Death Is Alive and Well, Thank You

In his speech at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Day (Channel One, Monday, 20:00), on the backdrop of a fancy torch that spat fire upward in a proper straight jet of flame, President Moshe Katsav said: "Behind us are 4,000 years of Jewish history."

In his speech at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Day (Channel One, Monday, 20:00), on the backdrop of a fancy torch that spat fire upward in a proper straight jet of flame, President Moshe Katsav said: "Behind us are 4,000 years of Jewish history." First of all, I felt like correcting him as to the fact that there were no Jews before the Babylonian exile, that is, about 2,500 years ago, and secondly, this year more than ever I felt like telling him, "Just a moment, sir, enough of this irritating use of the Jewish alibi."

This is because of the rapidly dwindling validity of the State of Israel's automatic adoption of Jewish history and the Jews, whom it has pretensions of protecting in empty phrases during its official ceremonies, in exchange for the moral umbrella they supposedly provide for its controversial acts.

In truth, Jews are less and less in need of the protection of the State of Israel. More and more, it is becoming a burden rather than a source of pride. Jews in France, Antwerp and Munich are being punished for Israel's deeds in the territories, and Israel is leaping up and crying "anti-Semitism" in their name, because there is nothing more convenient than cuddling up together with them in the warm down comforter of Jewish misery. This comforter stretches from Jerusalem to Warsaw, and from Warsaw to Auschwitz. At the end of the blanket - broadcast live from there - are the students of Comprehensive School Heh in Ashdod, "in front of Oven Number Three," according to reporter David Gilboa who accompanied the ceremony (Channel One, Tuesday, 15:15), listening to the words of Israeli Education Minister Limor Livnat about the hatred of Jews from then to this day.

"For them this is an extraordinary experience," the reporter goes on to say. And all of a sudden, the Holocaust looks like some kind of deal between Livnat and the girls who are sitting there at her feet chewing gum. Two girls of Ethiopian origin read a poem. The Holocaust, it must not be forgotten, is also an entry ticket to Israeli society. In the background, beyond the barbed wire fences, buses trundle by filled with shipments of tourists to the death museum. And in Jenin, at that very hour, 13 soldiers were getting killed. Death is alive and well, thank you.

The Bastille is in our hands!

On Monday night I was momentarily embarrassed that I am a Jew, when young people from the Betar youth movement in Paris exploited the demonstration in support of Israel held at the Place de la Bastille (France Two, News, 21:00), to smack around an Arab or two who crossed their path. To the photographer who wanted to document their doings, they said something anatomically challenging and very filthy indeed, and covered his lens with the palm of their hand. Who knows what would have developed had one righteous lady, holding small Israeli flags in her hands, not called in the flics (French cops) in their blue uniforms to disperse the Jewish rioters who were about to bring down the Bastille again.

About three hours later, on the Arlette Chabot current events show "Crossword" (France Two, Monday, 23:50), they had already forgotten these hooligans and their dispatchers and remembered only the Islamic extremists setting fire to synagogues. A brilliant selection of Jewish philosophers, intellectuals and writers, with an enlightened priest and an anemic imam, were invited to discuss the new anti-Semitism. Is it really new? Malek Boutih, a Jew with an Arab face (thanks to his non-Jewish face he has been witness to anti-Semitic conversations), mentioned the new epithet for Jews in colloquial French. No longer "juif," but "feuj," and thence the name of the book he has written on anti-Semitism, "Les antifeujs," and Bernard-Henri Levy, the philosopher in the eternal white shirt open to his belly button (this time he was careful to do up some of the buttons), contributed to the discussion a brilliant analysis of the word fraternite, which symbolized the French Republic. This fraternity, he said, fools like Georges Beauvais [who was one of the activitists who walked into Arafat's office under siege], the high priest of Camembert and the foe of globalization, are trying to incinerate. Beauvais this week said that the Israeli Mossad was behind the burning of synagogues in France.

Ostensibly the justice of the Jews came to light, ostensibly the anti-Semites were condemned. But the average antifeuj, what is he saying to himself? He is saying that the Jews have also taken over television. They, who are so good at talk. And to teach them a lesson he is preparing a Molotov cocktail and going out with his buddies to fling it at the nearest synagogue.

One day we'll laugh at this

A final chord for Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Day: Actor Muhammad Bakri (Mabat, Channel One, Tuesday, 21:00) came to Haemek Hospital in Afula to visit an Arab woman colleague who had been injured by Jewish demonstrators at the roadblock near Jenin as she tried to arrange for the transfer of food supplies to the Palestinians. In an adjoining room Israel Defense Forces soldiers who were wounded in the fighting in Jenin are hospitalized. A stupid nurse - yes, there are also stupid nurses - made a comment to Bakri ("Have you got stones in your pocket?") and the corridors of the hospital instantly caught fire. "You people are Nazis!" - "Dog," spat someone else at Bakri. And if both let "Nazi" go by, neither Bakri or his friend were prepared to let them get away with "dog." Were it not for the police who separated the foes, blood would have been spilled there. One day - may it come, may it come - this will be an amusing sketch, and we will laugh heartily at it.

Blessed acidity

Two hundred thousand people walked passed the Queen Mother of Britain's catafalque in Westminster Abbey in London and an estimated 1 million people (BBC, Tuesday, 24:00) took to the sidewalks to accompany her on her last journey, blew kisses into the air and threw flowers as the black car passed bearing the body of the 101-year-old woman to her final resting place at Windsor Castle. During the weekend that preceded the funeral the cameras returned again and again to the line that wound its way along the banks of the Thames, where people stood for up to seven hours until it was their turn to walk quickly past the catafalque. People did not push and shove (unimaginable in Israel - a line in which someone doesn't butt in ahead of you with some excuse), and the people who were asked why and wherefore they were sacrificing their time for such an apparently superfluous gesture replied with utter naturalness that they were doing it for the sake of the monarchy and the woman who contributed to Britain's steadfastness during World War II.

Nothing that we have here in Israel resembles the blessed acidity of Queen Elizabeth II when on television (BBC News, Tuesday, 15:00) she thanked the British people for their participation in her mourning, in words that were precise and pristine, with no emotionalism. Here, emotionalism is power, and our national model for behavior is, alas, Daniella Weiss, the one from the Jewish settlements in the territories, whose mourning in recent days has afforded her voice a metallic timbre and her hand more authority to wave threateningly at Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Diary of the Week, Channel One, Friday, 20:00), and to demand that he talk tough with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and remind him that in their day the Americans threw Holocaust survivors into the sea. Throw them they did, according to Daniella Weiss. Not to mention what the English did to the illegal immigrants. All this happened during the Queen Mother's time, the Queen Mother who millions are accompanying, tfoo, with kisses and flowers on her last journey.