Through the years, Israeli politicians have claimed to rule over "The only democracy in the Middle East." They also enjoy strong economic support from the Jewish world by calling Israel "The Jewish State." But how democratic and how Jewish Israel really is? A debate has developed in Israel: Leftists say being a democracy is more important than being a Jewish state, while religious politicians say Jewish values are above any democratic principles. Is there a contradiction between being both a democracy and a Jewish state?
To answer this question, the American democratic model must be compared to the Israeli version of democracy. In the USA the people can choose their representatives in government without any restrictions imposed on the challengers of the existing regime. The executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are clearly separated. Individual rights, including Freedom of Speech, are protected by the American Constitution. In Israel all these basic democratic ingredients appear to be missing.
Avigdor Lieberman, former director-general of the Prime Minister's Office and head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, said in 1999:
"For five decades, Israel has been ruled by a social oligarchy, a classic "old-boys network" that controls most of the country's levers of power. Anyone seen posing a danger to its grip on the nation's institutions is immediately singled out and tarred as "a threat to democracy."
"Mounting dissatisfaction with the structure and performance of Israeli democracy has led me to speak out in an effort to shake up the system. I am tired of seeing Israel, a country with so much potential, continue to suffer under the burden of a bloated bureaucracy and a dysfunctional parliamentary system. Radical structural reform is urgently needed to repair the state's institutions. This is why I am proposing two majors reforms to our system - a separation of powers and the passage of a constitution."
"First, we need a presidential-style system. There must be a clear, well-defined separation of power between the executive and the legislative branches of our government. Knesset members must not be allowed to serve as ministers. Such an arrangement will free the executive branch from falling prey to the whims of coalition politics, and it will enable the prime minister to focus his attention on running the country. Professional merit, not parliamentary mandates, can then serve as the basis for selecting ministers, who will be more accountable for their successes or failures on the job."
"Second, we must pass a constitution. For a society to function, it must have ground rules. A democracy with no constitution is akin to a religion with no holy book. A constitution defines the basic rules of a society in the political and social spheres and spells out the nature of the relationship between those who govern and those who are governed. Every great Western democracy has a constitution to which it can refer. The time has come for Israel to have one as well."
"Such reforms, if implemented, will inject some order into our chaotic system. The task of the next Knesset will be to give the power back to the people, for that is what democracy is truly meant to be."
The above comments give a clear picture of democracy in Israel, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Israeli elections are clouded by wide-spread election fraud, bribes and political deals, against the will of the people. The same politicians running the show, are also not interested in creating a Jewish state, but the opposite. To vanish Judaism and create Israelism. The result can readily be seen in the total failure of the values taught by the secular Israeli educational system, which is also in need of urgent reform.
Rabbis in JailAnother interesting Israeli phenomenon is the readiness of the government to send Rabbis to prison. Usually their crime is to have spoken in defence of the Jewish Nation. Some Israeli politicians believe that to keep a grip over the Jewish state, it's imperative to shut the mouths of Jewish Rabbis. Here are a few examples of freedom of speech in Israel:
Rabbi Uzi Meshulam was sent to jail several years for the crime of investigating the disapearance of Yemenite children in Israel. Rabbi Moshe Levinger was sent to jail several times for the crime of settling the Jewish city of Hebron. After Rabin's assasination, several Rabbis country wide were arrested, among them, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg. Shimon Peres ordered the arrest of this quiet and peace loving Rabbi for the crime of being the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Od-Yosef Chai in Shechem, and the Rosh Kollel in the Jericho Sinagogue.
Since the founding of the Jewish state, the government has used several tactics to silence Jewish Rabbis. First come the bribes, money for your schools, Yeshivot, and bank accounts, in exchange for your political support. Then come the threats, good health for your family in exchange for avoiding certain topics of discussion. Next comes the strategy of sending rebel Rabbis, who cannot be bought or scared, to jail. Many Rabbis have been silenced this way in the Jewish state.
Probably the most famous case is that of Rabbi Meir Kahane ZT"L. Rabbi Kahane was sent to jail several times. Not only would he refuse to shut up, but he was elected to Knesset in 1984 as a representative of the Kach party, which he founded. In 1988 polls showed his increasing popularity for the coming elections. His Kach party was expected to receive over 10% of the votes, becoming the third largest Israeli political party. Some experts predicted he could even receive over 20% of the popular vote.
Afraid of this challenge, the Israeli establishment decided to ban the Kach party, denying to at least 10% of the Israeli public the right to vote for their chosen candidate. Labor, Likud, and almost all other parties united to expell Kach from the Knesset. The only parties that voted in favor of keeping Kach in the government were the religious parties. Later, a Rabbi in one of these parties explained why: "It's nice to see a Rabbi who is not afraid to speak the truth. He could not be bought and was only afraid of G-d. He is an exemplary man, and I hold the deepest admiration for him. Everything Rabbi Kahane said was based in the Torah. I cannot vote against him, because I cannot vote against the Torah."
Rabbi Meir Kahane was murdered in 1990, some people have blamed the Israeli leftists for his death. Kahane's son, Rabbi Binyamin Kahane, founded the Kahane Chai party to participate in the 1992 Israeli elections. Both the Kach party and the Kahane Chai party were denied their democratic right to run for Knesset in 1992 and all elections afterwards. In 2000, Rabbi Binyamin Kahane was murdered, some people also suspect the involvement of leftists in this cold blooded murder. With this tragic and shameful chapter in Israeli history, Israeli politicians showed the world how much they love democracy and how much of a Jewish state they want to have.
Controlled MediaThe great injustice commited against Rabbi Meir Kahane brought to light two additional problems reflecting the lack of democracy in Israel, as well as a threat to the continued existence of the Jewish State. The first problem is the total control of the media in Israel by the leftists, who use it to promote their sick ideologies. Leftists control radio and TV news broadcasts promoting among other things, hatred towards Jewish values.
A good example of false and negative media reports, such as those applied by the leftist controlled media in Israel, is a story published by the Associated Press on September 29, 2000. Apparently, AP wanted to portray Israel in a negative light in a story about the Arab Riots of Rosh Hashana. They showed a picture of an Israeli policeman, baton raised, standing over a young man brutally bloodied. The caption read: "An Israeli policeman and a Palestinian on the Temple Mount." But the victim here was not Palestinian and the angry Israeli had not beaten him. The policeman was, in fact, protecting Tuvia Grossman, a Jewish-American student who had just been assaulted by an Arab mob. Arabs had stoned the taxi where he and other students were traveling. The Arabs dragged Tuvia out of the taxi to beat and stab him, with the intention of killing him. Tuvia broke free from his assailants and fled toward the Israeli policeman, who saved Tuvia's life.
Foreign reporters in Israel usually arrive here neutral, but shortly afterwards they start sending negative and false reports about Israel to their news agencies. Several of these reporters have said that their views are affected by the Israeli media. They say news reports written by Israeli reporters and printed in the mainstream Israeli media are more anti-Israel than anything they write. Regretfully, this claim appears to be correct.
One of the major news agencies that reports the truth in Israel is the Arutz-7 news service. They are constantly being harrased by an Israeli establishment who wants to prevent the Israeli public from hearing the truth. Arutz-7 staff have been repeatedly arrested, and their transmission equipment has been confiscated several times. A true democracy requires freedom of communication. Israel must allow non-government controlled stations to transmit news reports, and Jewish content. Israel must allow radio and TV stations to buy licenses so they can transmit their information in a democratic and legal manner.
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