Amnon Danker, former editor of Israel’s popular Hebrew newspaper, Maariv, writes:
… I have felt lately that it has become shameful to be an Israeli, and a decent person must feel this shame and blush deeply and clear his throat and whisper to himself the question, what should we do, what should we do, for heaven’s sake, and perhaps even reach far-reaching conclusions.
Because it is fairly clear already that if our life here continues as it has been developing, then decent, moderate, balanced and humane people will not be able to live here. Before our eyes, with growing speed, Israeli society is changing, the political culture is changing, balances are disrupted and checks are tossed to the blazes, in the terrible wind that is blowing in our lives and quickly colouring them in darkening shades of black.
It seems that things that were bottled up in the Israeli soul, well hidden due to the shame, are suddenly erupting with a sense of release and capering in a disgraceful manner in full view. It is now permissible to be a racist, and permissible to take pride in it, and it is permissible to kick democracy and take pride in that, and it is permissible to cause injustice and exploitation and trample people’s rights, if the people in question are Arabs, and it is permissible to take pride in this too. There are MKs [members of Israel’s parliament] that engage in all this with great skill, and with smiles that cannot fail to send a shiver down one’s back. There are entire parties whose colour and music arouse shocking and horrific memories.
Sometimes I try to do the following exercise: To think that I went to sleep sometime in the 1980s or 1990s, and what I have been experiencing here recently is no more than a nightmare. After all, this cannot be. Not here. Not among Jews. And yet—it is happening.
When people comment on this venomously around the world, we object almost instinctively and say, no, that is too much already. It is only anti-Semitic hate propaganda. But with a hand on the heart — are we not becoming, from year to year, more and more like our monstrous caricature, which is drawn by our worst enemies? For really, where are we going? Think for yourselves, as unpleasant as this may be: Are we becoming more or less racist? More or less democratic? More or less decent? And alas, in our decline to brutality, within this terrible deterioration, if only we could at least take comfort in the fact that we were perhaps becoming worse and more contemptible, but also safer and better protected. But once again, with a hand on the heart: Is this true, or is it exactly the opposite?
For it is not only a disgrace to be an Israeli today, it is also deathly frightening. [Continue reading…]
[H/t Ann El Khoury.]