Does Israel need peace?
Does Israel need peace?

I realize how provocative, absurd and even monstrous this question might sound, and yet ... does Israel need peace?

The distinguishing element of the recent elections was obvious: they were built on hatred for the head of government and for a specific group in Israeli society - in this case, the haredim (aka Ultra-Orthodox) andl Religious Zionists, part of the current coalition. All the other problems were pushed to the side. A horde of people was led by clear and poorly veiled hatred. This is not a novelty. 

  • Rabin voters were motivated by an irrational hatred for the "settlers." 
  • Tomi Lapid built his political campaign exclusively on hatred for the haredim.
  • In turn, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Arye Deri blasphemed and insulted all groups that were not affiliated with Shas party: secular, non-Jewish, religious Zionists, "Russians", reformists, homosexuals, etc.
  • The hearts of the former USSR emigrants will be forever scarred from the arrogance of the elite and the appalling labeling.

Thus, the essence of the current campaign is not new to anyone. The ghosts of murderous "senseless hatred" ("sinat hinam") are increasingly manifesting themselves: terrible harbingers of national tragedy and self-destruction.

Yet again, does Israel need peace? There are two aspects to the answer : a universal and an Israeli one.

Whether we like it or not, human societies traditionally have identified themselves according to a simple principle: "We and They." 

The presence of a strong and dangerous enemy facilitates the unity of a society, the formation of its spiritual values and prosperity. It was the case in Athens during the wars with Persia and in Rome during the confrontation with Carthage. The republican values of the Romans reached their highest peak - they disappeared when the external enemy was crushed, and Rome went on to larceny and ruthless conquests. 

We have witnessed the same course of action in the USA and the West in general. It’s only in the face of the “Red Scare” that the democratic ideals of American society and its cohesion were extremely strong. Differences in the approach of the Democrats and Republicans basically disappeared: John Kennedy was as resolute as Johnson or Reagan in his willingness to confront the Soviets. And even Carter - a “soft-bodied” hypocrite - was forced to respond to the Kremlin’s aggression in Afghanistan, rallying the nation. 

Paradoxically, the collapse of the Soviets was the beginning of the end of Western democracy. Millennials hate their own values and at same time naively believe in utopian theories. Leftist ideologies flourished in lush color. British Labour and American Democrats look like their predecessors in the same way the Turks of today look like the ancient Hellenes.

Traditional spiritual and moral values are trampled to dust; self-flagellation and ingratiation before modern age barbarians from the East has turned into paranoia.  Churches are turning into mosques. Christianity has given way to new fanatical quasi-religions: globalism, progressivism, the "fight against global warming" and the cult of sexual perversions.

In America, the relations between white majority and the black minority have opened old wounds; in Europe, separatism has gained a new life. Destructive nihilism, avant-garde and anti-rationalism in all spheres of human activity have transformed the West, according to Ulrich Beck’s accurate expression, into a society of “substantial emptiness”.

The European culture, rooted in ancient philosophy, the cult of experience, logic and reason of Locke, Spinoza and Descartes, the moral and ethical ideal of the Biblical prophets, is equated to the culture of the Berbers, Indians of South America and African tribes. No more "French culture". No more "Swedish culture". Oriana Fallaci noted with bitterness that Somali migrants urinating on masterpieces of Florentine masters were the symbol of the new era.

There are no more “boys” and “girls”. There is "Swedish “it” (“hen”); "ze", as laid down by Oxford University; "third gender", according to the German Constitutional Court. There are "pregnant transgender people" and 15 types of sexes, according to a Canadian Federation of Primary School Teachers of Ontario manual. Coevals of those who landed in Normandy 75 years ago locked themselves in "Safe spaces" and coloring pages, unable to endure the anguish of the election of the "bad president."

Like mushrooms sprouting after rain, infantile subcultures have sprung up: Bronies and Furry fandoms, Harry Potter fandom etc. Universities have become their own parody. One of the graduate students published the article "The conceptual penis as a social construct”as a joke. This "Study" was greeted with enthusiasm.

God was declared dead - he was replaced by exhibitionism, as a form of gaining unlimited happiness. The new rulers of thoughts praised schizophrenic thinking, overthrew the "suffocating" logic, declared as irrelevant the concepts of "good" and "evil", "morality" and "immorality", "truth" and "lies".  Witchcraft, astrology, belief in Lizard People and aliens have become part of the mass consciousness of not-long-ago rational nations. 

Before the elections in 2013, National Geographic Channel sponsored a survey to check Which Presidential Candidate [Barack Obama or Mitt Romney] Would You Trust During An Alien Invasion? 65% of respondents said that Obama would cope better with this challenge. Supporters of "flat earth” theory and even cannibalism revival have emerged to help prevent global warming. 

announced that New 'Little Mermaid' will be a black actress. In Spain Little Red Riding Hood and other classic works are banned because of "hidden sexism." In Sweden, Astrid Lindgren’s fairy tale about Pipi Longstockings was burnt because of “racism”. In the USA Columbus Day has been renamed to Indigenous Peoples Day

There is an epidemic of depression among young people in the USA. Every sixth EU citizen has mental health problems, with majority in Western Europe.  

Foucault’s vision of "transgression" - “the hysterical woman, the masturbating child, the Malthusian couple, and the perverse adult” – became a reality. Classical art in galleries was replaced by ugly figurines with punctured eyes and buried noses; drawings on asphalt and on bodies; architectural complexes turned inside out with “interiors” made out of sewer pipes and “DJ music”.  

This world, according to Solzhenitsyn, was "disassembled to the state of a cemetery, where there is no life, but every single thing or any idea emits a smell of decay." 

Islam, the rudimentary, archaic, patriarchal religion of the desert, has become the fetish of enlightened intellectuals. 

One generation has passed and the unimaginable happened: the total degradation of civilizational foundations. Today, observing the madness of the West and at the same time the normality of Eastern Europe, one feels nostalgia for the Soviet Empire.

Now, let's talk about Israel.

No matter how often we declare ourselves as a united people, no matter how we brag about our achievements, it sometimes seems that the only thing that really unites all of us is fear in the face of deadly external enemies. Drop this enemy and this anxiety, and you will see a patchwork mosaic community of people with basically little common ground except their being born Jewish.

Is there anything in common between the haredim of Mea Shearim and the secular Jews from Ramat Gan? Between the Mizrahi, perhaps the owner of a grocery store, and the owner of a Russian deli shop? Between a settler from Kiryat Arba and a resident of North Tel Aviv? Nothing, at best. Sometimes an effort to understand one another. Hostility and dull irrational malice, in the worst case.

Jewish professors vote for Arab parties; many Israelis in Tel Aviv are afraid to go to the Western Wall and the Old City; for them Beit El is further away than Kamchatka and Zimbabwe.  "Frehot" and "Arsim" (Hebrew slang for lower class teens with flashy clothes) say that they "hate Ashkenazim"; a woman in an immodest outfit is not welcome at Kikar Shabat near Meah Shearim.  

Once the reins of fear are released the demons of mutual disdain and dislike, in some cases hatred, will tear apart Israeli society. Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran – are the “forces” keeping people living in Israel from self-destruction, from the bitter fate the two Temples. 

Even for rational and sensible nations, peace has turned into an unbearable test. What will it be for Israel? Sadly, peace, not war, is the real danger for our people, which has not yet become one nation.

Alexander Maistrovoy is the author of “Agony of Hercules or a Farewell to Democracy (Notes of a Stranger)”, Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.