Is Israel on its way to becoming like Saudi Arabia or Iran?
The discovery of natural gas off Israel's coast is likely to escalate anti-democratic tendencies in the country.
It is very possible that Israel is on its way to becoming Saudi Arabia or Iran.
The discovery of a store of natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea is likely to have significant implications for Israel. Two days before the discovery was reported, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - that hidden righteous one of the radical right - had already given a sign indicating the new concept. In an interview with Channel 10, Netanyahu wondered aloud why he was being bothered by such trivial matters as the chances for peace, when Israel under his leadership was becoming an economic superpower. Following reportage of the major discovery, people on the right now feel they can go even further.
Even before the gas was found, the prime minister was perceived as having cunningly clipped the wings of U.S. President Barack Obama, transforming him from a winged horse that could leap from Mecca to Jerusalem into a Democratic mule limping on his thigh. Now, with God's gift of gas to his obstinate people, it is possible to move in the opposite direction: from Jerusalem to Saudi Arabia.
And the "gentiles"? They wouldn't dare fly in the face of the racist superpower with its incipient natural gas.
Israel seems to have two great options to choose from: One is to be like Saudi Arabia, which has a religious and racist domestic regime that subsidizes messianists and government corruption and which maintains a foreign policy perceived as pragmatic; the second possibility, to resemble Iran, is more likely, as domestically its regime is similar to Saudi Arabia's, while it maintains a more aggressive and adversarial foreign policy.
That either of these possibilities is on its way is underscored by the impending "balance of terror" - of the messianist-racial-nuclear variety - between Jerusalem and Tehran. Terror from abroad can easily penetrate a society. This is how J. Edgar Hoover initially used the American-Soviet balance of terror to instill cunning aggressiveness outwardly, accompanied by a domestic witch hunt that sought out "traitors" and "foreigners" (with the help of emissaries like Senator Joseph McCarthy).
But history is not a determinist process. Salvation that rises from the depths is not necessarily the best alternative, but the severity of our circumstances could help focus the mind like nothing else. It provides the individual and the society with an opportunity to fundamentally change habits that have become entrenched within them and seem impossible to transform. In the case of the current chasm over which we are poised, we have a three-dimensional opportunity.
First, like the heart cathaterization that is a smoker's last warning, the recent letter issued by the wives of rabbis who are subsidized by the Netanyahu government illustrates how growing extremism can generate fundamental change. The fact that the subsidized Jewish establishment dares to use the same rhetoric as Der Sturmer - about "the daughters of kings" of the superior race, who are seduced by impostors from the inferior race - clarifies the depth of the chasm in Israel.
We cannot make do with dismissing the inciters from their posts, putting them on trial and halting subsidies to the messianist hothouse that's taken control of the country's religious education and, through it, threatens to take over all of Israel. A more basic repair is needed. The wives of the rabbis draw their strength from the laws of the state, which do not permit the "interracial" marriage of Jews and non-Jews inside Israel. This can serve as an opportunity to change marriage laws in order to educate society about the importance of freedom of marriage for all, regardless of their religion, race or gender.
Second, although Israel might be able to survive in the image of Saudi Arabia or Iran, this is not a certainty. The concern felt by most Israelis - that the balance of terror between two messianist powers cannot persist - can be used as a useful political tool in the hands of worthy leaders. Such a leadership would make clear that the unequivocal choice is between a country that is inherently democratic and a dictatorship based on race that is run by a criminal and corrupt leadership that threatens life in Israel.
Third, and most important of all, even if we assume that Israel can survive along a Saudi or Iranian model, most voters do not want such a life. If they rise up now and join forces with a worthy leadership, they can write a different ending to the recurring story about those who came from the horrors of race and gas to the golden shores of the Mediterranean.