The Government's Truth

The Government's Truth

By Shaul Arieli, Ha'aretz
24.10.11
via Ha'aretz (translated from Hebrew by Geneva Initiative staff)
 
 "The government will strive for social justice by decreasing societal gaps and uncompromisingly fighting poverty with education, labor and increased welfare for the weakest layers of the population." So it is written in the fundamental principles of the current government which, despite its being the largest in Israel's history, is far from its ability to fulfill this clause. At a time, debates were not held over this clause – some things are worthwhile and nice to write, especially if within their context billions of Shekels can be transferred to "our electors" and not to the public at large.
 
But there were some young folk who, without knowing the details of this promise undertaken by the government, understood that there is nothing similar between it and the day to day reality. Daphni Leef and Itzik Shmuli did not wait for elections. Instead they opened a Facebook page and pitched a tent on the street. This process, which brought thousands of Israelis to protest on the street, won legitimacy and was almost not tagged as hurtful to democracy or to the foundations of the government. Even the fervent "democracy advocates", faithful to the coalition parties who "explain" to us that this government was chosen in accordance with law and custom, that it expresses the public's sentiment, and that therefore protest against its policies are by way of treason and sabotage of the Zionist idea, did not dare do that this time.
 
They feared, and rightfully so, that the protesters would go against them. Against the main beneficiaries of this government's policies, which decided to erect a welfare state in Judea and Samaria, which conserves an unfair division of the burden of army service, which grants billions in transfer payments to the public that does not contribute its part to the economy, which strengthens centralization in the economy and allows tycoons alone to enjoy the resources of this land.
In the fundamental principles hides another clause which states, that "the government will advance the peace process and will work to promote peace with all our neighbors while maintaining Israel's interests." This clause stands out. Protest against the government regarding this clause, even though the government fails to implement it, is tagged as illegitimate.
 
This clause receives its own rules of democracy – elections every four years, and in between them not much. Because although the government is signed to this clause, it requests permission to implement another one of its fundamental principles: "persistence on settling and developing all parts of the Land of Israel and the application of national sovereignty over them." What is the relationship between this goal and the Bar Ilan speech of the Likud Chairman? What is his relationship with "two states for two people"?
 
The government may not be Tnuva [Israeli dairy company] and its policies cannot change with a discount, but the right and responsibility of the citizen is to protest legally against anything that, by his or her understanding, hurts his or her future or the future of the country. It is only a matter of time until the public is forced to connect these two clauses. The "truth" that was heard at the United Nations is the same "truth" that lies behind the Trajtenberg Committee.
 
The coalition parties were elected so that the social and political truth which appears in the fundamental principles would be impossible to achieve. Fortunately for us, lacking reforms, Israeli democracy does not require Arab Spring-style revolutions. It allows us to initiate real change by changing our government, and the responsibility is ours to do so.