Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Av 5760 - August 23, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
The Israeli Media Lives in a World of It's Own

by A. Yitzchaki

The Israeli media had a field day recently dealing with its own colossal blunder regarding the recent presidential election.

There were those who accused the chareidi representatives -- who, with their tremendous chutzpah, had the courage not to vote for the media's predicted winner. This show of political independence and power led the media to declare that the chareidim had conducted a "stinking maneuver, 2000 style." With this label, of course, they were comparing this episode to a similar ploy that took place ten years ago:

Need a reminder?

The crude term was coined by Yitzchak Rabin with regard to a plot instigated, woven and carried out by his political crony and fellow party member, Shimon Peres. Our Sages have said, "because you drowned others, they drowned you."

All the chareidi-haters came out of the woodwork to once again attack the gall of the chareidim who did not cast their votes for the correct candidate. Worse, they refused to inform the media of their intentions beforehand.

The media, of course, reports only absolute truths, and its reports always represent the height of objectivity. Who, if not the chareidi MKs, took part in the monumental deception?

Any other political body is allowed to vote in any way it seems fit. No one asks why it chooses to vote in one particular way. This is the embodiment of the democratic process. The Likud, the NRP, the new immigrants' parties and the Arabs are all allowed to take part in the democratic process without anyone demanding to know why they acted in a certain way.

Only the chareidi MKs have to dance to the media's tune; to apologize for their own independent thinking.

Journalist Ofer Shelach sums up the media fiasco in a strongly worded article, settling accounts with the entire left-wing camp and the media so addicted to them.

"We haven't heard such `lament, moaning and wailing' from certain parts of Israel this week since Binyamim Netanyahu beat -- would you believe - - Shimon Peres. As always, this group gathered around the usual columnists to bemoan their fate, cascades of anger and fury and a delegation of angels of verbosity:

" 'From a muddy abyss of intrigue, lies, fraud and other abominations,' declared Amos Oz, national literary writer and the broken reed of morality, on which the political left leans. 'Many people were ashamed of themselves and their state,' noted the political commentator. 'The Knesset does not represent the people,' added a radio broadcaster.

"Why the uproar? Because of a single democratic, parliamentary act, similar to the process the elected Ezer Weitzman, Chaim Herzog and their predecessors.

"If only four members of Knesset somehow voted for Peres instead of Katsav, the Knesset would be a true reflection of the people. This didn't happen, and the parliamentary body suddenly turned into a body of despicable villains.

"In light of Peres' history, the burden of proof does not even fall upon anyone claiming that were the vote to be held at the polls he would be assured of victory. 'Peres will lose' is an even stronger political axiom than, 'David Levi will be insulted' or, 'Shas will threaten to leave the coalition.'

"Anyone relying upon public opinion polls to claim otherwise surely is still believing polls in which Peres can beat Netanyahu, Shamir, Begin and Rabin."

"But Peres's periodic debacle is a mere curiosity when compared to the true matter at hand: a lack of recognition of the state of Israel's bankrupt establishment. The truth is: Shimon Peres lost a simple political contest. Nothing mythological about it. Just as a few hours later the government lost a non-confidence motion, the cries of despair among his followers only serve to denote the vast chasm between its members and the state in which they live.

"In spite of his grandiose pronouncements, he is not a tragic hero. If there is no awareness of tragedy, there can be no tragic hero, and Peres ('Am I a loser?') lacks this awareness.

"A mere few hours after he lost, at a time when those who had predicted his victory were sure that he would now leave politics forever, Peres withdrew his letter of resignation from the government. He announced that he would dedicate all his energy to the peace process and gathered a group of supporters, throwing out grandiosely optimistic plans.

"The current Knesset, more than any of its predecessors, accurately represents the Jewish people. 'A right wing sephardim-chareidi coalition was formed against Peres,' bemoaned the losers.

"What exactly are you saying? In case you haven't noticed, this coalition has been in power for the last twenty-five years, notwithstanding two electoral 'accidents.'

"This is the Knesset and such is the people. You can moan all you like, but the people will not turn more left wing, Ashkenazi or secular. The presidential election, like the 5,000-th amendment to the law of financial arrangements...or like MK Goldfarb's decisive vote on the Oslo accords, is a political act.

"And here are some political facts: Peres was the Coalition's candidate. Katsav was the Opposition candidate. As things stand now -- before anyone else resigns -- the Coalition has, until the next resignation, 30 MKs and 52 supporters, including Meretz, MK Bronfman and the Arabs.

"Under such conditions, Peres's garnering 57 votes was a respectable showing. Anyone who may have thought or said differently was again a partner to the peculiar way in which the political left `tribe,' along with its media, just delude themselves, predicting the future in line with their ambitions."

"It is the people who are responsible for this political situation. The prime minister bears no less a burden of responsibility. There were other prime ministers before him who were unsuccessful in getting the candidate of their choice elected to the presidency.

"However, none of them did so little for his candidate. It was Barak that caused Peres's downfall along with the inevitable downfall of his government in a year of failure and arrogant political machinations.

"Ministers noted how he would relate with denigration and attogance to Shas party leader Eli Yishai; in the way he openly related to Shas as a bunch of vote-robbers to be 'purchased' with money. Is it any wonder that the scenes of delight at the calamity for the left seen in the Knesset were rare in their strength.

"Take a look: who was the brunt of this political ploy? Shimon Peres, a man whose history of intrigues, lies, double- crossing and other abominations goes back to the days when Katsav was a kid in the ma'abarah in Kiryat Malachi.

"As usual, immediately following the debacle, the Labor Party began its investigation: who were the traitors, where did the propaganda machine fail, how was it that Minister Chaim Ramon again failed to deliver Shas. I have no idea what the president does. I am convinced that Moshe Katsav will know how to do the job no less than Shimon Peres.

"The story of Katsav is a lesson in democracy: the penniless new immigrant growing up to an admirable political career, finally becoming the number one citizen . . . The left wing `tribe' will yet pay a stiff price for its self-delusion."

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