The Murder of Rina Shnerb and the Fight for Israel’s Open Spaces

Aug. 28 2019

Last Friday, Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb that killed seventeen-year-old Rina Shnerb, who was hiking with her family, and wounded her father and brother. The attack comes a few weeks after the murder of nineteen-year-old Dvir Sorek by Hamas operatives near a village bus stop. Gershon Hacohen comments:

From the Palestinian perspective, Jews can—perhaps—be permitted to exist in their urban high-rises and engage in their white-collar occupations in high-tech and commerce. That is the Jews’ place. The open spaces, on the other hand—the fields, springs, and pastures—these the Arabs must control. The former prime minister Ehud Barak used the phrase “villa in the jungle” to describe Israel’s existential experience, a metaphor worth examining. In their quest for security, the Jews exist in spaces surrounded by fences—a type of upscale, safe ghetto with boundaries they dare not cross.

On the face of it, the “villa in the jungle” metaphor [suggests] a modern high-tech-like outlook. . . . In practice, it is a direct continuation of the [centuries-old] diasporic Jewish experience of ghettoization, the Pale of Settlement, and denial of agricultural and farming opportunities that Zionism has sought to reverse.

For decades now, the Palestinians have understood the essence of their struggle better than the Jews have understood theirs. The purpose of the Zionist enterprise was clear long ago, and Israelis would be wise to re-embrace it: re-establishment of statehood and full sovereignty in the Jews’ ancestral homeland in its full scope. Not in a small, ghettoized, urban “villa in the jungle.”

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Diaspora, Ehud Barak, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian terror

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform