By Daphne Anson
Here’s the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.
Crunch time has come for approximately 6.5 million Jews and Arabs to vote on Israel regaining immediate sovereignty in parts of the Jewish People’s biblical and ancient heartland in Judea and Samaria – 3000 years after its loss.
Voter apathy could possibly see this historic opportunity being lost because of these existing political realities:
- Current Prime Minister and determined proponent for claiming immediate sovereignty in Judea and Samaria – Bibi Netanyahu – could lose voter support as corruption charges against him have been fixed to commence just fifteen days after the 2 March elections
- Netanyahu’s challenger as Israel’s next Prime Minister – Benny Gantz – wants to maintain the current status quo in Judea and Samaria pending agreement in tandem with Israel’s Arab neighbours and possibly in co-ordination with the international community – which could mean never.
- These upcoming elections will be the third held in the last 12 months since two earlier elections in April and September 2019 – which resulted in deadlocks that prevented either Netanyahu or Gantz being able to acquire the 61 seats required to form government.
- Voter turnout at the April 2019 election was only 68.46% and only slightly higher in September 2019 at 69.83%
- Support for the major Arab political parties has risen from 7.82% in April 2019 to 10.6% in September 2019
- Gantz has refused to have any televised debates with Netanyahu.
- Gantz is now facing a probe by the Attorney General into the affairs of a bankrupt company – The Fifth Dimension – of which Gantz himself was Chairman
Voters might be tempted to throw up their hands in despair at this seeming turmoil in Israel’s political system and simply not turn up to vote – thereby possibly denying the fulfilment of a dream that was reborn 100 years ago at the San Remo Conference in April 1920 and sealed with the Treaty of Sevres in August 1920 – culminating with the League of Nations unanimously creating the Mandate for Palestine in July 1922 recognizing the Jewish People’s right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine.
100 years later the Jewish National Home exists – but sovereignty in its ancient and biblical heartland – Judea and Samaria – does not.
President Trump’s Peace Plan released on 28 January 2020 recognizes Israeli sovereignty being extended into parts of Judea and Samaria whilst recognizing the creation of a 22nd Arab State in the residue for the first time in recorded history.
Rejection of Trump’s Plan by the Arab League on 1 February has led to the formation of a joint American-Israel Mapping Committee which is expected to produce a map in two months designating the areas of Judea and Samaria where Israeli sovereignty can be extended immediately.
Gantz has not embraced Trump’s Plan with the same enthusiasm as Netanyahu – choosing to maintain the existing status quo in Judea and Samaria for an indefinite period of time.
Had Gantz and Netanyahu agreed – voter apathy would not have mattered. Both major political parties would have been locked in to immediately implementing sovereignty in Judea and Samaria with America’s approval. Lack of unanimity demands condemnation by Jews worldwide.
The portents for another low voter turnout have been signalled by the announcement that only 66% of eligible Israeli diplomats, members of official delegations and their families abroad have voted – a decline from the 69.5% turnout in the September 2019 election.
Hopefully, the historic significance of these elections will generate a much larger local turnout of at least 75-80%. The future of the Jewish People’s heartland deserves this level of minimum participation from those Jews and Arabs blessed to have been chosen to make this momentous decision.
Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article by Yaakov Kirschen – aka “Dry Bones” – one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog