Where were you when the most important democratic principles were being trampled underfoot by the Knesset? At the time, I thought that despair had made you simply indifferent to whatever happens in this country, but it turns out that you are very sensitive to public issues when money is involved. You are even eager to fight strenuously over them. It also seems that you know how to organize the masses for causes that you consider important.
I am, however, convinced that principles are the most important issues to fight for. True, you cannot eat principles or buy things with them, but you feel rich inside when you have them, whole and proud when you are ready to rise up and oppose any attack on them, even if there is no material gain from doing so.
And, no, moral values are not supposed to divide people, as most of you apparently fear: They are universal. How could it be that you have nothing to say when the country is sinking into a swamp of anti-democratic laws, but you have so much to shout about and demonstrate over when it comes to money?
Financial hardship is indeed a burden, often an unbearable one, for many. Still, there are other injustices that should cause deep distress for anyone who cares to be part of an enlightened country. The fact that the law is on our side only because we belong to a certain segment of society is one of them, and if you are so able to take to the streets, why haven't you reacted also to the many instances of discriminatory laws that have been outrageously legislated by our parliament, especially in recent months? You would have been expected to react to those infamous acts of legislation not only in the name of the oppressed, but first and foremost in the name of our own supposedly shared moral values, which are also the best legacy we can pass on to the next generation.
Only equality under the law, which would include also the fair distribution of public resources, both symbolic and material, among all the different sectors of the population, can constitute a genuine basis for a unified and strong society. The extreme importance that is given in this country to religious and racial identities, along with an overemphasis on ancient history and myths, can only increase hostility and friction.
The real estate for which you are fighting was built at the expense of other people who are deprived of more rights than ever nowadays and can't find among us enough fellow citizens who are ready to defend them and make a difference. This is what causes a country to be divided - and in a divided country, you can be on the safe side of the barrier one moment and on the dangerous side the next, a situation that exacts an extremely painful price.
We will have a decent life in this region only when everyone, regardless of religion, nationality or race, will be able to have it. It is time to come to terms with this truth at last and strive together for its realization. We owe this to our children more than anything else.
Diana Aidan Kimmerling studied neurophysiology and philosophy of science and dedicated herself to her family and to youngsters and animals in need. She recently translated Baruch Kimmerling's autobiography "Marginal at the Center" into English (to be published in 2012 by Berghahn Books ).
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