Every citizen of Israel knew that Binyamin Netanyahu would get elected in the shadow of the global financial crisis. After all, this is the man who brought privatization to Israel in a capitalistic world economy (i.e. US economy – the rest of the world doesn’t really count). Typical of Israeli confusion, every citizen of Israel knew that Binyamin Netanyahu would continue promoting his own agenda, and that the working man and especially woman, education and health care would suffer. And yet they voted for him.
Not Capitalism – Militarism!
Netanyahu indeed decided to put his own agenda before the people, but it seems his values have shifted. It’s not getting his own class and friends richer, that interests him anymore. Netanyahu, who dared to cancel the tax cuts for settlers, in 2003, saying (limited by my translation) "…a step in which, in his words, he preferred his economic approach over his approach to the settlements.", has now chosen to prefer his approach to Iran over his economic approach.
As the budget debates were reaching a closing, Ha’aretz broke out with this sickeningly capitalist/militarist biased article, titled "Netanyahu Caving to Unions". As if the unions weren’t weak enough in Israel, let’s paint them powerful and evil. Proving that the unions are in fact meaningless, the team of journalists (the joke of "how many idiots it takes to screw a light bulb?" comes to mind…) confuse the Labor party* with the unions. Then throws the Ministries of Education, Health and Welfare into the mix, saying they "are likely to bare their teeth". Oh the monstrosity!
How does this messy, confused and confusing journalism happen? How does an article titled "PM Caving to Unions" focus on defense budget? That’s what you get for appointing the head of the labor party (an ex-Commander in Chief of the IDF) to be Defense Minister, in an already frighteningly militarized nation.
The Orwellian Dream Team
So what came out of all the budget hubbub? Three new ministries will be erected in Israel (in addition to some questionable splits in the culture, educational and transport ministries):
- The Ministry of Intelligence and Atomic Energy
- The Ministry of Strategic Affairs
- The Ministry of Information (= "Hasbara" in Hebrew) and Diaspora.
That’s right, it’s the Ministry of Love, the Ministry of Peace, and the Ministry of Truth. And Orwell is having himself a laugh and a giggle and a bottle of rum, 6 feet under.
Before any more of my optimism pours out, let’s understand the extent of the damage:
- The Ministry of Intelligence and Atomic Energy (limited by my translation)- "The ministry deals with intelligence, but no authority from other offices was passed on to it and no other authority that deals with the issue has been subjugated to its authority." It goes on to say that Shabak and Mosad are still under the Prime Minister’s office and Aman- under the IDF- is still under Ministry of defense.
- Ministry of Strategic Affairs- The post was invented for Avigdor Lieberman, who wanted his thick hand in Internal Security. The post was taken, so the overgrown, racist child stomped his foot and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs was born. However, "Lieberman left the government on 18 January 2008, and the ministry was closed down three months later. Following the formation of a new government in March 2009, the post and the ministry were resurrected…" The post entails "….co-ordinating security, intelligence and diplomatic initiatives regarding Iran and other strategic threats…"
- Ministry of Information and Diaspora- I’ll say it again, information, in this case, in Hebrew, translates to Hasbara (click for more information about Hasbara). This is actually not a new post, it took many forms since 1967. Their job is to (limited by my translation) "keep in touch with Jewish communities in diaspora via the consulates and embassies and also the Jewish Agency for Israel" and to "fight anti-Semites around the world". That’s right, lowly clerks by day and vigilantes by night!
So basically, what we’ve got here are two more ministries that do what IDF, Shabak and Mosad do, and one more ministry that does what AIPAC, CAMERA and the Jewish Agency does. My tax money at work and all under the the false assumption that Iran wants to send me to the crematoriums. Well if it was kind enough to hold off until now, I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t start entertaining the notion.
*The labor party never really stood for labor, as this article explains quite explicitly.