Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Av 5766 - August 9, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Politica: Aiding the Enemy

By E. Rauchberger

Freedom of speech is essential in any democracy and stretching it to the limits is legitimate and perhaps even required in a country that holds high the banner of democracy.

Yet freedom of expression does not mean freedom to incite. And above all, in this matter wartime and peace time are not one and the same. With civilians huddling in bomb shelters day after day and thousands suffering from the conflict, critics of the war effort cannot be allowed to decry the state and the IDF as if they were Hizbullah spokesmen.

Left-wing protesters calling for a halt to the fighting are not the problem in this case, for they have the right to believe this war is unjustified. Gezunte heit. Those who feel a greater affinity for Nasrallah and his cohorts than for their own brethren have a psychological problem and need professional help.

But it is wholly unreasonable for people to sit in TV studios in the State of Israel, speaking in fluent English and present fiery opposition, against the present military operations and the officers in the field.

Take Israeli Air Force pilot Yonaton Shapira, for instance. A veteran leftist who signed the infamous pilots' letter three years ago, he was interviewed by CNN during peak viewing hours in the US, claiming that Israel is unnecessarily murdering Lebanese children, is not a democratic country and all of the world's allegations against it are correct.

If this is not considered aiding and abetting the enemy, what is? Security officials and proponents of the rule of law restrict it to right-wing extremists, saying that they pose a threat to the security of the state and its citizens. If remarks that pose a threat to the nation's leaders justify intervention by security and legal entities, why should Arab MKs whose remarks threaten all of the citizens of the State of Israel enjoy legal immunity?

Like all recent wars, the current campaign against Hizbullah is under the eye of the electronic media. Every event is broadcast live around the world and the war over international public opinion is a tough fight that is no less important than the one being waged on the battlefield. So why is the attitude toward those who aid the enemy in the fight over world opinion difference from the attitude toward those who aid the enemy on the battlefield? Doesn't undermining Israel's PR stance undermine the IDF soldier serving in Lebanon?

Any normal country would display a very different approach toward citizens who stab it in the back during wartime. But as in so many other matters, the State of Israel is not a normal country.

Rewritten Protocols

Public organizations large and small keep protocols of every meeting to record what each of the participants said, what decisions were proposed and which were accepted. Thus certainly the Knesset — perhaps Israel's central public organization alongside the government — must keep precise protocols of discussions in the plenum, the committees and every other forum.

At Knesset plenum meetings, stenographers carefully record every word said from the podium, and most of the heckling as well (sometimes remarks go unheard because of the cacophony of shouting or because the remarks are made quietly at a distance).

Since the protocols are complete and unedited, speakers know they must weigh every word, for once the word leaves their mouths it is no longer theirs, but will appear in the protocols — like it or not.

Committee meetings are also recorded, but not with the same accuracy. Surprisingly, committee protocols are subject to editing and deleting by the stenographers and protocol writers. But don't think this is illegal, for as strange as it may sound, they have instructions to edit the protocols. Who oversees this task? No one.

Opher Minreb, president of the Accountants' Bureau, was among those surprised to find the protocols of Knesset committee meetings are edited and rewritten. After taking part in a meeting of the Constitutional Committee he was astonished to discover several sentences of an exchange between him and one of the Knesset legal advisors had been deleted. He considered the remarks important, but apparently the protocol writer felt otherwise.

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