Israel: The Catastrophic Situation

August 23, 2023

Corrected Version for a typo

The following will be read at one of the forthcoming demonstrations in Israel. Expected fifty thousand demonstrators.

The legal reform, that the present government is pushing for, brought to the table an unresolved problem:  religion vs state relations. The present fight for control of the  Supreme Court is about who controls the solution to the problem: is Israel going to be a halachic state where religion and state are one, or a democratic-liberal state where religion and state are separated.

This conflict caused an economic, social and security deterioration, to the point of risking the survival of the nation.

The immediate goal is to stop the deterioration. The long-term goal is to address the root of the problem: what kind of country do we want and are able to have without falling apart.

The immediate visible problem is that the leaders of the current government are not willing to give up the legal reform that ignited the disintegration. Each partner in the coalition has its own interest for the reform to pass: The ultra-Orthodox have an interest in strengthening religious Judaism with the benefits they will receive from to the reform. The nationalist settlers of the West Bank, want to expand their presence although the international community still perceives it as occupied territory. They see themselves as fulfilling the vision of the promised Jewish state within its biblical borders as promised by God. Deeri ( a religious leader who is under legal scrutiny ) has his own aspirations that the reform will be realized and his legal problem resolved. Bibi Netanyahu ( the Prime Minister)  has more than one reason not to give up on the reform. One of the reasons are the legal cases against him with the danger of going to prison. There is another reason; In light of my experiences as a consultant to many leaders whose style is similar to his, he is not capable of giving up and accepting failure.  Stopping the reform, which will lead to the dissolution of the government, and him losing power is the failure he fears. He insists to remain in control because he believes that there is no one better than him to lead the country - despite those on the contrary who are convinced that his decisions will lead to the destruction of the state.

Because of his successes, because of the blind admiration he receives from his supporters ("Bibi the King of Israel" and "Only Bibi") and the supportive feedback he receives from home, he has developed, in my opinion, excessive confidence and built his own world of reality. If someone dares to present him with information about a reality that conflicts with the reality he believes in, and points to the trail of dangers that the reform creates - that person is expelled, removed from the stage, or disappears. Those who remain around him are yes, yes people who applaud him and do not criticize his decisions. As a result, detached of reality, he is capable of unintentionally causing catastrophic errors. Furthermore,  because of his leadership style that focuses on the long term, as if looking at the world from a bird's eye view, he is not accurate in details and Bibi like Trump and others with the same leadership style is accused of being a liar. He is not aware that he is not accurate in the details; he is not aware that he is lying; he is not aware that he is leading to the destruction of the state. He believes that he is correctly leading the country, which he loves no less than Barak or Gantz. After all, his father devoted his entire life to the establishment of the state, he himself as a warrior risked his life for the country and his brother sacrificed his life for it. Thus to say that he is consciously bringing about the destruction of the state is not to understand the dynamics taking place and will lead his opponents to make decisions that do not solve the problem of a crumbling state but accelerate its disintegration

 What to do to stop the serious conflicts in Israel since neither the members of the coalition nor its leader, tend to stop the reform.

The solution that calls for Gantz (potential contender for the Prime Minster’s position ) to rejoin the government, in the hope that he will stop the deteriorating situation, with the current composition of the ministers in the government and the composition of the Knesset members in the coalition, with Gantz in the minority - it is not difficult to predict what will happen. He has no chance of success but this failed solution can have side effects that make the problem worse: another lost hope that will plunge the people into even deeper despair.

Another solution is proposed, for Biden to put pressure on Bibi; that America will threaten to end support at the UN and even end financial support or end military support. This can have consequences that further deepen the collapse of the state. Imagine that Bibi will not bow to the American threat and the Americans will carry out their threat. With this solution, we have fallen from bad to worse. What is left is to accept the situation and become another  Lebanon.

There is however an alternative possible, outside the box, not a conclusive solution but one that can keep the hope going in the meantime.  I have two books about it. It is about self-management; It requires a change of attitude and culture. Not an easy challenge, but doable - as long as there is a real and lasting commitment.

In this alternative,   it is we, the people, who take the responsibility of solving how we will live together. We are all in the same boat. It is in our interest to take care not to sink or drown.

Experience says that he who rows the boat does not rock it. So let's start rowing the boat, all of us together, to find a safe shore.

The solution to the problem is in the process of searching for the solution and not in the solution itself which we right now can not find. Let's discuss the issue while recognizing the rights of others and maintaining the principles of the 2,000-year-old nation. And we will learn what is good in what others say, and this is how the Jewish state may be born, not only on the map, but also in how we live together while mutually benefiting from cross-fertilizing our ideas. Solutions based on fear, mutual intolerance,  humiliation, and solutions that provoke the use of force must be stopped.

Demonstrations yes, but in no way breaking the law. Don't humiliate others and shame those who disagree with us, than they call people who sacrificed their lives for the country as traitors. Those who violate the rules of mutual respect and appreciation should be punished...

We should run home get-togethers for small groups up to fifteen men and women where the group is diverse; Messianic, Shas disciples, liberals, Likudniks, Sephardim, Ethiopians, etc..., to have cultured conversations, without interrupting into what others say, on what does it mean to be Jewish, and how should a modern state conduct itself with the values of Judaism?

 From these home circles will emerge a new leadership that identifies with the values people developed in their get-togethers and who sponsor a democratic system of government.

When the problem stems from disintegration, a sustainable solution is in the integration.

And what about the Arabs? Do they have a place in the solution? And what about the Palestinians??

Before we can build a state for all its citizens, before we can discuss peace with the Arabs, we need to have peace among ourselves.

Peace requires faith, not relationships fueled by fear. Our decisions, after thousands of years of persecution, pogroms and holocaust, are based on fear. So first of all let's relax. Let's start believing and respecting others. We will make peace among ourselves, then with the Israeli Arabs and then we can make peace with the Palestinians as well.

Thank you for listening

Prof Ichak Adizes

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes