Israel did not have time to realize the scope of Bedouin crime, as the media and Shin Bet started talking about Bedouin terror. The news also took society by surprise. Although the Bedouins have been smuggling for centuries and in some cases – arms trade, it was believed that they were engaged in petty gesheft, did not interfere in politics and were quite loyal to the Jewish state.
On the other hand, Mansour Abbas was always well aware of the potential inherent in the Bedouin community – it was not by chance that he achieved the adoption of a law on electricity for illegal buildings. When the Bedouin turned out to be a time bomb for the government, the one who holds the remote control – that is, he has authority in their eyes. This is not Bennett at all, and not even Lapid, who intervened in the tree planting conflict not very convincingly.
The riots in the Negev began after another attempt by the Jewish National Fund to plant greenery in the area between the spontaneous Bedouin villages. In itself, this action has nothing to do with the environment. This is a pure policy designed to slow down illegal construction, and most importantly – confirm and consolidate the fact of the Jewish presence and state sovereignty in this territory. The Bedouins, for their part, consider these lands their own and are not going to stop building houses and grazing cattle on them. As a result, the plants are still destroyed by the local population, and their planting is not the first time accompanied by clashes and stone attacks. However, now the Bedouins of the Negev have powerful champions in the government in the form of the RAAM party and other left factions who are ready to side with them, as Yair Lapid did when he called for a stop to tree planting.
In fact, in today's scenario, the deputies of the RAAM and the left parties, and not the Bedouin community, play the role of a time bomb. However, this is not a completely correct comparison, since the goal of the leftists – not to destroy the government, which would deprive them of power, but to restructure its policy in their own way. Do you remember what the negative character from Jules Verne's novel “The Fifteen-Year-Old Captain” did? He placed an iron ax under the compass to throw the ship off course. The villain did not want the ship to sink at all, he simply turned it in the other direction. In the same way, the Arab part of our coalition is taking advantage of the events taking place in the country, turning the government to the left. But, unlike the character of Jules Verne, they do it openly, without hiding and without fear of opposition from their right-wing partners. They have nothing to fear. The threat of RAAM to stop voting with the coalition if the Negev does not stop planting trees forces Bennett, Elkin and Shaked to hide their right-wing beliefs and obediently sail according to the arrows of a downed compass. As for Yair Lapid, he has already figured out that the tailwind is blowing from the left, and is trying to improve his rating by playing on the side of RAAM and MERETS.
Today, landings have been suspended, but unrest in the south continues to the applause of Hamas and the evil grins of the opposition. There is a risk that they will develop into a serious confrontation, and talk of Bedouin terror will cease to be a figure of speech. Such a turn will bring the government to the brink of a crisis that it could have avoided if it had thought through its steps in advance. One could, for example, reach an agreement with the leaders of the Bedouin clans or bargain with RAAM in order to get them to take a more restrained position. Even refusing to plant trees under the pretext of the year of Shemitah, when the earth must rest according to Jewish law, would be a more reasonable solution than the current outright capitulation to the stones of the protesters and the blackmail of the Arab party.
The government will probably try to slow everything down, as it has done more than once, getting into difficult situations. If it becomes quiet in the south, then it will gain some more time – until the next crisis. But crises will happen more and more often, because there are much more time bombs in the country than the leadership would like. Netanyahu and his cabinet have been able to navigate this minefield in one direction, bypassing dangerous areas like the Bedouin problem and pretending they don't exist. But it is impossible to avoid explosions by zigzagging. So Bennett and his team are left with one – turn left, where Lapid, Meretz and Arab politicians are pulling them. With each step, this tilt is becoming more and more obvious, although the right-wing members of the government do not want to admit it either to themselves or to the people.
The result of such a left march can be twofold. The first option: the right-wing forces will find the courage not to compromise their principles, listen to their voters and stop giving in to their partners. The left will either reduce its demands, and the course will level out for a while, or internal contradictions will still lead to a crisis, destroy the government and provoke new elections. The further future of Israel is still very unclear, but this is exactly what Likud is waiting for, rejoicing at every blunder of the government.
The second version of the development of events – a gradual movement of politics to the left, one-time, but more and more frequent concessions to the Arabs and Meretz, a distinct shift to the left of the conditional political center in the person of Lapid and Gantz. If this does not happen serious cataclysms, wars and intifadas, if the “crown” retreats, and the leftists are smart enough to promote useful social and economic bills, then the population will not see anything wrong with such a trend. Moreover – the general attitude towards leftist politics may change for the better. What will happen when we have to resolve the issue with the West Bank, Gaza, Iran, Hezbollah? How will we get out of the left turn if there is a threat to the existence of Israel? The current government, more precisely, its right wing, is sure to keep such questions away from itself, otherwise it would have thought through its steps in advance and would not have allowed its left partners to steer the political course in a dangerous direction.
Author//: Irina Petrova