Ben-Gurion Might Have Signed an Initiative for a Palestinian State

Calling the attempt to sign a Palestinian Declaration of Independence political is disregarding the fact that the Israeli version is essentially a political document.

The intellectuals at yesterday's rally in support of a Palestinian state must be foolish to remove their mantle of silence, and stand up and speak their minds. What do they need that humiliation for? What is so bad about their ivory tower? After all, they know from experience that Yaakov "Ketzeleh" Katz and all the other raging right-wingers will jump down their throats in a condition reflex of rage.

We can debate whether thinking human beings are generally better than animals. But even the least of the comment-makers on Web site forums has not been deprived of the right to open a big mouth under an assumed name. And what the simple person is allowed to do, so is the sage - from whom people are terribly afraid.

Ben-Gurion declaring independence May 14, 1948 (IPPA)

Yes, they are afraid. Otherwise they would not be so panic-stricken and in such a hurry to curse and abuse the "fleeting bunch from the Ashkenazi elite," and threaten it with various punishments: "Let them give back their Israel Prize before Independence Day," one person proposed. "Remove them from the Jewish People," another suggested. And one professor has already suggested "standing up the secretary general of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, against the wall," on charges of treason.

Instinct tells me to suggest to the Israel Prize laureates: On the contrary, go ahead and give back the prize, and let's see how it looks without you. They still do not understand, in the depths of their expanding right wing, that more than the prize honors you, you honor the prize. Without your reputation and your contribution, no one would want the prize. In any case, it wasn't easy to receive it from those who awarded it, and yet you did, so as not to stop playing by the rules. Now though, has the time not come to do so?

And who will want the prize come this Independence Day, other than a few sages from Bar-Ilan University and Ariel University Center of Samaria, in whose new hall the prize ceremony should be held. The number of candidates will likely drop, but the candidacy will become more prominent with the likes of Daniella Weiss and Hillel Weiss. They will all come up to get the prize for achievements of a lifetime and of death.

Dr. Yariv Ben-Eliezer, the grandson of David Ben-Gurion, objected to the initiative. "This is an offensive attempt to rely on the Declaration of Independence and to write in it a political version," he said. Strange: What does "political" mean? Isn't the Declaration of Independence clearly a political document? Aren't Israeli patriots allowed to use it as a kind of food for thought and for inspiration?

Yariv was a classmate of mine in Tel Aviv. His talents and behavior made him very popular with all of us. We knew, of course, who his grandfather was, and that was when Ben-Gurion was a god. Still, there was actually another grandfather who impressed us more: He was an usher in a movie house who got us in for free, and so we were able to see lots of films for grown-ups. Maybe even back then we were delinquent.

One should appreciate the grandson's loyalty to his grandfather's heritage and his determination to preserve its dying embers. But one should probably not speak in the name of the grandfather at every opportunity. Who really knows, and who can say for sure? Perhaps Ben-Gurion - seeing the work of his hands drowning in the sea because of successors who refuse to acknowledge the division of the land - would in fact join the signers of that updated version of the declaration of independence.