A Positive Column for the Holiday

Peace Now is here, alive and well and exerting an influence - and it's really bothering someone up there on the hilltops.

After we overreacted, after we roundly condemned, after we gratefully kissed the long arm of coincidence for the fact that the landlord rather than one of his grandchildren locked the gate to the yard, after we wearied our brain with the question of whether this is the beginning of the end of democracy or perhaps the end of the beginning, and after we were forbidden to generalize - after all this, and on the eve of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, we should emphasize that not all is bad and speak in favor even of those trying to assassinate Zeev Sternhell.

If it has recently seemed that our lives were becoming cheaper, the poster wrapped around the pipe bomb has proved the exact opposite: a prize of NIS 1.1 million is promised "to anyone who kills one of the members of Peace Now," and that is not a negligible sum for the head of a single leftist. We can still recall the days when such a murder came very cheap, and blood was spilled free of charge.

The murder of Peace Now activist Emil Grunzweig, for example, could be called an NPA - a non-profit act. And then there's the murder of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, the price for which has yet to be paid. Although the murderer was imprisoned, the spirit that moved him was not, and it continues to haunt the land. The marksman himself is serving a sentence, but those who marked the target for him are walking free among us, making rabbinical and political hay over it - without generalizing, of course. The Shin Bet security service, which was unable to protect Rabin in his lifetime, did not try to get to the bottom of his death either.

And suddenly, the fees for murder are soaring and even exorbitant. They're also determined precisely: 1,100,000, as though calculated according to the value of the dollar by an Israel-loving Christian in a church in frigid Alaska, or by an ordinary warmhearted Jew who loves settlers from a distance.

The positive side of the assassination attempt does not end here, for it turns out that Peace Now is undergoing a renaissance. All those wondering where the movement is today, where it has disappeared to, have received a thundering Zionist answer. The movement is here, alive and well and exerting an influence - and it's really bothering someone up there on the hilltops. It's true that we're talking about "the margins of the Israeli right," as we generally describe them - without generalizing, let us remind you. Nevertheless, doesn't the center determine the margins? Doesn't a healthy body make an effort to immunize itself against viruses and weaken their venom? And what happened to the natural immunity of the settler leaders, who are afflicted by a malignant and spreading cancer and need major surgery?

In honor of 5769, another ray of light in the darkness: Just when the prestige of the Israeli intellectual is wallowing in the gutter like a cabbage in the marketplace, that is precisely when it is raised from the ash heap. Who are you, Zeev Sternhell? Just an intellectual, a scholar, a Jewish intellect from the Brenner labor movement, a renowned expert on the sources and horrors of fascism, an outstanding columnist in an arrogant newspaper, an egghead - that's what you are.

And here it is the ignorant "margins of the right," of all places, that decides to restore the glory of intellectualism and scholarship. Even on the Israeli left there is no longer such admiration for a scholar. So why see only black, and blacker than black? Instead, we should be asking: Should we accept only the bad but not the good?