'The settlers have seized control of the Israeli flag'

Senior Haaretz commentator blames 'settlers' of Judea and Samaria for a decrease in the number of Israeli flags waving on Independence Day.

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Arutz Sheva Staff,

Nehemia Stressler
Nehemia Stressler
Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

Senior economics commentator for the leftist Haaretz newspaper, Nehemia Strassler, lamented what he claimed was a decrease in number of Israeli flags seen this year on Israeli Independence Day.

In an article he published in Haaretz, Strassler blamed the - unproven - decrease on “settlers” in Judea and Samaria.

“The number of flags waving this year on cars and porches was embarrassingly low. I remember how my father was accustomed to decorating the porch with green branches on which he hung pictures of the Chief of Staff and President - and Israeli flags,” he said.

“Since then,” he mourned, “everything has changed. The nationalistic Right headed by the settlers has seized control of the flag. They wave it in defiance, as they hold their violent marches in the heart of Hevron, or when they go riot in a neighboring village. They use the flag so that it will be clear to everyone who is in control and who is being controlled.”

He attacked what he called “the racist Right.” “Lehava, ‘La Familia,’ and the ‘Lions of the Shadow’ wrap themselves in Israeli flags every time they set out for a violent demonstration. The result is that whoever sees himself as a liberal or moderate or man of the Left finds it hard to identify with the symbol whose smell has become odoriferous. Therefore, such a person doesn’t wave it on Independence Day, and the porches are empty. But this is a mistake. Giving up on the flag is surrendering without a fight.”

Strassler called not to give in to “messianic nationalism,” and emphasized that “It is forbidden for the ‘State of Judea’ to lead us to destruction. We need to do exactly the opposite: return the flag to the values of the Declaration of Independence, the values of humanism and equality - and to raise it high, with pride and the demonstration of ownership. By the true Zionists, the dedicated patriots, and not by nationalistic sleepwalkers who endanger the very existence of the state.”

In 2011, Strassler blamed the money allocated to haredi Jews as well as the "settlers" for the rising housing prices. In 2009, he claimed expellees from Gush Katif, who lost their homes and jobs without adequate compensation, were perpetuating their difficult situation in order to exploit the government and gain sympathy.