Protest Demonstrations: Strengthening Israel’s enemies!
by Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, General Secretary of the RCP
The massive increase in anti-government demonstrations that have occurred in the past few months can no longer be considered a legitimate exercise of the democratic right to protest. Demonstrations by citizens against what they perceive as injustices is a proper and basic right, so long as they are done honestly and in accordance with the law. This is not the current scenario, however. Not only are these demonstrations unnecessary, they receive an inordinate amount of media coverage, far beyond their significance. This is clearly a ploy of money-hungry media outlets, which have blown the matter out of proportion and managed to seduce thousands of Israelis, with free time on their hands, to further their cause.
These protests harass our citizens and disrupt the routines of daily life. Our hearts go out to all those poor individuals whose thoughts and attitudes have been “socially engineered” by the media and their advertising henchmen, which lead them to speak and do things about which they ultimately will be ashamed. Still, the correct attitude to these wild “protests” is to simply ignore them, while making uncompromising demands of the law enforcement agencies to do their job and protect the basic rights of the citizens.
Unfortunately, however, last week’s wave of terrorism has shown us the true damage that these mistaken demonstrations can cause, and how the forgiving treatment they receive from the courts and legal advisors leads to a far more dangerous set of circumstances.
Anyone who has heard the recent statements of terrorists’ families, spokesmen of terrorist organizations, and Arab members of the Knesset, is shocked by their unabashed support for the killing of Israeli soldiers. It is clear that the violent anti-govern protests and the selective enforcement have caused severe damage to governance and the maintenance of law and order in the country. It is only natural that our enemies, who are alert to any breach in our Israel’s security, will regard the violent discourse as an opportunity to further their malevolent plans.
In a thorough and continuous manner, these unlawful demonstrations have gnawed away at Israeli security in general, and at our country’s deterrence in particular. Our enemies see how the hands of the prime minister and his ministers are tied by legal advisors and those in control of the justice system. They see how easily the lives of Knesset members can be made miserable beside their own homes and in front of their own children, how fragile the rule of law is in the country, and how anyone who believes that justice is on his side can trample on the law without consequence.
But they also understand something deeper:
In contrast to the sense of despair and panic that gripped Israel’s enemies, from Iran and Lebanon to Jenin and Hawara, as a result of the last elections, when Israeli citizens declared at the ballot box that there will be no more “games” or negotiations, no more concessions or statements of “inclusion,” suddenly, our enemies realize that Israeli elections are nothing more than a show, than empty pomp and circumstance – an official vote that determines nothing. The same senior officials who signed the Oslo Accords continue to rule this country, the same High Court and the same attorney’s office – all of whom persecute those on the political right and chose instead to legitimize and embrace terrorists.
Our enemies have not forgotten how, exactly 18 years ago, during the disengagement from Gaza, thousands of Jews were forcibly and brutally expelled from their homes, youth, women, and the elderly were arrested, and every hint of protest by the settlers struck down with a heavy hand. If some remote, backroad was blocked for even a few minutes, criminal charges were made against those involved, to subject them subsequently to years of suffering and abuse. In light of the current situation, it becomes obvious who is in control, and how far they are willing to go to maintain power. The conclusions our enemies will draw are clear.
This is certainly one of the main reasons for the recent rise in terrorism, and a sign of far more troubling events to come. If we do not decisively and firmly stop the violent demonstrations, which cripple national moral no less than they block public spaces, we grant our enemies the morale and motivation to return to the “cheerful” days of Oslo, when they well knew that every terrorist attack was an effective means of pressure to achieve their goals to destroy our country, God forbid.
It is no longer a question of judicial reform, reasonableness of law or the cessation of amplification: it is about Jewish lives. We must stop the chaos and act decisively for the security of the people of Israel in their country.