An Open Letter to Bibi Netanyahu from a Former Likud Member
By: Paula R. Stern
One of the first things I did in the early years after making aliyah more than 16 years ago, was join the Likud party. It was the party of Menachem Begin; it was the party of strength. It was a party not afraid to make peace and not afraid to wage war. It did both with pride and determination. From Menachem Begin, the torch was handed to Ariel Sharon.
He stood gazing at the Mediterranean from a hill a few minutes from my home and explained that it would be insane for Israel to pull out of Samaria (Shomron). “You don’t surrender the hills,” Sharon said that day.
I voted for Sharon, as I would have voted for Menachem Begin if I had managed to come to Israel at a younger age. With pride and determination. I gave him my vote because I believed he would uphold the vision of the Likud party – strength, honor, and an unwavering commitment to the land and people of Israel.
Sharon lied. Beyond the corruption that he and subsequent Israeli leaders have shown, Sharon committed the worst sin imaginable in political life. He betrayed his followers. He stole my vote and used it to evacuate Gush Katif. He did it with malice and cruelty, to a people who had supported him, trusted him.
I vowed to quit the Likud but friends convinced me that the worst of the party had pulled themselves out into Kadima and that the Likud that remained would return to its roots. I wanted desperately to believe. One last time, I listened to the voices who spoke of party strength and vision, a commitment to the land of Israel and the future.
I believed and voted for Bibi Netanyahu as the only viable candidate to save us from worse and almost immediately after my vote, I realized that I had been wrong. The dream of the Likud is gone. Lost. Betrayed. Gone.
A few months ago, I called my bank and canceled my membership in the Likud. “Not with my vote,” I told my friends. Whatever Bibi Netanyahu will do, it won’t be with my support.
Tonight, he betrayed the Likud members, as surely and as completely as Ariel Sharon betrayed the residents of Gush Katif and northern Shomron. With pride and determination, I tell you, Bibi, you do not have my support. You do not have my vote and you do not have my faith.
We have no peace partner. You know this, you have said it enough times. But you will do this – stop building in our land, in exchange for promises of American support from Barack Hussein Obama. What a fool you are and what a fool you have made of Likud.
But this time, it was not with my support. This time, Likud veers to the left and I continue on the path that Menachem Begin and others proposed years ago. There will be peace when the Palestinians accept who we are, what we are, and where we are.
All you do, as Sharon and Rabin did before you, means nothing if you can’t accept that simple fact…and more, if you lack the courage to explain it to the world. The closer you convince the world we are to this imagined peace you seek, the sooner bombs will start exploding in our streets. Hamas will push you back to sanctions and actions so that they can cry their tears and demand world condemnation.
And when the bombs explode…you’ll order a closure to try to prevent further attacks. And the world will condemn us again – as they did the last time, as they always do. This freeze means nothing other than your complete lack of courage.
You shame the Likud party; you shame Menachem Begin. Without doubt, Ariel Sharon and Yitzchak Rabin would take pride in what you’ve done tonight because in the end, what mattered to them, what matters to you, is what the world says, what the Americans think.
And so, you have betrayed your supporters and followed well in the paths of other recent Likud leaders. But what you haven’t done, is shame me because I disengaged from Likud, I left, I surrendered the party to you, but not the land.
As the old adage goes: Fool me once, shame on you – that was Ariel Sharon. Fool me twice, shame on me. You didn’t fool me, Bibi – I left Likud and in my leaving, I take my pride, my determination, and my love of the land of Israel.
There are words that become associated with people. Neville Chamberlain will forever be tied to the word “appeasement”. Ariel Sharon will be remembered for betraying his followers and you, Bibi, will be remembered for your stupidity.