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by Moshe Dann


Regardless of one's politics, nearly all agree that, undermined by a lack of accountability and rampant corruption, the political system itself has failed in Israel. A recent poll revealed that 87% of Israelis do not believe the Knesset represents them. Nearly the same number believe the government is corrupt, a systemic corruption that is destroying our unity and our core values. More than half the population believes the Supreme Court is not fair and impartial. Two-thirds believe the educational system has failed. These are symptoms of self-alienation, of a society in crisis.

Since its establishment, religious Zionists have regarded the State as sacrosanct, even the mechanism that would open the way to the Messianic age. The miraculous victory of the Six-Day War, and settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, seemed to confirm that belief.

For the last 13 years, however, the Right has been in denial. Taking its tremendous accomplishments, its position and influence in society for granted, it underestimated the strength and determination of its opponents. Nor did the Right anticipate that they would be attacked from within, by their own leaders and one-time staunch supporters in the Likud, and even by some in the 'religious camp'.

Betrayed and leaderless, the Right was unprepared and unwilling to accept their sudden loss of power in a government they elected. They did not understand how the institutions of the State could be used against them, nor that the Zionist dream of Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel), which embodied the hopes and aspirations of millennia, had been replaced by a valueless "Israelism" directed by a few oligarchs and their PR and media firms.

The policy of abandoning Judea, Samaria and Gaza that began with the Oslo Accords, and continued with the retreat from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria, has begun to awaken a new awareness in Israeli society, and among the Right in particular, about the nature of the State; there is, however, no practical mechanism to change it. Parliamentary reforms are, at best, years away, and even then, they will not challenge the vast power wielded by the elites. It will be 'too little, too late.'

Although some question whether the institutions of the State are just and democratic, few are willing to shed their loyalties to and illusions about the structure of the State itself and the institutions that support it. Rather than fight against it on an empty stomach, they argue, get a piece of the pie.

Confronted by an insane give-away program for Palestinian terrorists, the destruction of Jewish communities and the devastation of Jewish families, the Right continues to react rather than lead. With Israel's economic and political life controlled by an oligarchy, elections are at best meaningless, at worst, a fraud; they only serve to affirm the illusion that Israel is a just democracy. Such elections reaffirm the belief that solutions lie in preserving the corrupt institutions of the State; this cripples opposition and the process of critical thought. Sing Hatikva and everything will be better.


The political representation of Israel's denouement is its capitulation to terrorism. "Land for Nothing" has replaced the defunct slogan "Land for Peace". Supporting a Palestinian State trumps Zionism; Jews have no special inherent rights to settle their homeland, Eretz Yisrael.

The struggle over land is symbolic of a clash between two concepts: Medinat Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. The Right saw them as synonymous; the Left did not.

The oligarchs and the Left need to consolidate their control by destroying Judea, Samaria and Gaza not only physically, but ideologically. Hiding behind slogans like "preserving Israel's Jewish and democratic character," the oligarchs and their supporters cleverly side-tracked any critical analysis of what's really going on. Thus, front-page stories about discounts received by state officials from hotel chains and destruction of 'outposts, distract the public from the gang-rape of the economic and political system.

The only achievement in the struggle to save Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, therefore, may be exposing fundamental flaws in the system and the deep and pervasive corruption in the government itself. The government shouts for "law and order" because there is none.

The challenge for the Right -- for all Israelis -- is to move towards serious, meaningful reform to change the system. Without leadership, without a specific agenda, without accountability, corruption and political betrayal will continue to undermine our society and our ability to survive as a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

If this analysis is correct, it is time to disengage from our illusions about the state, and work towards changing the basic political and economic structure of Israeli society. That is a massive effort, but it is the only way to achieve real, meaningful reform. Populist notions, like raising minimum wage, serve to maintain an exploitative system that impoverishes everyone, while allowing the elites to become more powerful.

It is no coincidence that the Israeli Left works with and for the interests of the elites. Crushing the "settlement movement" is essential to the elites' control of the system; it has nothing to do with "occupation" - we're all "occupied".

Now the hard work begins. Anyone who thinks that the Left is going to 'play by the rules' has learned nothing from what happened to Gush Katif and in Amona. As long as the Right continues to look to the institutions of the State for help, it will fail, for when those institutions have been turned against the people, the State itself becomes the problem.

The first step towards maturity is self-reliance, the ability to think and act independently. It means accepting obligations and responsibilities in the context of Torah. It is a life goal filled with inspiration and commitment. And, as the song goes, "We're not going anywhere."

Moshe Dann is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem. He can be reached by email at This article appeared in Arutz-Sheva and is archived at


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