With the same breath that Israel’s Left promotes ‘democracy’ for Israel, it betrays democracy and threatens its survival. In case you have forgotten, democracy requires multiple basics, including—at its foundation--both an honest press and majority rule. One might well argue that the fastest way to destroy a democracy is through a dishonest press and leadership from self-appointed elite. History has taught us repeatedly that democracy can fall when the press is more propaganda than truth or when a minority assaults the voice of the majority; and democracy completely fails when the press suppresses truth and leadership rejects the will of the people. Such is the case today here, right now, in Israel. The greatest threat to Israel’s democracy is a Leftist call to defend a fictitious ‘democracy’ using a viciousness that is closer to religious hatred than democratic tolerance.
Recent statements of former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy illustrate this point. Halevy, in a speech to a reunion of military academy graduates, identified the haredi (ultra-religious Jews) as a greater threat to Israel than Iran. He seemed particularly angered that, among today’s religious in Israel, boys will not dance with girls and religious soldiers do not want to be required to listen to female singers. For some, it is laughable that anyone intelligent enough to become head of Mossad should believe that (non) dancing and (non) listening represent a greater threat to Israel’s survival than an Iranian nuclear weapon. But these remarks are serious because they reflect the mantra of Israel’s Left: (1) ‘democracy’ is synonymous with ‘no-religion’; and (2) ‘democracy’ must be protected by attacking or denigrating religion and the religious--which exactly what Halevy did. Haaretz, one of Israel’s leading newspapers, makes its living by defining religion as the nemesis of democracy. Indeed, as if to remind us of this connection, Halevy echoes a report (during the same week) that quotes Leftist journalist Gideon Levy declaring that religious Jews (he calls them ‘settlers’) have a mark of Cain on their foreheads—and we must stop them before they complete a ‘hostile takeover’; in the same week, Ilan Ben Zion wrote that the ‘mullahs [rabbis] of Mea Shearim’ aim to take over all of Israel (notice the denigrating references). The inference here is that the greatest threat to Israel’s democracy is the settler, the religious and the haredi. This is a truth for the Left because they define religion as fascism; and as Haaretz reminds us repeatedly, fascism is the enemy of democracy. Of course, what these comments actually mean is that the anti-religious Left is terrified that the religious could actually be serving in the IDF or attending Israel’s schools, participating successfully and competitively in a modern world even with strongly held religious beliefs. In America, these would be called inspiring examples of democracy’s freedom of religion. But in Israel it is called fascist and racist—and a threat to our survival that must be stopped. This is how the Left defends our ‘democracy’, by dismissing, demonizing or otherwise attacking the religious.
These attacks do not promote democracy. They promote instead an intolerance towards religion, which is a betrayal of democracy’s promise. When you read Haaretz on a regular basis, you learn that the Left believes that ‘democracy’ and religion are incompatible; therefore, the very existence of religion in Israel destroys (or threatens to destroy) our democracy. To an American raised on the notion that freedom of religion flourishes best in a democracy, this notion of an incompatibility between religion and democracy is a non-sequitor; but to the Israel Left, it is bedrock belief. This is why Halevy is so upset. His ‘democratic’ Israel is threatened by the religious just as our physical Israel is threatened by Iran—and the religious threat is indeed the greater of the two because the physical threat (Iran) can be dealt with (he knows this from Mossad); it’s the religious threat he cannot stop, and that’s why it is the greater threat.
What has changed for Israel today is that a high-ranking Israeli Leftist no longer gets a ‘pass’ when making public remarks that denigrate the religious in the name of a Leftist fiction called ‘democracy’. Today, despite his former rank, Halevy faces a significant backlash. He has been forced to apologize. He now backpedals, attempting to ‘spin’ his initial statement (he really didn’t mean to offend anyone; he wasn’t speaking out against any group; he was just speaking out against radicalization). We have seen such back-pedalling before (recall the recent case of Larry Derfner’s apology for justifying Arabs killing Jews). We are destined to see more.
There is a reason for this: the religious are no longer the silent target they had once been. It is not so easy today to attack religion. Look at the facts: a supermajority of Jews in Israel identify themselves with religion. The religious are a growing faction, not a shrinking one—and the Left knows this. The tragic irony for Israel is that so long as the Left treats the nation’s majority with such loathing, Israel’s democracy will suffocate. For any nation, democracy can never be protected when a powerful minority attacks the majority, calling that majority a greater threat than a sabre-rattling enemy. In fact, the cruel truth for Israel is unwittingly revealed by the Left’s behaviour: the fastest route to racism and fascism (what the Left says it fears)--and the quickest way to destroy this nation’s democracy-- is for the Leftist to be successful demonizing his own religion, his own people, his own historic culture and his nation’s majority. The formula for destroying democracy in Israel is therefore simple: remove Judaism, deny G-d and destroy the Jewish character of Israel. Interestingly enough, these are the goals of the Left. If Hamas and Fatah could vote in our next election, the Left would achieve its goals—and our democracy would evaporate.
History is a wonderful teacher—if we listen. History tells us that your enemy telegraphs his intentions with the language he uses to attack and demonize. The original blood libel against Jews in Europe, Hitler’s propaganda machine and regional Arab media illustrate this. The behaviour of the Left is no exception: they would use the name of democracy to destroy our democracy.