The anchorwoman was clearly shocked: I don't have time now to respond to what you have said, she told the former U.S. president, allowing Jimmy Carter to make a narrow escape from her clutches. Then she added that she did not want to imagine what would happen to him if he bumped into her colleague from the security affairs desk in Channel 2's dark alley. And the pundit sitting there, sunk in deep thought as always, nodded his heavy head, confirming: He's lucky, the bastard, that we didn't gang up on him and cut him to shreds.

That's how it is here: The rulers set the tone, and the media begins to gripe: Not only did Carter's mission not help, it did damage. He alone was the reason Gilad Shalit was not ransomed out of captivity during the holiday. That's what happens when an enemy of the human race, the twin of the Twin Towers' bin Laden, sticks his nose where it does not belong.

Let's let old Carter be, so he may let sleeping warriors lie; he will not be back. The contents of his words, however, should not be ignored. "Apartheid," he said, "apartheid" - a dark, scary word coined by Afrikaners and meaning segregation, racial segregation.

What does he want from us, that evil man: What do we have to do with apartheid? Does a separation fence constitute separation? Do separate roads for Jewish settlers and Palestinians really separate? Are Palestinian enclaves between Jewish settlements Bantustans?

There is no hint of similarity between South Africa and Israel, and only a sick mind could draw such shadowy connections between them. Roadblocks and inspections at every turn; licenses and permits for every little matter; the arbitrary seizure of land; special privileges in water use; cheap, hard labor; forming and uniting families by bureaucratic whim - none of these are apartheid, in any way. They are an incontrovertible security necessity, period.

The white Afrikaners, too, had reasons for their segregation policy; they, too, felt threatened - a great evil was at their door, and they were frightened, out to defend themselves. Unfortunately, however, all good reasons for apartheid are bad reasons; apartheid always has a reason, and it never has a justification. And what acts like apartheid, is run like apartheid and harasses like apartheid, is not a duck - it is apartheid. Nor does it even solve the problem of fear: Today, everyone knows that all apartheid will inevitably reach its sorry end.

One essential difference remains between South Africa and Israel: There a small minority dominated a large majority, and here we have almost a tie. But the tiebreaker is already darkening on the horizon. Then the Zionist project will come to an end if we don't choose to leave the slave house before being visited by a fatal demographic plague.

It is entirely clear why the word apartheid terrifies us so. What should frighten us, however, is not the description of reality, but reality itself. Even Ehud Olmert has understood at last that continuing the present situation is the end of the Jewish democratic state, as he recently said.

The Palestinians are unfortunate because they have not produced a Nelson Mandela; the Israelis are unfortunate because they have not produced an F.W. de Klerk.