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January 16, 2012 5:21 pm

Divide and Rule Israel

avatar by Yoel Meltzer

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Israeli Knesset Hall. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Historically one of the most effective ways for overcoming an opponent is to employ the tactic of “divide and conquer”. Whether on the battlefield or the playing field, this all purpose method can be adapted to fit nearly any situation.

Interestingly, the Hebrew translation of this popular phrase is “divide and rule”. In light of recent events in Israel it is clear that the Hebrew translation is far more suitable for this society since the name of the game in Israel is not to conquer per se but simply to rule.

Seen from this angle, a clear pattern can be discerned from the onslaught of negativity being transmitted to the Israeli public for the last month or so. Although societal problems do exist here and no one is suggesting that they be swept under the carpet, the image being depicted of a country that is dominated by extremist religious elements which are threatening to turn Israel into the second coming of Iran is a far cry from the reality of life in Israel. For this reason the hysteria being projected by the media is out of control and beyond any reasonable sense of proportion. Nevertheless, the continuous messages are not surprisingly fanning the flames of anger and division amongst various segments of society.

So what is the reason for the current media bombardment? It’s quite simple. With Knesset elections to be held no later than October 2013, the media, which for the most part is ideologically opposed to a right-wing nationalist coalition despite the fact it represents the will of the majority of the Israeli public, needs to start chipping away at the coalition’s electoral power base in order to effect a change. While they would happily, given the chance, trade in this government for one more to their liking, the last elections clearly showed that unless there is a shift of five to ten mandates towards the left there is almost no chance of a stable left-wing coalition being formed.

Thus, the very dependable tactic of divide and rule is already being employed. By fostering animosity and friction between opposing groups as well as highlighting what divides rather than what unites, the goal is to draw individual voters away from the large right-wing bloc as well as to make it difficult for heterogeneous parties to sit together in a coalition. Moreover, it doesn’t matter if most Israelis see through this thinly veiled attempt to create an exaggerated perception of a divided Israeli society. The goal is not to fool everyone but rather just enough to swing the pendulum back towards the left. It’s a desperate tactic, albeit an effective one.

Hence the Israeli public, the majority of which supports a firm, non-apologetic pro-Israel government, must be on its guard in order to resist the blatant attempts by the media to create additional divisions and discord since not only does needless strife and infighting always prove detrimental for the Jewish people but in this case the main reason behind all the commotion is simply to help certain factions regain power. We’ve been down this path before. Let’s not make the same mistake.

This piece was first published on Ynet.

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  • Pusheter Yid

    100% right!

    2 weeks ago people thought I was a conspiracy freak. Now the facts speak for themselves.

    See my comment which I posted on January 2, 2012 on algemeiner article: http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/01/01/beit-shemesh-the-international-media/

    I copy a part of it here:

    …… It’s no secret that Israel’s media is dominated by the Secular Left. Netanyahu understood this very well once elected and decided to publish his own tabloid which is now Israel’s most circulated daily newspaper, noting that it is free of charge.

    The Kadima Party headed by Tzipi Livni won the most seats in the last election, but could not create a coalition. Netanyahu set a up a strong coalition of Secular Right (Yisrael Beiteinu), Traditional right (Likud), Religious Right-Center (Aguda) Religious Center-Left (Shas), and surprisingly the rival Left Party (Avoda) headed by former PM Ehud Barak.

    Ever since, Tzipi Livni struggles with power in her own party against Shaul Mofaz . She serves as a very sloppy Opposition Leader, with no clear cut vision or ideology. She has run a very impulsive opposition reacting to events which occur and placing the blame on the Coalitions shoulders.

    This was the case of the fraying ties with Turkey which she blamed on Liberman & Netanyahu, only to be reminded by the press that it was actually Kadima in power when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey clashed with Israel’s President Shimon Perez.

    Again she condemned the Netanyahu for the mess caused on the Mavi Marmara Flotilla to Gaza, but public opinion was with the IDF and her opposition became unpopular.

    But then came her chance, the tragic fires on Mt Carmel, where 41 people died after a bus shuttling Prison wardens got engulfed in the fire and was unable to escape back down the road. Shas Leader Eli Yishai who serves as Israels Interior minister was directly blamed by Kadima and its proxies for the deaths caused. He was publicly shamed at a memorial service and was made to leave. The Press made a great deal of this and spent many days and weeks placing the blame on this important coalition member calling for his resign.

    Once Gilad Scahlit was released by Hamas, in exchange for Palestinian terrorists, and returned home, Netanyahu’s rating skyrocketed. Tzipi Livni voiced her opinion against Netanyahu claiming the deal only strengthened the Hamas. The public didn’t buy this cheap attempt of opposition, and demanded to know why, if this was her opinion, she didn’t voice it prior to the closing of the deal.

    Meanwhile, Shelley Haimovitch was elected as chairwoman of the Labour Party (Ehud Barak broke off to form his own party; Independence). This has seriously challenged Livni with Haimovitch a former TV personality and renowned author growing popular with Israeli women.

    So with unpopularity in the public and imminent primaries in her own party, someone had to change her strategy. And so it was, portrayal of the Netanyahu government as an extremist one, or even better, let’s run under the women’s rights banner, two birds with one stone.

    First came the media item of “woman singing in the IDF” upon a silent walkout of some Religious-National soldiers from an event where lady soldiers sung. (According to Halacha, men listening to live women singing should be refrained from). But then, she was reminded that statistically, the Religious-National serve in combat units more than any other group of citizens.

    So finally, her lifesaver: Orthodox segregation on busses. Picking on the Orthodox is easy. They don’t see or hear the Secular Press, nor do they have representation there. One can air his/her opinion or distort facts with no fear of retribution. The Orthodox have only two radio stations and one internet site which attract only orthodox audiences. So their voice is not heard in Public as it should.

    Kadima then launched a capaign “Nashim Kadima” or “Ladies at the Front” advertised on public busses, showing her intentions and without doubt who was behind the last attack on the Charedim.

    I would not be surprised if she garnered international help in her efforts to topple Netanyahu. I remind everyone that Hillary Clinton’s remark of Israel being worse than Iran because of segregation on busses came way before anyone spat or told a lady to move to the back of a bus

    Can anyone remind Livni & Clinton that segregated buses existed under Kadima’s Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert? Where was she then?

    Happy with the ratings, the Israeli Media found it not hard to pick a fight and look for some Charedi reaction, anything and everything connected to women and tzniyut was perpetuated and portrayed as Religious Extreme and Exclusion of Ladies from the public.

    ** Disclaimer: This comment is my personal opinion and view of events, any factual issues should be researched by the readers**