It's embarrassing to discover that you are not counted among the 'right people'. Ask the leader of the opposition in the Israeli Knesset, Yair Lapid, and he will clarify for you that the treatment of individuals in the country is dichotomous, discriminating between the right people and others. According to Lapid's perspective, this dichotomy is evident not only in the exploitation of opportunities to integrate and hold key positions, but also in how legal systems and law enforcement should be applied to citizens of the state. One law for those who hold the positions of the right people and another law for those who are not considered right.
Yes, in Israel 2023, your advanced academic studies won't help you, nor will your contribution to the state in your specialized field, and even being a responsible citizen who upholds the law won't matter. What defines you in their eyes is your support or lack thereof for the ideologies and actions of a small group that defines itself as the 'elite' of Israeli society, of which they consider themselves a part.
The group of the 'right people' can be identified in every sector within the public domain. In economics, the military, the judiciary, the media, and academia alike. They have worked hard to secure their own positions and those of their close associates within centers of power and control, while constructing glass ceilings and densely packed barriers at the entry gates to prevent the 'other people' from infiltrating these systems.
For this group, which has well entrenched itself within the systems it operates, the 'other people' are foreign elements that disrupt, if not contaminate, the domain in which they operate, hindering their control within the additional realm of the legislature. Unfortunately for them, their influence is limited there, and it doesn't yield the results they expect at the ballot box.
Anyone who is not like them is considered an outcast
According to their perception, the ultra-Orthodox are outcasts. The residents of the periphery are outcasts. Religious Zionism is an outcast. The Ethiopian community is an outcast. Even the Arabs, may they be spared, are viewed in their eyes as outcasts. An outcast of a kind that can be used to increase the number of demonstrators (even if this outcast waves Palestinian flags and declares calls for 'liberating Palestine from the sea to the river') with the aim of attacking the others, maneuvering to 'a state of all its citizens,' and ignoring them when the truth becomes evident.
As part of the meetings of the elite members of academia in the dialogue series 'Agasi, Coming to the Professors', it was reported that the members discussed the situation in which they are unable to gain a majority in the legislature and proposed an idea to exclude the 'outcast' from the democratic process. They suggested allowing only those who are knowledgeable about academia, engaged in philosophy and government policy, to exercise their voting rights and choose the leadership to head the state.
Dr. Moshe Brant, who also participated in the meetings, embraced the idea and discussed the 'betrayal of the elites,' both in relation to the legal proceedings against Netanyahu and in their arrogance in determining who will lead the country and how. His words, which resonated across all networks, prompted Dr. Yossi Sneer, another participant in the academic elite meetings, to inquire with astonishment, "How did it happen that someone like me, an Ashkenazi like me, would speak so vehemently against the academia's elites?" In Dr. Sneer's view, the elites are the ones governing the country in all aspects, not the outcasts. Dr. Brant replied, "The elite you are talking about, aspires for hegemony through the Supreme Court. It's an elite that refuses to accept the election results, choking the people and their will, in an anti-democratic endeavor based on lies. Besides the moral decline, there's also intellectual degradation, as evident from the low level of discourse it employs to assist the media in engineering public consciousness."
If we delve into the heart of the matter, in simple words: 'a person like me', 'an Ashkenazi like me', the true source of the elites' anger towards Benjamin Netanyahu is concealed.
After all, there's no dispute over his leadership and achievements for the benefit of the country. In all the derogatory terms they use to insult Netanyahu's voters, they won't dare to refer to Netanyahu himself in those terms, as he is one of them. It's easier for them to use the expression "corrupt", even when they know that the term is fundamentally false. According to their perception, it was expected of him to be on the 'right side'. How did he choose to align himself with the outcasts and stand at their forefront rather than at theirs? The same anger expressed by left-wing journalists towards Netanyahu in their campaign of persecution and delegitimization, in his refusal to take advice from their educated hands, reveals how they would govern the country according to their perception.
A wake-up call for the right-wing public in Israel
A similar mobilization in the campaign to overthrow the government has been carried out by various establishments involved in governing the state. The economic establishment threatens to ruin Israel's economy. The military establishment seeks to dismantle the army through the threat of insubordination. The medical establishment threatens with its striking and the negative migration of doctors from the country.
The judicial reform anticipated a new division of Israeli society. Not the one we were accustomed to, of right and left based on ideology. In the absence of an ideology that could stand the test of reality and deserving leaders to guide the left, the Israeli elite, whose members see themselves as the 'masters of the land', presents the distinction between the right and deserving individuals and the outcast who is not right and deserving. Against this backdrop, it is clear to anyone with insight that in his words, Dr. Sneer simply pulled the mask off what was always beneath the surface.
When the dispute subsides and the storm is forgotten, the distinction between Israel's first - the correct one, and Israel's second - the incorrect, wounded, pained one, seeking nourishment to ensure our existence here as one people. Two simple actions can bring down the "right people" from the tree they climbed and initiate the desired change: removing the glass ceiling and the sorting filter of all life systems in Israel. It's reminiscent of Eleanor Roosevelt's statement, the first lady of the United States: "Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent," which can be seen as an awakening call to the right-wing public in Israel to rise and act towards this goal.
To Member of Knesset Lapid, the quote from Oscar Wilde is directed, reflecting the absence of personal identity and the fullness of contradictions and reversals in Lapid's character: "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry. Their passions – quotation." Sound familiar?
Yehudit Ohana is a pedagogical supervisor and leads development and empowerment processes in the education system.