Whoever is unwilling to accept the decision of the majority, even if it is faulty, is working against our effort to survive.

The “Brotherly Dialogue” Pact that several leaders of the Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (Yesha Council) and the Forum for National Responsibility, headed by Major General (res.) Uzi Dayan, signed in the President’s Residence on Tisha Be’av eve last week revealed an internal split within the Yesha Council. It is a split between those settlers in Judea , Samaria and the Gaza Strip who, out of a deep commitment to Israeli society will accept its decision whatever it may be, and those who believe that they are the authentic representatives of the wayward Jewish people and that it is their duty to return the people to the right path.

Behold, the true question faced by the settlers in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip has finally been revealed in all its severity. As on other public issues, the question is “how loyal are we to the imperfect, faulty democracy that the persecuted Jewish people founded after two thousand years of exile? At the decisive moment, will loyalty to democracy or the tendency to separatism prevail”?

The side that considers itself authentic has raised serous arguments that should not be disregarded. Withdrawal is liable to weaken Israeli society, from within and from without. It could lead to the loss of territory that is vitally important for Israel’s security and the positioning of rockets, similar to those in Lebanon, in the areas of the Gaza Strip from which Israel withdraws. Perhaps most seriously, it could cause Israeli society to lose the excitement, dedication and commitment of a large segment of the younger generation of religious Zionists who are currently leaders in the Israel Defense Forces and many important social and education projects. Destruction of many people’s life projects could be traumatic for them and their families, even if they are not currently living in areas designated for evacuation.

The forces that consider themselves authentic feel a strong connection to Jewish history and the divine promise that the Jewish people will inherit the Land. They feel that destroying settlements would do irreparable damage to the Zionist enterprise. Beyond that, they think that it would damage the legitimacy of the entire Zionist enterprise if other Israelis to decide if settlements should be evacuated. This is especially so because Israeli democracy has not been run with clean hands since the Olso Accords were signed. There is a direct line from the Mitsubishi that former MK Alex Golfarb (Tzomet) received when he became a deputy minister to the unjustifiable firings of Benny Eilon(National Union) and Avigdor Leiberman (National Union) for Ariel Sharon’s government.

Faced with the authentic voices, the rest of Israel does not know what to think. There is more than a little truth in the claims made by the “authentic” side, especially when viewing events in the Palestinian Authority. On the other hand, there is also a large portion of injustice in some of the supposedly authentic claims that are heard. I will not get involved in the sides’ claims about evacuating settlements. I will only say, “Whoever is unwilling to accept the decision of the majority, even if is faulty, even if our democracy is not currently shining in a positive light, is working against the Jews’ desperate effort to survive in a world that does not desire the good of the Jews.

This survival can only be the result of a majority decision, not of anything else. Whoever raises his hand, in the name of God, strategy or even Zionism, against the faulty Israeli democracy should know that, this time, fanatics will not prevail.
The leaders of the Yesha Council who signed the pact last week understand this. Let us hope that their voice will be the decisive one on the critical day.


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