Israel our home
The police has been stalking him for years, his accent is still heavy, and it’s difficult to find a photo of him without his eyes looking scary. But it is Avigdor Lieberman’s policies that present a challenge to us all.
He and his Yisrael Beitenu (Israel our Home) party shouted out a clear message in the election adverts: We have a problem with Israel’s Arab citizens. “No citizenship without loyalty” was the cry, full of images of pro-Hizbollah and Hamas demonstrations taking place inside Israel’s Arab villages. While a sharp intake of breath could be heard throughout the land, the fact is that Yisrael Beitenu is steadily gaining ground in the polls. There is a good chance they will overtake Ehud Barak’s Labor Party.
Commentators and politicians condemn Lieberman’s racist rhetoric, but while his answers may be outrageous to many, his questions should be critical to all. What should be the response of a democratic state when a member of Knesset praises Israel’s enemies, and even meets with them? When does loyal critique become plain enmity? Our answers may be very different from those of Avigdor Lieberman, who does not seek to revoke the citizenship of Yigal Amir or Mordecai Vanunu but only that of Arabs, but the question itself is legitimate and important.
It would seem that as long as every Jewish party avoids addressing this complicated issue, Lieberman’s straightforward answer will be the only one to be heard by Israel’s electorate.
Are there other answers to Avigdor Lieberman’s questions?