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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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