1. Needless to say, there is plenty blame to go around for the tragedy of Gush Kativ. Gush Katif, whose 800 cows constituted the second largest dairy farm in Israel. Gush Katif, which produced 95% of all Israel’s exports of bug-free lettuce and greens, 70% of all Israel’s exports of organic vegetables, 60% of all Israel’s exports of cherry tomatoes, and 60% of all Israel’s exports of geraniums. Gush Katif, whose total sum of exports from greenhouses was $100,000,000, which is 15% of the total agricultural exports of the whole state of Israel—this Gush Katif is gone—given to Arab terrorists now boasting of their victory over Israel.
2. I believe it’s my duty to expose some of the individuals and parties and institutions most responsible for the destruction of Gush Katif. I do this not to engage in back-biting, but to reveal the enormous task that must be undertaken to save Israel. It’s not enough to blame Prime Minister Sharon for the destruction of Gush Katif. Of course, his implementation of Labor’s so-called unilateral disengagement policy, which he campaigned against in the January 2003 election, qualifies him as Israel’s most perfidious politician. But let’s not forget that disengagement would not have been enacted into law were it not for corrupt and cowardly Likud Knesset Members, two/thirds of whom betrayed their party principles and constituents by voting for disengagement in October 2004. Still, there are other guilty parties.
3. Among the most culpable are National Union (Ichud HaLeumi) and the National Religious Party (NRP or Mafdal). They joined the Sharon government after the January 2003 election knowing he advocated a Palestinian state at least as early as 1998, two years before George W. Bush became president. They are compromisers, or halfhearted nationalists.
a. National Union, which consists of the Israel Beiteinu, Moledet, and Tekuma factions, knew very well that Sharon, as Netanyahu’s foreign minister, signed the Wye Memorandum, which surrendered, for starters, 42% of Judea and Samaria to Yasser Arafat’s murderous thugs, the PLO-Palestinian Authority. Some of us advised these parties NOT to join Sharon. They subordinated principles to perks.
b. Mafdal is especially culpable because it joined a government with the anti-religious Shinui party. Sharon gave Shinui the all-important Justice and Interior Ministries, which relaxed the standards for citizenship and conversion and refrained from enforcing commercial regulations concerning the Sabbath.
4. Of course, men like Effie Eitam and Zevulun Orlev and Benny Elon said they could do more good in the government than as back benchers. So look what happened while they propped up Sharon:
a. They allowed Sharon to develop his expulsion plan under their noses.
b. They let Shinui diminish Israel’s Jewish majority.
c. They did nothing while Jewish outposts were bulldozed.
d. They slept while the Supreme Court undermined Israel’s territorial integrity.
*Based on the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radion, August 22, 2005.
5. I mentioned the culpability of the Likud Party. Most responsible was Benjamin Netanyahu. Had he opposed disengagement in December 2003 he would have gained the support of most of the Likud MKs and terminated Sharon’s premiership.
a. But when two/thirds of the Likud MKs voted for disengagement, that should have prompted Moshe Feiglin’s Manhigut Yehudit faction to resign from the Likud. But like National Union and Mafdal, the Feiglinites felt they could do more good inside the Likud than outside. Good for whom?
b. By remaining in the Likud, they dignify that corrupt party and sully their own reputations among politically mature, thoughtful, high caliber people.
6. But now I must explain what happened after National Union and Mafdal resigned from the Sharon government. To stay in power Sharon had to bring in the Labor Party—the authors of Oslo. Sharon also wanted a religious party to divide the religious community and to make his expulsion plan Kosher. So he promised United Torah Judaism, an ultra-orthodox party, 290 million shekels to join the government. That prompted the ultra-secular Shinui party to resign. Nevertheless, UTJ’s five seats were enough to form a new government with Labor. So UTJ is also responsible for the loss of Gush Katif. And so is Shinui. Sharon promised Shinui 750 million shekels to vote for the 2005 budget lest the government fall. Parties are for sale in Israel, thanks largely to its system of Proportional Representation—which multiplies parties—but not even the Feiglinites will tell you this, because they, like other politicians, need PR to get into the Knesset.
7. Add the Supreme Court to the list of those who destroyed Gush Katif. The court recognized that the expulsion of Jews from their homes was a violation of Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom; but Chief Justice Aharon Barak legalized Sharon’s expulsion plan on grounds of national security. Never mind the criticism of that plan by Israel’s highest military and intelligence officials. Moreover, Israel’s left-wing court had the audacity to ignore its own precedence as well as Israeli and international law by ruling that Gaza and Judea and Samaria are “occupied territory.”
8. I mentioned Israel’s military and intelligence officials. Since all warned that retreat from Gush Katif would be disastrous, why didn’t at least one of them resign in protest and go public against this policy? Why did they behave like tin soldiers? Why did they subordinate Judaism to the State? The Jews were the first people in history not to worship the state. Something is terribly wrong with the education at Israel’s Staff and Command School—but no one will tell you this.
9. And what about religious soldiers—those identified with religious nationalism or Zionism? Why didn’t ALL of them—not just a few—heed the halachik rulings of former Chief Rabbis Avraham Shapira and Mordechai Eliyahu? Why didn’t they all refuse to participate in the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif? Is there something seriously wrong in the religious Zionist camp?
10. I said the Haredi party was partly responsible for the loss of Gush Katif. But in fairness I must say that if there were Haredi soldiers—and there are a few—it’s inconceivable that any would ignore their rabbis and participate in the crime of expelling Jews from their homes. It seems that religious Zionism, associated with Mafdal, the National Religious Party, leaves much to be desired.
11. Here let me paraphrase an American journalist who is Haredi. She says: “Those who set the agenda for Mafdal are their political leaders – petty, ignorant, and venal men. Mafdal has always taught its adherents that the rabbis are of little consequence, so it is not surprising that they are not taken seriously. And now, at this moment of the Gush Katif tragedy, there is no one to truly lead Israel’s religious nationalists. Notice that Yonatan Bassi, the head of the disengagement authority, was one of them. With too few exceptions, national religious soldiers blindly followed the state’s leaders who are bringing tragedy to the Jewish people and destroying their country—and for basically selfish reasons.” So writes one Haredi American journalist.
12. But now, while it’s important to know the various individuals and parties responsible for the tragedy of Gush Katif—and I have not mentioned the left-wing media—where do we go from here? Well, many of you know about the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy. Here is what the Foundation is going to do. To begin with, it’s going to circulate a special Manifesto to wake up the people. On the one hand, the people must be warned about parties and institutions that have betrayed them. On the other hand, they must be informed of what must be done to save the Jews east of the “security fence”—Sharon’s next expulsion target as well as the next target of the terrorists. Here is what the Manifesto will state:
a. You all know that Sharon has become the Left’s prime minister.
b. You remember how Mafdal and Ichud HaLeumi remained in the government and fiddled while Israel was burning:
* They allowed Sharon to develop his plan for the ethnic cleansing of Gush Katif.
* They did nothing while Jewish outposts were bulldozed.
* They blinked while the Supreme Court handed down rulings more favorable to Israel’s enemies than to Israeli soldiers and civilians.
* They joined forces with Shinui and Tommy Lapid, champions of Judaism and Jewish unity.
* They slept while the Knesset, the Cabinet, and the Supreme Court betrayed you.
c. We must reform these institutions to prevent political parties from destroying Israel:
* Firstly, MKs must be made accountable to the voters instead of party bosses.
* Secondly, the corrupt system of multi-party cabinet government must be replaced by a Presidential system, without MKs in the cabinet. We need professionals in the cabinet.
* Thirdly, the oligarchic mode of appointing Supreme Court judges must be democratized.
13. The Manifesto will state that a Constitution based on Jewish and democratic principles must be adopted before the Left implements one that perpetuates the present dictatorship.
14. As for immediate action, the Manifesto will urge all nationalist groups to unite to form an alternative political force. The Foundation offers its facilities for this purpose.
In conclusion, I now ask all who agree with this program, to send your name, address, e-mail and phone numbers to:
The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy
POB 23702, Jerusalem 91236 or contact us by
E-Mail: Eidelberg@foundation1.org; Tel. 02-586-1297; Cell phone 0544-928621