Letter to the editor,
I would like to share my letter to Ambassador and Madam Consul General:
I am a diaspora Jew who cares deeply about the State of Israel. I pray for Israel to thrive and prosper, and to live in peace. More than pray, I also lived in Israel for a year and volunteered on an Israeli military base as part of the ‘Volunteers for Israel’ program. I’m not a citizen of Israel, but I believe we Jews are a people whose fate is bound together. I write to you in alarm at both the make-up and policies of the new Israeli government.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is an indicted politician clinging to power by inviting extremists into the government. Itamar Ben-Gvir, who openly incites hatred of non-Jews, was convicted of supporting the terrorist group Kach. Aryeh Deri was convicted of corruption. Bezalel Smotrich called himself a “fascist homophobe.”
These people are either unprincipled, lack integrity, are extremist, or all three. By populating the government with convicts and extremists, Israel is heading down a perilous road that will threaten its democratic character and possibly its very existence.
Though Israelis elected these parties to the Knesset, the Netanyahu government is now poised to undermine and potentially destroy Israel democracy by eviscerating the power of Israel’s Supreme Court. We Americans know very well how important checks and balances are in government; so that one branch of government does not amass unchecked power. A weakened Israeli Supreme Court will give excessive power to the executive without restraint.
To those who attack Israel’s legitimacy, Israel supporters have for decades countered that Israel is a robust democracy, in which a wide spectrum of political views are represented, and in which the minority, especially Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, are protected from the tyranny of the majority. We may no longer be able to make this argument as Israel veers toward authoritarianism. The Netanyahu government is, by its actions, undermining Israeli democracy. And though he claims he will moderate the extremism of his ministers, Netanyahu has created a coalition of hate and intolerance.
I pray for Israel’s survival as a Jewish state and for its survival as a democracy. But I cannot remain silent as Israel’s star dims.
Reuben Haller, Atlanta