“Praiseworthy is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked, and stood not in the path of sinners, and sat not in the sessions of scorners.” Psalms 1:1
Israel’s ruling elites suffer from a pathology clearly manifested in the pages of Exodus describing the behavior of the Egyptian Pharaoh.
Despite one devastating plague after another, the Egyptian despot stubbornly refused to let the Jews go. After the seventh plague, God hardened his obstinate heart to enable him to endure further attacks. Since he was responsible for so much evil, he was deprived of the freedom to repent and desist from his obviously ruinous policy. Clearly, the Pharaoh was driven by egomania, but this egomania was reinforced by God. I call this egomania the Pharoic syndrome.
The Pharoic syndrome afflicts Israel’s political elites. During the past 15 years, six successive Israeli prime ministers—Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert—mindless of the enormity of evil, have tried to make peace with the PLO, an organization whose record of terrorism and murder dates back to its formation in 1964. These politicians were so morally obtuse that they regarded the PLO’s genocidal objective, proclaimed in its Charter, as negotiable.
Lenin would have called them “useful idiots,” for they enabled the PLO to accumulate vast stores of weapons and to train right here in Israel a terrorist army which, coordinated with Hezbollah, threatens this country’s existence. And if Tzipi Livni succeeds in forming a government, we shall have another prime minister afflicted by the Pharoic syndrome.
The most obvious manifestation of this syndrome is the government’s obstinate adherence to the disastrous policy of “territory for peace,” a policy sanctified by the Oslo or Israel-PLO Accords of September 13, 1993.
Since the signing of those accords, which enabled Yasser Arafat to establish a terrorist network in Israel, some 1,700 Jews have been murdered. Many thousands more have been wounded, maimed, traumatized. Yet, on the fifteenth anniversary of the Oslo Accords, Uri Savir, who was Director General of the Foreign Ministry and Israel’s chief negotiator of the Accords, had the chutzpah and cloddishness to tell The Jerusalem Post, “It is either the continuation of Oslo or nothing.”
The Post dignified Savir’s inane remark by placing it on the front page of its September 14 issue. The following day, The Post published on its front page MK Yuval Steinitz’s warning that a “two-state solution [to the conflict between Israel and the Arab Palestinians] would bring about Israel’s demise.”
Steinitz has been called a protégé of Netanyahu. Does his warning represent the views of his political mentor? Netanyahu has never referred to Oslo as a diplomatic blunder. In fact, he voted against a Knesset resolution to abrogate the Oslo agreement, even though his own office, when he was prime minister, issued almost daily reports of how the PLO was violating that agreement. It seems that Netanyahu cannot overcome the Pharoic syndrome without incriminating himself and many others as complicit in Jewish bloodshed.
That he remains in lockstep with the lethal policy of “territory for peace” is evident from his insistence on “reciprocity” in dealing with the Palestinian Authority. Moreover, since he persists in saying “we need a negotiating partner,” it would be reasonable to infer that he does not foreclose the establishment of a Palestinian state—despite Steinitz’s warning. The Pharoic syndrome dies hard.
Another manifestation this syndrome is the devious and dishonest assertion of Israeli politicians, judges, academics, and journalists that Israel is a democracy. Is there a connection between this manifestation of the Pharoic syndrome and the senseless adherence to Oslo? Yes, if only because Israel’s reputation as a democracy induces her prime ministers to engage in negotiations with Israel’s implacable enemies. Such behavior is expected of democrats, as witness the willingness of the United States to negotiate with Iran, the epicenter of Islamic jihad—as if one can talk Islamic despots out of their demonic beliefs, their hatred of infidels, their global objectives.
Here let us pause. Ever since 1975, when the UN declared Zionism a form of racism, Israel’s ruling elites have shied away from asserting Zionism—the idea that led to and justified Israel’s rebirth. What now endows Israel’s government with legitimacy and its ruling elites with respectability is not Zionism but “democracy.” The ethos of democracy requires the settling of disputes through negotiation and compromise. Hence, to preserve Israel’s reputation as a democracy, Israeli governments must negotiate with the PLO, which could only add color of legitimacy to a Palestinian state.
However, the practical consequence of legitimizing a Palestinian state is to delegitimize the Jewish state by impairing—in stages—Israel’s territorial integrity This is why Israel’s Penal code stipulates that any act that impairs Israel’s territorial integrity is treason! A petition to this effect was submitted to, and rejected by, Israel’s ultra-secular Supreme Court, whose rulings subordinate Jewish values to democratic values even though the Court itself is a self-perpetuating oligarchy!
The destructiveness of the Pharoic syndrome is quite evident in Supreme Court rulings, which, uttered in the name of democracy, have truncated and emasculated the Jewish commonwealth. Suffice to mention the Court’s tendentious ruling that Gaza, as well as Judea and Samaria, constitute “belligerent occupied territory.” No branch of Israeli government more clearly illustrates the destructive Myth of Israeli Democracy.
This myth permeates the mentality of the people of Israel. The Sharon government’s withdrawal from Gaza as well as the expulsion of its 8,000 Jewish residents in 2005 was justified in terms of democracy, even though an overwhelming majority of the voters rejected that policy in the January 2003 election!
On the other hand, consider the Kadima primary election won by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. This paltry party election—the result of a disastrous Kadima-led government—postpones a national election in which the people of Israel would decide who will be prime minister. One otherwise brilliant journalist draws the oxymoronic as well as Pharoic conclusion that “The public is powerless today to do anything in the face of Livni’s and Kadima’s trampling of our democratic system.” (Emphasis added.)
Well, the national election of January 2003 was hardly a triumph of democracy when Likud leader Ariel Sharon campaigned against but subsequently adopted Labor’s policy of unilateral disengagement!
The Pharoic syndrome, which warps the minds of the “best and the brightest,” is ruining Israel. I wonder whether anything less than shock treatment can overcome this syndrome. I have no confidence in democratic elections in Israel if only because the actual governing institutions of Israel are very far from being democratic, as I have often demonstrated.
Israel is threatened with destruction. Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and even Egypt want to wipe Israel off the map. Hezbollah, which had about 12,000 missiles before the Second Lebanon War, now has about 30,000. Hamas is accumulating deadlier missiles than can strike more Israeli cities. Egypt’s military buildup and the non-stop anti-Semitic barrage of its media are ominous.
Meanwhile, many Europeans, it seems, would not regret Israel’s demise. Notice that hatred of Israel erupted most conspicuously during the reign of Ariel Sharon, despite his having pursued a policy of self-restraint and territorial retreat. Israel’s government would do well to heed Machiavelli’s advice: better to be feared than loved. Hence, the government must drastically alter the way nations perceive Israel. Israel must cease being perceived as a democracy, one whose government is willing to yield parts of the Jewish homeland—behavior that can only arouse contempt, especially among Arabs. And of course Israel must cease its cowardly “politics of peace,” which is indeed democratic.
Israel is at war, confronted by multiple enemies. Urgently needed is a government to mobilize the country and selectively wage war against these enemies. Lacking such a government, Israel will have to follow the example of the Roman republic and field a dictator for the season—a season of war.
There is no peace without victory. Negotiating with despots—evil men—dignifies and arms them while it degrades and disarms us. Democratic elections and their petty politicians will only distract and divide us so long as Israel remains trapped in its inept system of multiparty cabinet government. We must put an end to a system that maximizes political self-aggrandizement. We must put an end to all the lies about “territory for peace”—yes, and to all the lies about Israeli democracy. We must shatter the Pharoic syndrome and strive for a new beginning.