Recent comments by Israeli celebs that paint Likud voters as racist and bigoted likely to backfire
Israeli model and TV personality Rotem Levi came out recently against the stance taken by the Likud party and the minister for cultural affairs Miri Regev against a coalition that would rely on the votes of Arab members of the Knesset for its majority. The legitimacy of such a coalition as a matter of law is not debated in Israel. Major decisions like the Oslo accords were passed and implemented with the support of the Arab votes in the Knesset since they did not enjoy majority support of the Jewish members. Perhaps in the aftermath of that disastrous decision, however, the moral legitimacy of a government that depends on the votes of Knesset members that wish for nothing better than the destruction of the state in whose parliament they serve is very much a matter of debate in the Israeli voting public.
In this election cycle in particular, with the new Blue and White faction likely to become the largest party in the new Knesset, the issue of blocs and whether these blocs are comprised of entirely Jewish members is undoubtedly the key point of contention. The Likud messaging is laser-focused on letting every Israeli know that by voting for the Blue and White party they will be inviting terror sympathizing Arab members of Knesset to become the swing vote on which the left-center government will depend for its very existence and for the passage of every single measure. This prospect is unpalatable for most Jewish Israelis, but not for the Bohemian left to which both Ms. Gadot and Ms. Levi belong.
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Writing on social media, Ms. Levi asked: “When in in Devil’s name will anyone in this government tell the public that Israel is a country of all its citizens and that all human being, including, God forbid, the Arabs were born equal?”. In response to her post, Ms. Levi has received many indignant replies, including one from Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Dear Rotem,” he wrote on his Twitter account, “an important correction: according to the newly passed Nationality Law, Israel is not a country of all its citizens. It is the national homeland of the Jewish People, and the Jewish People alone.” Netanyahu proceeded to add that Arab citizens of Israel enjoy equal individual rights and that his government has made significant investments in the Arab sector.
Among the flood of negative commentary, Ms. Levi received an important vote of confidence from the Israeli mega-model and actress of Wonder Woman fame, Gal Gadot, who wrote: “The responsibility for ensuring a better future for our children is ours. Rotem, my sister, you are an inspiration to us all.”
The likely outcome of this public discourse between the Tel-Aviv – New York – Los Angeles Ashkenazi crowd to which Levi and Gadot belong and the Sephardi Likud voters who collect penny to penny to go on charter tours of the cheaper resorts in Greece and Turkey is a big win for the Likud. People like Gadot and Levi are shielded by their money and often their dual American or European citizenships from the effects of murderous Arab terror. They don’t shop at the markets or eat at the fast food restaurants that are so often targeted by Arab murderers. Should things become dicey, they can always fly to New York, Miami, or London, while regular Israelis cower in bomb shelters in Shderot and Kiryat Shmona. The folks who get their political advice from the likes of Gadot or Levi, are already voting for left-wing parties, so the only effect of this public spat can be further resonance for the Likud message.
Ms. Levi has perhaps only added to the, from her perspective, negative effect of her statements by releasing another one, this time adopting a clearly passive-aggressive tone. “To all of you that sent me hateful messages,” she wrote, “I love you. Your disgusting comments will not deter me form expressing my opinions. We have a generation of kids growing up here who have never known any hope for peace and that is sad and depressing.”