When Caring for "The Other" Turns You into An "Other"

Yisrael Medad,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Yisrael Medad
I am a resident of Shiloh, with my wife and children, and now grandchildren, since 1981, having come on Aliyah in 1970. I have served in a volunteer capacity as a Yesha Council spokesperson, twice a member of Amana's secretariat, Benjamin Regional Council plenum member and mayor of Shiloh. I was a parliamentary aide for Geula Cohen and two other MKs, an advisor to a Minister, vice-chairman and executive director of Israel's Media Watch and was Information and Content Resource coordinator for the Begin Heritage Center. I am now Deputy Editor of the critical edition in anthology of Jabotinsky's writing in English.

I found this in this year's insert called "Passover Supplement" sent out by J Street:-

WE ARE TROUBLED when we see fear and hatred toward “the other” in Israel. In our beloved Israel, it is sadly common to encounter fear and loathing of “the other” with whom we share the land. Even in times of turmoil and insecurity, we must strive to empathize with our neighbors and treat all with dignity. We must commit ourselves to working together with Israelis and with Palestinians to realize a future of freedom, justice and peace.

The main message is true and I identify with it.  Just because someone is different, whether of another color, a religion, a language, a culture, a nationality, a gender or such, that in and of itself does not permit hatred, or persecution or discrimination.

However, in Israel, the first question that must be asked of the authors of this supplement section is "with whom we share this land" means what? Do the Arabs want to share with us this land? Or, in a sense, they demand to be "the Other" by choice by various acts, from non-payment in full of taxes, allowing radical MKs to represent them, signing petitions demanding ethnic autonomy and even joining local terror groups or even Daesh.

Do the-Arabs-who-refer-to-themselves-as-Palestinians wish to share this land with us?  Is it really fair to ask this as we read in the supplement:-

Who is being treated as “the stranger” or “the other” in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza?

And the phrase "in times of turmoil and insecurity" is a bit parve.  It's called terror. It is violence directed in the main against civilians. It is murder by knives, by ramming cars, by axes, by bombs.  To seek to compare any irregularities, that are usually punished, to actions the Arab "Other" is insidious and immoral.

And lastly, Passover is the holiday that celebrates the exit of Egypt towards the Promised Land.

What do we sing in Dayeinu?

If He had given us the Torah, and had not brought us into the land of Israel, Dayenu, it would have sufficed us!

If He had brought us into the land of Israel, and had not built for us the Beit Habechirah (Chosen House; the Beit Hamikdash), Dayenu, it would have sufficed us!

Is this also a J Street dictum or is this an "Other" for J Street?

And if this is strange and unaccepted by J St., perhaps they are an "Other".

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