Jerusalem municipal workers putting up an Israeli flag.
Jerusalem municipal workers putting up an Israeli flag. Photo by Shiran Granot
Text size
related tags

The one argument that may still convince us, that may still alter, however slightly, the national face peering back at us from the mirror, that may still sway a public that has, for the most part, come to ignore moral considerations, is the pragmatic one: We cannot afford it. Just as Jews cannot afford to turn their backs on refugees because they are themselves a nation of refugees, so, being a persecuted people, they cannot afford to persecute Arabs.

A Jewish mob attack on a handful of Arabs that nearly ends in murder is far more dangerous than the Iranian menace. A Jewish mob is the real existential threat, because our existence here, it bears reminding, is not thanks to a nuclear umbrella, but first and foremost thanks to a moral one. The sense of historical justice, which we had wielded from the beginnings of Zionism, preceded the reactor in Dimona.

Preserving the sense of legitimacy likewise precedes the maintaining of our nuclear superiority. Consequently, the eradication of the domestic racist blight should come before the eradication of the foreign nuclear one.

No amount of uranium in Natanz and Bushehr could pose as grave a danger to us as our accumulated offenses against the wretched and poor, the refugees of war and famine who cross our borders from South Sudan and Eritrea. No chemical or biological weapon could be as destructive and lethal as the hara-kiri we commit by not declaring a national state of emergency in light of the horrible moral decline of recent years.

I do not speak in the name of morality, but of expediency, for that is, apparently, the language that the splendid, cruel breed developing here understands best of all. Our sense of victimhood has been our guiding light, and being persecuted our reason for existing and for protecting that existence. We live in the shadow of digital self-indulgence and under the mantle of cellular hedonism. But we should not forget that it is the mantle of morality that counts. All the rest are transient luxuries.

The moment the world has been waiting for − the moment that would allow it to morally shake itself free of us with a clear conscience − is the moment we truly become a nation like all others. Well, that moment has come. See how the merciful have turned into heartless racists, how the sainted and holy become a mob that lynches the defenseless. If we go on being callous and cruel, no one will have mercy on us anymore. We will how well we survive without the world’ mercy.

That our benighted interior minister, the deporter of children Eli Yishai, does not understand this is to be expected. That Yisrael Katz, the force-feeder of geese, doesn’t get it is likewise unsurprising.

But what about Benjamin Netanyahu? He is neither ignorant nor morally backward. I know from personal acquaintance that he is not unfeeling. He is able to grasp that what is developing here spiritually is far more dangerous and ruinous than any weapon being developed in Tehran.

Issuing an official condemnation will not suffice. Netanyahu should get up in front of the nation and warn of the dangers inherent in our moral insensitivity. He has to say with conviction that the world is only waiting for the chance to see that the Jews are no longer the chosen people, but cold-blooded killers. He must say that an accumulation of cases bearing testimony to that transformation would be even more devastating to our existence than the accumulation of centrifuges in the reactors of Iran.