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Thoughts on Free Speech in the Days Before the Israeli Elections



- Rav Kahane, of blessed memory, spent countless years reaching out to Jews through published works, weekly articles, speeches, debates on college campuses and in synagogues throughout the United States, and appearances on various televised programs and radio shows

Now that Eli Yishai did a noble thing, deciding the cause was bigger than himself, took one for the team, dropped out, what might be the lessons that we could derive?


Could have just been poor luck and poor timing?  Hardly.


Yishai scored over 3%, just below the Electoral threshold last time around. And he seemed more likable than ever before. A riddle wrapped in a mystery in an enigma? Possibly. There is some clue however. Yishai Made a bold statement at the outset of this election campaign a few months ago. He was challenged by a member of the media- What is his position on homosexual deviancy? He said outright, there’s no need for position. It is totally unacceptable and abhorrent as per our Torah.

Let us detour to another case. The students of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, ztk’l. Rav Kahane, of blessed memory, spent countless years reaching out to Jews through published works, weekly articles, speeches, debates on college campuses and in synagogues throughout the United States, and appearances on various televised programs and radio shows. He supported violence against those he regarded as enemies of the Jewish people, called for immediate Jewish mass migration to Israel to avoid a potential “Holocaust” in the United States, supported the restriction of Israel’s democracy to its Jewish citizens, hoped that Israel would eventually adopt Jewish religious law, and endorsed the annexation of Judea, Samaria & Gaza.

While he was serving in the Knesset in the mid-1980s, Rav Kahane proposed numerous laws, none of which passed, to emphasize Judaism in public schools, do away with Israel’s bureaucracy, forbid intermarriage, and end cultural meetings between Jewish and Arab students.

Rabbi Kahane was one of the co-founders of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) whose mission it was to protect Jews from local manifestations of anti-Semitism such as organizing defense squads and patrols in Jewish neighborhoods. The JDL was instrumental in the release of Soviet Jews from Russia. Dr. Ben-Ari, Baruch Marzel and Ben-Gvir are political activists who are continuing the majestic legacy of Rabbi Kahane, ztk’l.

Dr.Ben-Ari. Is he proverbially far right? OK, without a doubt there are others on the far right who have in the past been in the Knesset. Ben Ari served in the Knesset himself as recently as 2013.


What does he and Baruch Marzel have on the others? A wish for a theocratic biblical state? Perhaps in the long longer-term, not for an immediate future. They have unabashedly, loudly and in the most public sense, condemned all forms of sexual perversions. As a result, they were banned from running.


Their sidekick, Itamar Ben Gvir, was not. Why is this the case? He sings the same song as they do on national and security issues. There has long been rumors he is connected to Shabak and the Deep state. He’s a leading right-winger who gets hilltop youth out of jail? Big deal. Small price for them to play.


Back to what happened with Yishai.  The media chose to bury him was virtually impossibly low polling numbers. As low as 0.1%.  He was forced to throw in the towel.


Conversely, Moshe Feiglin a decade or so ago was hated as a vocal ‘homophobe’. He has evolved/ devolved on the socio-religious moral spectrum and now more of a libertarian. Has he similarly evolved nationalist issues? He is as Pro settlements as ever.


Of little consequence that is. The media across-the-board, as far as Haaretz, have given him favorable coverage, They’re backhandedly promoting his movement which they nary had a decent word hitherto.


So you’re bound to ask what about the Charedim? Don’t they proclaim the same as Yishai and Ben-Ari? Even if so, the media and power shapers are fully cognizant that they are perceived as hoary great uncles, out of touch and without much effect on the mainstream. They’re largely perceived as Santas. The middle-of-the-road Israeli vacillates between desiring to give them nice k-nip on the cheek, while on the morrow screaming and venting off at them any momentary angst.


Are these power shapers, uneducated? No, far from it.  Are they unintelligent? No, they’re sharper than foxes. They’re well aware their society’s clausewitzian decisive seam.


Might it be possible that issues that for most others are of national import, they grasp as little more than smoke and mirrors?


When, o when, will we come to the same realization?


Avraham Sharaby formerly resided in Betar Illit in Israel and is currently a community leader in Lakewood, New Jersey.


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