“The ugly attacks led by the far right on all the foundations of democracy are creating a threat that will make the country overly nationalistic, radical, and messianic – and anybody thinking differently is doomed to be defamed, incited against and delegitimized,” said IDF Brigadier General (ret) Giora Inbar of the comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political allies about the New Israel Fund.
Inbar, 62, is a former commander of the IDF’s Golani Brigade, Givati Brigade, elite Shaldag Unit, and the Lebanon Division. He is the latest in a long list of leading Israeli public figures including IDF generals such as former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Labor party chairman Amram Mitzna to express solidarity with NIF.
These generals are saying that an attack on the New Israel Fund is effectively an attack on the Israeli public.
“People like me,” explains Inbar, “who have given the best years of our lives to the war for the country’s security and are deeply anxious about the values of the State of Israel and its morality and the democratic composition of the Zionist idea — feel compelled to defend NIF and donate to its aims — so that even people that don’t think like Bibi and his supporters can have their views heard.
“If we don’t come to our senses, we are taking giant strides towards losing the Zionist idea. Everything we dreamed of, fought for, and risked our lives for could be lost. At this rate we risk becoming a dark, religious, primitive dictatorship without civil freedom and equality.
“The only path that still gives us a chance are the liberal voices who carry with them the ethics and values of the founding fathers, and who are worried, like I am, about Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy which provides equality for all its citizens. There need to be enough courageous people to fight this to the bitter end and to not let the extreme minority set the agenda. It’s a war about living or dying.”
Inbar believes that the programs supported by NIF “are the lifeblood of democracy and are working to build an Israeli society based on equality, democracy, and justice… The government is fighting to stop this, and that only strengthens the need for organizations like NIF and so we need to bravely lift up our heads and raise resources for them.”