Seven or eight years ago, during the Rabin government, the
Oslo Accords were born. The Likud, then the opposition
party, was firmly opposed to the accords both in the Knesset
and in mass demonstrations and protest activities across the
country. The Right was up in arms against the proceedings
with the Palestinians, but to no avail. The accords were
signed and dispatched, and the ball was set in motion.
Two Likud MKs made particularly acrimonious remarks in
almost every address they made to the Knesset and its
committees: Uzi Landau, now Security Minister and Interior
Minister, and then Knesset member Benny Begin.
In their addresses Landau and Begin issued numerous
warnings, and their exact words are of course documented in
the Knesset protocols, against the eventuality of Katyusha
rockets, bombs and mortar shells being fired by Palestinians
at Ashkelon and other settlements inside Israeli
Chaim Ramon was the minister who acted as a liaison between
the government and the Knesset and he was the one who was
usually sent by the government to present its response to
motions regarding policy issues or no-confidence motions
concerning the Oslo Accords. Ramon would scoff at Landau and
Begin's repeated warnings against the danger of shooting at
Israeli cities and settlements from Palestinian territory,
completely dismissing the possibility.
Furthermore, over a year after the withdrawal from the Gaza
Strip, which was carried out to justify the Oslo Accords,
Ramon mentioned Landau and Begin's dark warnings and
repeated threats against the possibility of shooting from PA-
held territory into Israeli territory, and pointed out that
in fact nothing had transpired. The accords had been
implemented without incident and peace, it seemed,
Now, seven or eight years later, perhaps longer than Landau
and Begin imagined, these predictions and warnings have come
all too true. Ramon snickered and sneered, but the reality
has now slapped him in the face. Mortar shells have been
fired at Sderot and, according to all the signs, firing
could continue. Begin and Landau can now tell anyone who is
willing to listen, "We hate to say it, but we told you
Friend or Foe?
The National Unity Government and the collaboration between
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Shimon
Peres have given rise to a number of peculiarities. Old
pacts have unraveled while new ones have been forged,
political allies have turned into enemies and vice versa:
The wonderful world of politics with all of the payoffs and
deceitfulness it entails.
Until recently Shimon Peres was the darling of the Left.
Arab MKs constantly sang his praises and he embodied their
vision and aspirations on every issue related to the
Palestinians. Peres is considered the father of the Oslo
Accords, the inventor of the new Middle East and the most
persistent senior policy official in Israel constantly
pushing for peace agreements with the Palestinians.
Last week the chairman of the Arab party in the Knesset,
Mohammed Baraki of Hadash, went and initiated a serious
campaign to revoke Peres' Nobel Peace Prize. If there is
something Peres is proud of, it is the Nobel Peace Prize he
This initiative has no chance, but a great absurdity has
resulted: the Likud and Sharon, who attacked Peres several
years ago for the Oslo Accords and maintained that he should
not be awarded the Nobel Prize, are now forced to defend
him. Meanwhile those who once sang his praises, namely the
Arab MKs, are now calling for the retraction of his Nobel
Another major turnaround has also taken place. Deputy
Defense Minister Dalia Rabin-Pelosof, daughter of the late
Yitzhak Rabin, was until recently considered the princess of
Last week, Rabin-Pelosof was sent to present the
government's response to Yossi Sarid's proposed arrangement.
This is certainly nothing unusual, but Sarid decided he
didn't like the idea of a deputy minister. He apparently
perceived the move as belittling to him and his position,
and was deeply insulted.
"Important, weighty and far-reaching developments are taking
place, and I would expect that when the opposition comes
here to discuss such significant issues, a figure--
regardless of his title--who is a partner in the process of
formulating policy and decision-making . . . I don't think
it's appropriate for a deputy minister to present the
response," said Sarid.
Undoubtedly Sarid has a score to settle with Dalia Rabin for
her decision to join the Sharon government. Until recently,
as the princess of the Left she was used to criticism coming
from the Right, but now Rabin-Pelosof must endure insults
and demeaning remarks from the Left.
Meretz, Shinui and all of the stalwarts of the Left
constantly preach in favor of upholding the law. Indeed the
law must be honored, but this includes every law and not
just those laws that some deem worthy.
Meretz and Shinui have clearly demonstrated--not for the
first time--that there is selectiveness among various laws.
Those laws that are worthy in their eyes and suit their
needs must be honored, and for these laws they are willing
to wage an all-out battle, while those laws that they do not
hold in high esteem are treated very differently, up to the
point of mounting an official campaign not to honor the law
and giving assistance to those who violate the law and
The following incident took place during Pesach. The State
of Israel has a law on the books called the Chometz Law.
This law, which was passed in the Knesset several years ago,
prohibits the open sale of chometz on Pesach in
public thoroughfares. The Interior Minister dispatched
inspectors to visit restaurants and stores that sold
chometz, and the inspectors fined the chometz
sellers -- as the law unequivocally stipulates.
Rather than all of the Knesset members backing the
government body responsible for enforcing the legislation
just like every other law on the books, Shinui MKs took to
the city streets, to those very restaurants, and abetted the
violation of the law that takes place there. Of course they
had arguments against the law, but that should make no
difference. A law is a law is a law, as they constantly
preach, and thus they should be the first ones to uphold the
law. The stalwarts of law and order from Shinui are no less
hypocritical than everyone else.
Another example: In Tel Aviv University storerooms lie human
bones that should have been buried according to the law that
holds human bones do not fall under the category of
"artifacts." The university agreed to bury the bones a year
and a half ago. However, citing various claims such as a
manpower shortage, the university has yet to bury all of the
bones. That is an obvious violation of the law.
Not long ago Rabbi Moshe Gafni went to Tel Aviv University
and protested the continued desecration of the bones in
violation of the agreement reached with the university.
Meanwhile Anat Maor of Meretz, chairwoman of the Knesset's
Science and Technology Committee, rushed to convene an
urgent meeting of the committee, then on recess, to discuss
the visit to the Department of Anatomy at Tel Aviv
University by a delegation of rabbonim, as if MKs are
prohibited from visiting the university and voicing protest
against incidents they deem to be undesirable, particularly
in the case of a clear violation in which the law of the
State of Israel.
Instead of backing the MK taking action to uphold the law,
Maor convened the committee in order to sabotage the work of
a fellow MK and to assist a lawbreaker.
At the conclusion of the meeting Maor decided, in the name
of the committee, to change the law. The law states that
desecrating human bones is illegal, but Maor has pushed a
decision to change what she terms "this distortion."
The committee, i.e. Maor, also decided to contact the
Attorney General "to determine whether the current
interpretation of the Artifacts Law does not impose limits
on the freedom of science and research." Ribono shel
Olam! Are there no other laws that interfere with other
areas of life? Of course there are. But a law usually comes
to defend a particular institution or right, and as such,
someone else is liable to be affected by it.
The law in question defends human bones, the bodies of the
departed, and nobody has the right to touch them or to make
use of them. And along comes Maor and claims that it hinders
research. So what if it hinders research? Since when do
researchers have the right to touch something that doesn't
belong to them for the sake of research or anything else, no
matter how important?
But to Meretz MKs, like their colleagues in Shinui, the law
is the law only when it accords with their agenda and their
worldview. Otherwise they are willing to convene an
emergency meeting to assist lawbreakers and to legitimize
trampling the law underfoot.