When Israel’s guns go silent, its demons roar

Gideon Levy writes: This fall a culture war, no less, broke out in Israel, and it is being waged on many more, and deeper, fronts than are apparent. It is not only the government, as important as that is, that hangs in the balance, but also the very character of the state. Our way of life is about to change, from cradle to grave. For this reason, it could be the most pivotal battle in the country’s history since the War of Independence.

We always knew that a few years without an external threat could strain the delicate seams: When the guns go silent, the demons roar. But no one predicted such an outburst of demons of every kind, all at once. The assault on the existing order is an all-out war, on every front; a political tsunami, a cultural flood and a social and religious earthquake, all still in their infancy. Those who call this an exaggeration are trying to lull you to sleep. The defeats and the victories up to now will determine the course of events: In the end, we will have a different country. The pretension of being an enlightened Western democracy is giving way, with terrifying speed, to a different reality – that of a benighted, racist, religious, ultranationalist, fundamentalist Middle Eastern country. That is not the kind of integration into the region we had hoped for.

The ferocious combined assault is highly effective. It targets women, Arabs, leftists, foreigners, the press, the judicial system, human rights organizations and anyone standing in the way of the cultural revolution. From the music we listen to, to the television we watch, from the buses we ride to the funerals we attend , everything is about to change. The army is changing, the courts are in turmoil, the status of women is being pelted with rocks, the Arabs are being shoved behind a fence and the labor migrants are being forced into concentration camps. Israel is barricading itself behind more and more walls and barbed-wire fences as if to say, to hell with the world.

There is no single guiding hand mixing this boiling, poisonous potion; many hands stir the revolution, but they all have something in common: the aspiration to a different Israel, one that is not Western, not open, not free and not secular. The extreme nationalist hand passes the antidemocratic, neofascist laws; the Haredi hand undermines gender equality and personal freedoms; the racist hand acts against the non-Jews; the settler hand intensifies the hold not only on the occupied territories but also deep into Israel; and another hand interferes in education, culture and the arts.

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3 thoughts on “When Israel’s guns go silent, its demons roar

  1. Mark Tongberg

    So you look at your own mirror image and you say OK thats not me thats my enemy.
    ” I saw the enemy and the enemy is us ” Cognitive dissonance mixed in with tribal
    mythology of being exceptional and chosen is a poisonous brew and the only antidote
    is large dose of reality with a bit of truth and empathy .” Mazel tov .”

  2. delia ruhe

    I think very few people understand what a desperate situation obtains in Israel. Levy gets at it here. Israel is bleeding people, and the ruling elite are desperate to revive their population’s faith in Israel’s military might — the ability of the IDF to protect Israelis. The longer the “guns remain silent,” the louder the “demons roar.” Israel needs to decimate some enemy, but there’s no enemy they can liquidate — to wit, Hitzballah in 2006, Hamas in 2009, and it can certainly do nothing to effect regime change in Iran without the help of the US, which also has a lengthening history of not being able to win any wars. In short, crying “security!” for so long is backfiring, because having cried it for so long, Israel has raised expectations that absolute security is possible, yet it keeps proving that it can’t supply it.

    Americans have been so obsessed with their own decline that they cannot see that Israel is declining at an even faster rate. The economy in the US will eventually recover, although it will probably take another 6 or 7 years. But once it does, I think what we’ll be seeing is a huge exodus from Israel to the Diaspora, leaving Israel to the Jewish fundamentalists and Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman. And a coupla hundred nukes. God help us.

  3. dickerson3870

    RE: “We always knew that a few years without an external threat could strain the delicate seams: When the guns go silent, the demons roar. ” ~ Gideon Levy

    THE WORDS OF A FORMER ISRAELI:

    (excerpt)”…Israelis have never been particularly kind to each other. It’s one of the reasons I left actually. In my late twenties I started to grow weary of the unkind, harsh and unforgiving atmosphere around me. It was a tough place to live in not because of our ‘enemies’ but because of how people treated one another. You would believe that we were all enemies rather than people who have some kind of a shared heritage. The only thing that could unite people and temporarily brought out more kindness and a sense of cooperation was a feeling of being under collective threat, and in particular a ‘good wholesome war’…” ~ Avigail Abarbanel

    SOURCE – http://www.avigailabarbanel.me.uk/gaza-2009-01-04.html
    AVIGAIL ABARBANEL’S SITE – http://www.avigailabarbanel.me.uk/

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