Reprinted from Gush Shalom
RIGHT AFTER the foundation of Israel, God appeared to David Ben-Gurion and told him: "You have done good by my people. Utter a wish and I shall grant it!"
"I wish that Israel shall be Jewish, democratic and encompass all the country between the Mediterranean and the Jordan," Ben-Gurion replied.
"That is too much even for me!" God exclaimed. "But I will grant you two of the three. You can choose between a Jewish and democratic Israel in a part of the country, a democratic state in all of the country that will not be Jewish or a Jewish Israel in all of the country that will not be democratic."
God has not changed his mind.
WHILE I am writing this, Binyamin Netanyahu is totally absorbed in enacting a new law, a law that would be a watershed in the history of Israel. The public looks on in a bemused way, as if it were happening in Kamchatka.
This law would (I might say "will") enable 90 of the 120 Knesset members to evict any or all the other members from the Knesset altogether. The grounds for such a decision are nebulous: supporting "terrorism" -- by speech as well as by deed, denying the Jewish character of the state, and such.
Who decides? The majority, of course.
The immediate impetus for proposing this bill was provided by the three Arab Knesset members who visited the parents of Arab "terrorists" in annexed East Jerusalem. I have already mentioned this in my last article. They had a good pretext -- to help them to obtain the bodies of their sons, who had been shot dead on the spot. But the obvious reason was to pay their condolences.
Now, it may be argued that a bereaved mother is a bereaved mother, irrespective of the cause of her son's death, and that to offer condolences is a human virtue. But that may be too humanistic for Likud members.
In the good old times, when we were the "terrorists" and the British were the occupiers, I would certainly have paid my condolences to a neighbor whose son had been shot during an Irgun raid. I don't think the British would have arrested me for that.
By law, Knesset members are immune from prosecution for any act committed in the line of their duties. For Knesset members to visit their voters in such circumstances may be such an act. Therefore, a new law is necessary.
And what a law!
"IMAGINE SUCH a thing happening in England or the US," Netanyahu thundered, "an MP or congressman supporting terrorists!"
"Imagine such a thing happening in Britain or the US," I would reply, "a law allowing three quarters of Parliament or Congress to evict the others!"
Netanyahu was brought up in the US. He most surely has been taught there that democracy does not mean only the rule of the majority. Adolf Hitler was probably supported by the majority. Democracy means that the majority respects the rights of minorities. Including the right of free speech.