in Jerusalem on April 30, 2020 to protest against corruption and the deal, struck between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and parliament speaker Benny Gantz to form a unity government. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

The Doomsday Bearers of Black Flags 

Ma’ariv, Israel, December 3

Since November 1, 2022, the color black is a sought-after commodity. Thankfully, there’s enough of it to satisfy the demand of the new opposition parties, the Israeli justice organizations, and the battery of radio and television pundits and hosts. Just last week, at the main entrance to Jerusalem, a huge billboard sponsored by the Civil Rights Association greeted drivers commuting to the city. As expected, it was entirely black, with the exception of a small sliver of light, alluding to the way in which the association would allegedly illuminate the “terrible” darkness that has fallen upon us with Netanyahu’s victory. We’re used to hearing bleak prophecies of varying degrees of severity before every election about what will happen if the Likud wins, and are aware of the exaggerations. But this time, the black-on-black hysteria came following the election. This is not a normal criticism of the new coalition being formed, but rather an unwillingness of some parts of the Israeli public to accept the voters’ decision. “The rule of the Ayatollahs,” “a death to democracy,” and “the rise of fascism” are just some of the prophecies we hear coming out of television news studios today. Numerous threats of civil riots and civil disobedience have been made. But the question is: civil riots against whom? Against citizens who democratically elected the government with a majority of votes? Of course, I forgot the words of the distinguished and learned Member of Knesset Ram Ben Barak, who drew a line between Netanyahu’s election and that of Adolf Hitler, who rose to power by so-called democratic means. Today, the cry of intimidation “Ben Gvir” has largely replaced the chant “Netanyahu is corrupt!” which was used by the Left up until recently. The latter has faded somewhat since the opening of Netanyahu’s trial, perhaps because the evidence presented in court so far has failed to live up to critics’ expectations. And so the cry “Ben Gvir” was born. Many good people believe, with an anxious heart, in the coming of fascism and the end of democracy. The fact that Itamar Ben-Gvir heads a party of six members in total, and in any case is unable to pass even one law by himself, doesn’t cross their minds. Ben-Gvir’s statements about changing his ways (which were never fascist) haven’t helped either. Indeed, many Israelis subscribe to this theory of the color black, and the hope of the Left is that these numbers will multiply and grow. But when it comes to the hopes and assessments of the Left, reality doesn’t usually meet their blind hopes. Not only will the new government make a mockery of their doomsday prophecies. The deafening screams, which will be heard in the “spontaneous” and well-funded demonstrations in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, on bridges across the country, and in the squares of Tel Aviv, with the multitude of black flags, also will do the job. With time, even the most innocent of these passionate flag-wavers will come to their senses and gain some, even if slight, level of understanding of their foolishness. – Ido Netanyahu, brother of Benjamin Netanyahu (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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