Saturday, May 21, 2016

An Open Letter To The Outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon

From a member of the Liberals in the Likud 

By Noam A. Rotem

Dear Minister Ya'alon,

I'd like to start off by saying that I've been your longtime fan and supporter, and saw you as someone very qualified, dignified, and imbued with many of the qualities required to be the successor to lead the Likud party. A rare and refined politician, with above the fray integrity and intellect. An officer and gentleman, soft-spoken, who shied away from the media limelight, yet was always ready to speak the truth to it, in an unwavering manner.

You also represent many of my liberal-right values.  On the one hand a clear-eyed view of the Israeli-Arab conflict, which is, and has always been imbued by radical Islamic antisemitism, thats shares and borrows poisonous hatred of Jews, directly from Nazi antisemitic propaganda. Something that the Israeli left, center-left and mainstream media, almost always go out of their way to overlook.

On the other-hand, you consistently supported and defended core liberal western democratic values, that not just live in harmony with the concept of a "Jewish and democratic state", but in fact are rooted and inspired by the great universal tenets, that Judaism imparted to western civilization. The most fundamental of those tenets, being that all humankind, men and women, are equal, as they were equally created in the image of God. In that spirit you stood-up for women's rights, gay rights, and the equal inclusion of Israelis, from all backgrounds regardless of gender, race, or religion into Israeli society.

Having said all of that, it was impossible not to be perplexed, not to say outright dismayed, by your support of deputy chief of staff Yair Golan for his Holocaust Memorial Day statement:
"If there's something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it's the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016."
The statement is outrageous and immoral, especially when coming from a leading general in the IDF. Additionally, it supplies dangerously fraudulent ammunition, to the many worldwide anti-Israel and antisemitic movements, devoted to the delegitimization and liquidation of the Jewish state. How could you do that?

Your support of such a statement seems in complete contrast to everything I thought you stood for in this regards.

What became even more disconcerting, was your follow-up, when you urged top generals in the Israeli army, to continue to speak their mind, in what appeared to be an additional nod of support, to deputy chief of staff Yair Golan's Holocaust statement. Netanyahu's rebuttal was duly in place to Likud supporters like me, where he said that "army commanders voice their opinions freely in the relevant forums on issues for which they are responsible. The IDF is the people's army and it needs to be kept clean from political divisions."

Lastly your claim that extremist elements have taken over the Likud party, is fodder for the highly biased left-leaning mainstream Israeli media, who will never miss an opportunity to bash the Israeli center-right. When I look at leading Likud members of Knesset and Ministers, like Gilad Erdan, Yuli-Edelstein, Yuval Steinitz, Anat Berko, Miri Regev, Yoav Kish, Avraham Neguise, Amir Ohana, and Ofir Akunis, I see nothing of the so called extreme elements you ominously refer to. So if they do exist, then please state exactly who they are, so liberal Likud members like me can influence to democratically counter them. Otherwise, your statement sounds like the work of some biased left-leaning Israeli media copywriter, which I'm sure it is not.

Like most all Likud members, I'm very sorry you turned down the offer to be foreign minister for the state of Israel, as I believe you could be a formidable one, especially in these treacherous times, where the very legitimacy of the state of Israel is being undermined by systematic propaganda, made up of mendacious lies, that include relentless attempts to erase 3,500 years of Jewish history and its connection to the land of Israel.

It is unquestionable that you care deeply for the state of Israel. If you still consider yourself a Likudnik, with a liberal and nationalist outlook, then "do the right thing", do what you've always done in the past, rise above the political fray, and reconsider the offer to be the Israeli foreign Minister!

Moshe Ya'alon
"The Liberals in the Likud" is a faction of Likud members, within the Likud Party, that promotes individual freedom and free markets

This article was also published on the Op-Ed page of Arutz Sheva:
Op-Ed: A "Liberals in the Likud" member writes the outgoing Defense Minister

As well as in Hebrew on the Hebrew edition of Artuz Sheva:
מכתב גלוי לשר הביטחון היוצא


Anonymous said...

Dear Noam,
I share your political view regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict but there is one important aspect which I believe you are overlooking - preservation of our fragile democracy.
It's true we are the only functioning democracy in the middle east but we have sadly reached a low point in respect to our core democratic values.
Perhaps from lack of proper education, the majority of our population has a distorted view of the meaning of democracy.
The average person's understating of democracy is limited to serving the will of the majority. Human rights, rule of law, rights for minorities and other values are lost.
We have PMs and ministers advocating race segregation in hospitals, attacking the supreme court, promoting killing of neutralized wounded enemy and suggesting race based death sentence.
This is a battle we need to win for our self's and our children. It has nothing to do with our enemies and everything to do with our values and what kind of place we want to live in. This is what Golan was telling us.
As Yaalon said, we must to win the battles with our enemies but we must also stay human beings - for our future.

Yossi said...

Reading the first few lines of your letter, I got the impression that you are a serious right wing liberal. However, the later parts of your letter expose a less liberal attitude. You care more about how the Likud party looks like than how moral and liberal it is. One can support or object the content of Golan's words, but what bothers you is not the content but how it might look abroad. Same with Yaalon's speech. Instead of arguing against his views, you are troubled by how it may help the left-wing media (your opinion, not mine). So, to sum up, your liberalism is very much questionable as well as your morals (the soldier who shot the wounded Palestinian doesn't really seem to bother you).