The Corona Chronicles – The Anniversary Waltz

Today is a special day. It’s the 46th anniversary of my aliyah (ascent) to Israel  – aliyah being the term we use for immigration to Israel. The opposite term, the one we use for emigration from Israel, is yerida (descent).

The other anniversary I am celebrating today is the 14th anniversary of this blog!
It seems incredible, but I have been blogging for fourteen years!!! Looking back on my early posts, I see that they were highly political in nature – and today’s post will also be more political than has been my custom lately.

For some weeks now, there has been considerable unrest throughout the country, manifesting itself in demonstrations mostly in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but in other towns also. Many of the demonstrators have been protesting about the economic hardship ensuing from the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – and, believe me, it is hard not to sympathise with them.

But there is another kind of demonstrator, those who are motivated solely by a desire to oust the Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. These people, known here as the Black Flag movement, have been agitating against the Prime Minister (allegedly because he has been indicted for corruption, but the trial has not yet taken place) since long before the Coronavirus Crisis. This movement is a development of the movement which initiated weekly demonstrations outside the private home of the Attorney-General, demanding that he press charges against the PM, and further demanding that the so-called evidence against the PM be interpreted and presented in such a way as to invoke the most serious charges possible. In other words, they demanded not only that the Prime Minister be indicted, but that they themselves should dictate the wording of the indictment!

The Left, having failed to oust the right-wing Likud government under the leadership of Netanyahu, realising that Netanyahu is the glue who holds the right-wing coalition together, have set their sights on removing that glue. Netanyahu has led the country for the past 11 years, winning in election after election. That is how our democracy works – but the Left claims that an eleven-year tenure under the leadership of one man – even though he has been democratically elected – is a danger to democracy. They have failed, again and again, to unseat him by democratic means (ie. through the ballot box) and now hope to unseat him by any other means possible. We have had three elections over the past year, and even with corruption charges hanging over his head, they failed to unseat him. The last round of elections was held days after he was indicted.  After the elections, they petitioned the Supreme Court for a ruling that a person who had been indicted, even if his trial had not yet taken place, could not be allowed to form a government. The Supreme Court, while making a few remarks about the moral stain, was unable to find a legal impediment to Netanyahu’s formation of a coalition government. STILL the Black Flag movement is keeping up the pressure. Now, they are jumping on board the bandwagon of those protesters who are (rightly) dissatisfied with the government’s mishandling of the Coronavirus Crisis.

Let me be clear. The government has mismanaged the crisis. I would go so far as to say grossly mismanaged it.  After presenting a plan for gradually easing lockdown  restrictions, and then waiting after each stage to see the effect on the spread of the disease, before proceeding to the next stage, they allowed themselves to be pressured by owners of all kinds of businesses, into almost abandoning the step-by-step strategy, drastically shortening the intervals between each stage and opening up the economy almost completely, far too soon – with the result that we had hardly left the First Wave of the pandemic behind us, before the Second Wave took hold.  The promised economic incentives don’t seem to have materialised – at least not for everyone to whom they were promised. There still doesn’t seem to be a long-term strategy for managing the pandemic without destroying the economy. We do now have a single person tasked with overall management of the pandemic, but it’s early days yet to see if this makes any difference.
In the meantime, we have a government and it seems to me that letting them get on with the business for which the coalition was formed (assuming they can stop squabbling over whether we need a one-year emergency budget or a two-year “long-term-strategy” budget) is a far better idea than holding elections again, for the fourth time within a year!

Since I am in Rant Mode, I would like to make plain that I have nothing but anger and contempt for the behaviour of some people on the extreme Right, as well – who have taken it upon themselves to physically attack anti-Netanyahu demonstrators, with stones and glass bottles. Some anti-Netanyahu demonstrators were even stabbed.  These thugs  have been condemned across the political spectrum – not that this has prevented the Left from accusing Netanyahu of inciting the attacks (which is, of course, nonsense).

I could go on and on, but it just makes me sick at  heart, especially when I remember that tomorrow is Tisha b’Av, the anniversary of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples – and that our Sages have stated that the reason for the fall of the Second Temple was Causeless Hatred between Jews.

There is plenty of Causeless Hatred in Israel today, and it is coming from both Left and Right.  This is not something for which we can blame the government. This is something which is within the control of each and every one of us.  If we cannot rein it in, then – for the first time in my 46 years here, which have seen wars, terrorist attacks and rampant inflation – I fear for our future.

About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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6 Responses to The Corona Chronicles – The Anniversary Waltz

  1. it’s basically the same here in the states; everyone has an opinion, everyone is right, everyone is wrong, no one listens, no one wants to stop TO listen, everyone wants to be HEARD at the same time, politicians are good, politicians are bad; the government should do this, they should stop doing that…news is fake, news is real, trust is long gone, fear is rampant, .it’s like the north and south poles with no happy medium in between for the entire populace……

    • Carole Schulman says:

      Tabbies, that is well said regarding how it is here at home. I was shocked when I read Shimona’s blog. I hadn’t knowledge that things were like that in Israel. I expect good things from them as I do from my own Country. There is chaos and hatred everywhere it seems. I wish I could fly to Saturn (if it was habitable 🙂 ) to get away from it all.

  2. And in the UK. A government faced with an unprecedented crisis, advisors who don’t know what to advise, public bodies who want to blame everyone but themselves, rampant wokery and a godless generation who no longer know how to think and… It’s all the fault of Boris. Really? Pray for those in authority. They need the wisdom of Solomon.

  3. Lindsey O'Rourke says:

    Is it only me, or does anyone else see an uncanny resemblance between the way things are playing out in Israel and the way they are playing out in the US? I mean, interested political groups who were opposed to the administration from the very beginning, exploiting widespread dissatisfaction over matters which have no connection to the reason why they, themselves, want to rid themselves of the President/PM and so on.

  4. CATachresis says:

    Just replace Israel with the UK and you would be talking about us! It’s the same all over it seems. I totally agree with you Shimona. There is an epidemic of stupidity throughout the whole world, sadly, where reason has been replaced by emotion. Apparently if you put forward a reasoned argument then you’re ignorant and don’t care and are a festering sore on society and should be removed!

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