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Politically Ambidextrous

There are always surefire ways to end an argument without a struggle. In yeshiva, you say, “There are conflicting opinions”. In marriage, the wife says, “Whatever you say, dear”, and the smart husband will shut up. In political discussions, the phrase, “There are several ways to look at it”, is shorthand for, “I don’t want to discuss it”. But in my case it is true. There are several ways to look at it, and I do want to discuss it.
                I arrived in Israel in 1991 at the age of thirty (Everyone is scribbling away to do the math. I am the oldest forty year old you will ever meet). In the United States, I was hard-core left-wing. Of course, like any twenty something year old, my political views were shaped by which side had the cuter women and hippie chicks were way hot. I was out in the streets protesting for my right to burn the American flag, I had a Mao tee-shirt bought second hand in the Village, and I never missed a meeting of the committee for I don’t-know what that was held in Barnard (the only semi-legitimate way to worm my way  into the women’s campus).
                Just to let you in on how crazy the trip has been. I was in Israel in 1978 for my senior year of high-school. I went to the Sinai and it was still Israeli territory. Menachem Begin was vilified by the left-wing for trading land for peace. How dare he? Apparently, returning land that used to belong to the Egyptians is evil, but giving land that never belonged to anyone and was included in the UN charter in ’48 to an entity that never existed was a moral necessity. But I am a simple country boy so it is reasonable that I don’t understand. The memory that makes me believe I grew up in an alternate universe was that I proudly marched with Peace Now. Like I said, I was eighteen years old and they had cute girls.
                When I arrived in Israel, the hot topic was “The Nation is With the Golan”. Back then, the Palestinians did not exist as a nationality (sorry, but that is a fact), and Syria seemed the most likely partner for peace. The only way to envision Yaaser Arafat receiving a Nobel Peace Prize or Rabin and Peres calling each other friends would have been injudicious use of controlled substances. But suddenly I found myself on the side of the line with the guys wearing white shirts and pocket protectors, and sandals with socks. All the rock-and-rollers and hippie chicks were way over there, on the other side of the political mason-dixon line. For the first time in my life, I actually had to inspect my political motivations under a microscope.
                One year I did reserve duty near Jericho. There were two young men who I ended up spending a lot of time talking with. There are no discussions like miluim discussions. You have one month in the middle of the desert with no distractions to do absolutely nothing and you do it with the same guys every year. This was before the advent of the cellular phone. Yes, we did patrol on dinosaurs. Someone whispered to me that I should be careful because if I spoke to them, I would argue with them. They were (GASP!) left-wing. I found out that we had a lot in common, and that bothered me. I was dangerously close to being left-wing. They were members of an inner-city kibbutz and I was a member of a religious kibbutz. They thought that the Torah was dogma that brought evil and suffering into the world. We left that point aside. The peace process was in full swing and we had bigger fish to fry. They started out strongly in favor of Oslo but very quickly began to hem and haw. They were left-wing but they didn’t like the agreement so much because it was implicitly, though in an unspoken way, meant to economically screw the Arabs. They wanted peace with the Arabs, but very clearly not THIS peace. They were old-school socialists and thought that capitalism was evil. They wanted the Arabs as brothers, not as distant neighbors on the other side of a fence. They wanted to care for the Arabs, help them build schools and hospitals and enter the twentieth century, not give them a magnetic card and tell them to wash their hallway for fifteen shekels and hour, and get out of the country at five p.m. when they finish. They wanted peace, but not this one, and since it was the only one being offered, they supported it. They were the silent left and I felt a strong kinship with them.
                I realized that all the hippies on the other side were wearing store-bought tie-dye and the rock-and-rollers were mostly old men with fat apartments in Tel-Aviv. They had the look and talked the talk, but they were the fat cats, the capitalistic elite. At the Communist Club, we used to joke that a Republican is a Democrat that finally has a solid stock portfolio. In America, Republicans are typically keep-your-hands-off-of my-stack capitalists. Democrats are willing to share the wealth.

                In Israel, it’s not so simple. There is a left-wing politically and a left wing-economically. The left-wing political wants a Peace agreement with the Arabs. The left wing economic wants a more socialist agenda. There are also corresponding delineations on the right. After much introspection, I realized that I am right-wing politically but left-wing economically. Oh, and my wife was right wing, and she's cute.

The left-wing phobia

                I would like to clear up a very important misunderstanding about a fairy tale. In the tale of the emperor’s new clothes, a little boy calls out that the emperor is naked and has no clothes on. In the classic fairy tale, the townspeople are abashed, ashamed at their fear of the obvious truth that led them to their error. They kicked the  lying tailors out of town and everyone was happy.
                Let me tell you the Israeli version of that story. The little boy says, “Hey, the emperor has no clothes on”. Everyone sees that it is true, but fears the repercussions. The boy is thrown in jail without a trial, and the media goes to work, declaring that there is an extremist element bent on tearing the clothes off the emperor.
I recently posted on Facebook several posts. One was about soldiers in the IDF going to jail for saying they wanted to kill terrorists. I was confused as to why they would be punished for that. I thought it was their sworn duty to kill terrorists. I also posted something saying that I wanted the killers of the three Israeli youths to be brought to justice. I was chastised harshly, albeit by only a few people. I was accused of promoting vigilantes and senseless violence. I was accused of calling for a Jewish Jihad when all I wanted was a normal legal process, an army that dealt with national existential threat and a police that reacted strongly to crime. I was accused of promoting genocide. I tried to explain myself several times but was astounded at how unheard I was. 
                The facts are that there may have been a murder of an Arab youth by Jews. There were definitely three Jews murdered and their murderers have not been turned over by the PA> The vast majority of the rioting has been by Arabs. For some reason, the left-wing reacts far more strongly to the almost non-existent right-wing Jewish violence than it does to the prevalent, even accepted, Arab violence. The Jewish left is terrified of any reaction by the Jewish right.
                                I am fascinated by this. Not reacting to the murder of three young boys is s clear sign of mental sickness. Being more afraid of a potential danger than you are of an actual threat that has struck countless times and has recently shed blood is, by definition, delusional. As delusional and imbalanced as it is, it is consistent with left wing mindset. Despite several wars against the Arab nations, the left-wing preferred a peace pact with Yaaser Arafat as a solution to battle an imaginary demographic threat that was imminent at some moment in the future. Shimon Peres, the mastermind of Israel’s nuclear program, felt that the atomic bomb changed the strategic reality to where we no longer need land to ensure a military solution. For this approach, Shimon Peres was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
                But back to my original; dilemma. The left and the media are screaming about the right wing “fanatics” the “extremists” who are irrationally and irresponsibly incensed of three murders.
                So let me try to explain the two positions, as I understand them, in one sentence each.

                Left-wing: Potential threat is much greater than any threat we have already lived through.
                Right-wing: The left-wing has traded the rule of law for a packet of worthless promises.
Lawlessnes is the methodology of the peace process. It means the government does not react in the manner of normal governments. It allows the citizens to be killed and the murderers to be set free. It means that a teen can call the police emergency number, announce that he has been kidnapped, and gunshots are heard in the background, and the police do not react. The prime minister declares a search for kidnapping victims, knowing full well that the teens are already dead. It means that 13,000 people can be made homeless for a political agenda that, a peace agreement that was never intended to be signed by the absent partner. The rights of the homeowners are pushed aside for a political agenda. Rockets fall on cities and there is not even any lip service paid to finding a solution.
There is a reason for this. The peace process began with Shimon Peres going to Cypress to meet with Yaaser Arafat and getting him to sign a peace agreement. Interestingly enough, it was entirely illegal for Shimon Peres to do that. For any person to meet with a declared enemy of the state and to make agreements and work with them was illegal, an offense for which many men have been executed or been sent to jail. It is the dictionary definition of treason. When he returned to Israel with said agreement, Yitzchak Rabin, Peres’ longstanding political enemy, was required by law to put Shimon Peres in jail. Instead, he had the law changed and made Shim Peres foreign minister. The peace process began with a perversion of justice and has been characterized by such.
I am going to the trouble of explaining this so that my left-wing friends can understand what the right wing Jews are screaming for. We want a return to law. We want criminals with blood on their hands to stay in jail. We want murderers to be hunted down and punished. We want to buy a piece of land from the proper authorities and have that sale honored. Throwing stones at a moving car, or at a person, should be illegal, and not treated as inevitable. Israel has the highest rate of car thefts in the world with over45,000  car thefts each year and less than 5,000 of those cars being recovered.  Rockets are fired into cities. That should be treated as a crime. Tolerance is not a positive trait when displayed by the authorities towards evil. The peace process has brought many bad things to Israel. One of the worst is the perversion of law. I realize that this is only my opinion. If you disagree then you are clearly wrong and in need of serious psychiatric care. But like I said, that is only my opinion..