From a Poultry Shop To — —
Leeds Jews found it difficult to integrate. We wanted to belong to Leeds and maintain our Jewish identity. We sought a semi-permeable ghetto; it does not exist. Leeds United accepted us — but never unconditionally. Jews managed Leeds United in the days of glory. Leeds United crashed and burned; the Jews sorted out the mess. In the good times, no-one was anti-Semitic; in the bad times, a lot were. Anti-Semitism is a fact of life. It can lay dormant; but anti-Semitism never dies — all Jews know this. There is no respite. No one wanted Jews in their golf-clubs. Non-Jews blackballed Jewish applicants. The Jews of Leeds built their golf club; it was the best golf club in Leeds. Non-Jews wanted to join. Of course, the Jews accepted the non-Jews. No matter what, the Jewish golf club was that — a Jewish golf club. There are many golf clubs in Leeds; there is only one Jewish golf club.
Jews know how to organise themselves at the community level. The community organises itself at the level of Synagogues. The primary source of power is the Synagogue management committee. In the major cities, the different management committees form an umbrella body. The chairman of the umbrella organisation is a very powerful man. Other committees exist; the committees may deal with education, welfare or defense. The off-shoots were quasi-autonomous bodies. Even so, they would not exist if the umbrella organisation does not cooperate.
In Leeds, my Mother coordinated the defense. No one knew what she was doing; it was all very hush-hush. When I ran Oranit, years later I had a similar experience; I knew, but I did not know everything. The community leader in Oranit enjoys and use the expertise gained in the Galut. All municipalities do.
In Leeds, Mr Shiffer reigned supreme. Mr Schiffer owned the local poultry shop. Mr Shiffer was cock of the walk; whatever Mr Schiffer wanted he got. Committee members imitated Shiffer; they laughed at Shiffer. Behind his back the community called Shiffer the Cossack; never to his face. And everybody did what he said. The community elected Shiffer. The community could dispose of him whenever it wanted. But we never did. The congregation feared him; they disliked him. Above all, the community admired him; we all knew he was the only man for the job.
In Israel, every municipality votes in his Shiffer. We want a strong man. We want a man we admire because he is what we all want to be and are not. We despise because we will never admit it. And when he fails we throw him out. The ballot box has a wisdom of its own. Every five years we place pieces of paper in the box. Out of the box, a genie emerges. It is the reincarnation of Mr Shiffer. The councils in Israel behave like our local synagogue committee. We elect a leader who represents us. A leader who chairs the voted committee of representatives. The committee is the executive arm. The community provides services. They weave the basket of service making up the quality of life.
In Israel, the community offers service providing quality of life. We have an innate understanding of community-based services. We understand how they work.
We acquired our knowledge in the villages of Poland. Our grandparents imported the values as they immigrated. We are running our Israeli cities very well. The British understand aristocracy and the schisms in Christianity.
We Jews understand the idea of democracy at the community level; the investing of power in one person. We keep the ability to change him.
In the Galut, Jews organised themselves in guilds. We had to, if not closet anti-Semites ran riot.
We never ran a state. We understood at an academic level. We gave advice; we loaned money. None the less, we never had a state of our own. We can theorise. We make lists containing the constituents of democracy. We speak about free elections. We pontificate on the freedom of the press. We favour an independent judiciary and an autonomous central bank. We appreciate religion, law enforcement and military power are all insulated and controlled. We know all this, in theory. In practice, we lost our way. We cannot set clear boundaries, and we do not have priorities. We cannot define what belongs to what; how they interact and where. We do not know where anything begins and ends.
Our state’s borders and institutions are ill-defined and problematic. Our national ballot box is incapable of imitating its local counterpart.
The government confuses law making, regulating and executive powers. The central elected power is an all-encompassing vacuum. Nature abhors vacuums. We brought with us guilds. Like the orthodox religious movement; they have run wild. And the self-interest groups fill the void.
Our military own the most powerful works committee in Israel, the Ministry of Defense. This sacred cow interferes in government.
Our guilds overpower the services. Our press is no longer free. The press guild does not inform and instruct; it instructs us how to form PC opinion. Israeli media does not report news; it is the news. Along with Guild of Judges and lawyers, they decide what we can think. The press is not free, and the judicial process is neither judicial nor is it independent.
Guilds, with PR and spin, dictate the services. Services, no matter what, fulfil the needs of the provider to provide. The recipients need to receive are secondary.
There are no boundaries; all is both sacred and devalued.
The tail is now wagging the dog.
Our election process is like the big bang. Masses of energy dissipated as a bodies form and tear each other apart. Still, it is beginning to give answers.
An especially destructive constellation orbits around the black hole which was once Bennett and his marauding religious party. All the same, one star has not yet self-destroyed. Our Justice Minister has discovered her gravitas. She fights the self-perpetuating and self -aggrandizing judiciary.
Liebermann, who alternated and either imploded or exploded exhibits signs of stability. In the stability, we see evidence of viability. Liebermann defined the core criteria in demarking our States boundaries. Liebermann believes those wishing to be Israelis be within our state boundaries. Palestinians are free to define themselves. In doing so, they will define where Palestine is. Liebermann tells the Israelis they can be Israeli or Palestinian. They cannot be both. There is only one Leeds Jewish golf course. No one forces a gentile to join. No one forbids him, and no one stops him from playing a round without full membership. There is only one Jewish State. I will not labour the point.
Freedom of the press is above all. The media must regulate itself. The media must embrace ethics and professionality. The media is proving it is incapable of doing any of these things.
Reform is a delicate process. It can go wrong.
Even so, change is essential. The minister in charge of the necessary reform of the media is suitable and capable of providing change.
Zachi HaNegbi is one of our brightest and talented politicians. He will deliver the necessary change.
HaNegbi will lead the way. HaNegbi is no Shiffer. HaNegbi is an experienced consential leader.
He is a Sabra leading the way forward.
We have no experience in running a state. But we are learning.