From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the amazing people who volunteered and with a miniscule budget, operated Zehut’s spectacular campaign.
To you – the thousands of volunteers,
To you – the generous donors,
To you – the amazing and efficient team led by Shai Malkah and Lior Yado,
And to you, my wife Tzippy, who has supported me for 25 years despite everything.
You planted a new dream, a dream of liberty in a new generation in Israel. Much is yet to be written on what transpired in our Land in the 2019 elections. But what moved me more than anything else were the tens of Israelis who had left Israel years ago, but flew in especially to vote for Zehut. They left because of the enslavement and they owed it to themselves to make the small effort that could have returned their country to them – and them to their country.
We still cannot be completely sure of the final result of the elections. The soldiers’ votes have not yet been counted. But the question of whether Zehut will get into the Knesset or not is pushed aside by the much greater question: What will happen to Zehut’s great message of liberty? To where did the fighting spirit that took an entire generation by storm and generated more enthusiasm around Zehut than any other party managed to produce –disappear? Where were the thousands who sang at Hangar 11 last week with tears in their eyes? What happened to the polls that predicted eight mandates?
When I was asked during the campaign how such diverse elements all connected with Zehut, I explained that the unifying factor was the aspiration for liberty, the will to get the State out of our lives. I added that I still hadn’t completely understood the phenomenon.
Just over the last day, when Shas, Kulanu and Agudah announced that they would not join a coalition with Zehut, I understood my own message on a deeper level.
What on earth is the connection between Shas, Kulanu, and Agudah? What is their common denominator against Zehut – a common denominator much greater than the sectoral and ideological differences between them?
And what is the connection between those three parties and the United Right and the Yesha rabbis, who ran a hate campaign against Zehut (instead of against the New Right, which betrayed them)? And what is the connection between all of them and Meretz, Ha’aretz newspaper, mainstream media, Rivkah Michaeli, Gilah Almagor and the entire old-time, satiated Left who attacked Zehut as only the Left knows how to do?
And what is the connection between all of them and the Director of Israel’s National Insurance, who, with total disregard for the law, took the liberty of also attacking Zehut?
Of what were they all so afraid? What scared them more than any of the other parties and established institutions? The other beliefs and approaches? Was Zehut espousing a racist ideology? Extreme nationalism?
Zehut focused on economy, education, separation of religion and state and legalization. You can agree or disagree with a plank in our platform, but the venomous campaign that combined all possible methods of fake news and de-legitimization from perhaps every institution and power hub in Israel – has to be motivated by a very deep reason.
Israeli society is built on a large number of sectors, tribes, ethnic subdivisions and faiths. There are many walls that divide us. Every one of these sectors has its leaders. Once every four years, the leaders incite their group against the other groups. Most of the campaigns are based on “It’s either us or them.”
When the results of the elections come in, the borders of how the spoils will be divvied up between the parties and the heads of the sectors are delineated. It is decided who will get what from the spoils of the public at large. In this way, the power of the established institutions is preserved – by means of arousing hatred between the groups.
This is how it has been working for 70 years. Divide and conquer, divide and pillage…
Zehut came along and threatened the entire system. It said to the young Haredi, ‘You don’t have to hate the secular and vote Agudah to get funding for your yeshivot. You’ll be getting a schooling voucher like every other citizen.’
Zehut said to the secular young person, ‘You don’t have to hate the Haredi and vote for Meretz so that if you want, you will be able to marry in Israel as you wish, because we will be separating religion from state anyway.’
To the young couples Zehut said, ‘You don’t have to hate the tycoon who sells you Israeli cottage cheese that is more expensive than exactly the same product in New York, because the State will no longer be arranging protective tariffs. Instead, it will expose the tycoons to competition so that you will be able to pay the same price for your food products that the people in America and Europe pay.’
To the poor, Zehut said, ‘You don’t’ have to hate the National Insurance because if you like, you can purchase the same insurance on the private market.’
In this way, in more and more fields, Zehut eliminated the need to hate one another and to fight one another, which in turn empowers the State to force our whims on one another.
The State belongs to us. We are not subservient to it, enslaved to the established institutions that pretend to represent us and work for us.
By removing the barriers of hatred, Zehut found itself threatened by all the parties and all the established institutions.
Zehut threatened to change the system.
That is why they all joined forces against us in a targeted and glorious eradication campaign, which apparently ultimately succeeded in overturning and eroding our voter base.
But the message of liberty has already set out. An entire generation was exposed to it and we have no right to extinguish the flame.
Baruch shehechiyanu v’kiymanu v’higianu lazman hazeh.
Whatever the final result may be, Zehut will continue to herald the message of liberty to the Israeli public.
We respect all the new and old Members of Knesset. But we do not see a new message of change coming from them – not social, not economic and certainly not security/diplomatic.
Our new leaders and Knesset Members are clueless as to how to deal with the main challenges facing Israel. The 2019 elections will soon be recognized as a zero sum game.
You and I do not have the privilege to go home.
And as long as we don’t do so, not one ounce of the titan effort that we invested will be for naught.
We will be there for our Nation and our country so that when its consciousness ripens a bit more – just a drop more– Zehut will be there to present Am Yisrael with the freedom revolution. And Am Yisrael will reach out to embrace it.