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Op-Ed: Why I Loathe the Israeli Elite

Israel's oligarchy has no time or interest to spare for the tragic murder of Baruch Mizrahi.
Published: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:12 PM


There is an expression in the Mishna: "In a place where there is no one else [doing what needs to be done], try to be a man".

Baruch Mizrahi was that man.

A strange atmosphere of heavy acquiescence, guilty silence and moral equivalence followed his assassination on the road to Hevron. Then, when I saw the photos from his funeral, the face of his wife and the pain of his children and friends, I understood something even more intolerable, even though it needs to be said.

Israel today is dominated by a cold and cynical oligarchy, a self proclaimed élite which made possible the last unpunished assassination near Hevron.

These are the well-connected billionaires, who turned Judaism's aspirations into a quest for a materialist “quality of life”; the privileged politicians, the new “doves” who are pushing Israel to talk to its existential enemies; the mainstream journalists whose writings exude political hatred, moral hypocrisy and defeatism in every sentence; the army personnel, who act as though they are there to protect the Arabs, not the Jews; the judiciary bureaucrats, who turn Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria to rubble, as they did in Yitzhar; the educators who taught a generation of Jews that the Torah Judaism which they so loved was silly, primitive and childish.

Hatred is not considered so bad in Israel. As long as one hates the right people. And there is no better target than the religious - the nationalist camp and the hareidim.

Zeev Sternhal, a leading expert on fascism, once suggested that destroying the “settlements” with IDF tanks would be salutary for the nation and advised terrorists to aim at "settlers" rather than other Israelis.

And artist Yigal Tumarkin proclaimed that “when I see the black-coated hareidim with the children they spawn I can understand the Holocaust”.

Nothing happened to Sternhal and Tumarkin. In fact, Sternhal received the Israel Prize despite those immoral statements.

The pious and brave people who live in Judea and Samaria, who serve in the IDF elite units, who defend the borders with their bodies, who give meaning to being Jewish: these are the people, like the Mizrahis who are collectively labelled “freedom-haters”, “monsters”, “sadists”, “madmen”, “gangsters”, “criminals”, “thugs” and “pogromists" who spend their time "rampaging, cursing, threatening, beating, going wild".

It is also because of that failed Israeli oligarchy, the embodiment of  Israel's inner anti-Semitism, that the day after Mizrahi was murdered, I didn’t see the sad news in the European media. The frontpage story was about graffiti painted on a mosque. Not a word about the Jewish father of five assassinated on the road to the City of the Patriarchs on his way to the Passover Seder - and who wasn't even a "settler".

The Israeli élite would have been a little more convincing in their condemnation of Mizrahi’s killing had they not been so damnably selective and insufferably pious about it. Censure of Arab-Islamic hatred for Jews is to be found almost nowhere in the Jewish media.

Even scarcer is any rebuke of the intellectual hatred for the “settlers” and the religious.