Our Tahrir Square
The real revolution has been here for a long time. But as we search for it in Rabin Square, it is shaking the ground in Jerusalem and the hilltops. It seeks to take us back to a theocracy while strengthening the besieged ghetto mentality.
The trend of looking to imitate the Arab uprisings by finding "our" Tahrir Square met only partial success in the cottage cheese boycott and the celebrities filmed sitting in solitary confinement in support of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Neither gesture involved blood, tears or even sweat. From the start, it was clear that this was not the real thing. Where was the spirit of revolt in the street? Where were the stormy emotions and the self-sacrifice? Where were the assaults on institutions, as part of the plan to destroy the regime down to its foundations?
The answer is simple: The real revolution has been here for a long time already. But as we search for it in Rabin Square, it is shaking the ground in Jerusalem and the hilltops. This is a genuine revolution, full of ideological fervor, more powerful and significant than any incidental demonstration in the square. This is the pre-Zionist revolution seeking to systematically undermine Israeliness, to destroy the efforts to achieve a normal existence (code-named "the national interest," "the rule of law" and "the diplomatic process" ). This revolution seeks - intentionally or unwittingly - to take us back to a theocracy while strengthening the besieged ghetto mentality.
Thus this week, while the cottage cheese and solitary confinement revolutionaries were hitting "Like" on Facebook, the Merkaz Harav yeshiva students and the followers of settler Rabbi Dov Lior took to the physical streets. They went with wrath and a fighting spirit not inferior to those seen in Tahrir Square. And they too stormed the institutions of the state, and not merely any old institution, but the Supreme Court building. Those who wanted to see "Tahrir" here in Israel got Rabbi Lior, Merkaz Harav and the hilltop youths smack in the face. And if that is not an authentic revolution, then what is?
This revolution has been on a low flame for decades, taking one form or another, growing in strength since there is no counter-revolution, and receiving a tailwind from the regime itself. Sometimes it takes the form of tough "right-wing activists," sometimes rabbis with splendid beards, sometimes army personnel with skullcaps, sometimes politicians with ties. Sometimes it masquerades as the anachronistic "settlement momentum" in Judea and Samaria and sometimes as "protecting the Jewish character" by excluding and dominating Israel's Arabs. In some of its most grotesque costumes, it wears the cloak of "security needs," using settlements as a wedge to end any chance of peace, and "freedom of speech" to shut mouths and pursue alleged left-wing journalists. But under all these costumes and cloaks, it is always the very same revolution, striving to annihilate Israeliness.
Recently, as befits a true revolution that is no stranger to terror, incitement and intimidation, it has begun focusing on specific people - officials whose silencing would advance its interests and instill fear in others: Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, West Bank commander Brigadier General Nitzan Alon, the Central Command heads, the state prosecutor and the Supreme Court justices. And just like in any other revolution, here too it is impossible to know how this focused incitement will end. If the flame of political assassination were to engulf the prime minister, what should the prosecutors, judges and media representatives say?
But it is characteristic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who is always running to appear before the cameras in order to nip any diplomatic process in the bud - to have taken his time to express support for "the rule of law" after Lior's followers stormed the Supreme Court. But what is so surprising? After all, only a few days ago he was at their side, calling them "the reconnaissance unit that goes ahead of the camp" whose "messages accompanied me to Washington." So perhaps that is the secret of the pre-Zionist revolution's burgeoning strength. It is not merely a street protest. It draws its inspiration from a specific street - Balfour Street in Jerusalem.