Opinion

A Letter to the District Psychiatrist From a Concerned Israeli Citizen

B. Michael
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A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask stands with an Israeli flag around his neck during a demonstration against the Israeli government, Tel Aviv on August 1, 2020.
A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask stands with an Israeli flag around his neck during a demonstration against the Israeli government, Tel Aviv on August 1, 2020.Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP
B. Michael

Dear Doctor,

I’m a concerned Israeli citizen, and I’m writing to you because it occurred to me that you, as the district psychiatrist, would be the proper, authorized person to do something about an issue that’s troubling me a great deal.

It’s important for me to note that I am not a physician and therefore I cannot, nor am I permitted, to make medical diagnoses. But I think that as a loyal citizen I am obligated to report to the relevant authorities the unusual behavior of people who may pose a danger to others.

We’re talking about a person who, due to rather unusual circumstances, is responsible for my life, health, welfare and security. This man’s conduct has always worried me, but recently the situation has deteriorated, and I’m becoming deeply concerned that his behavior will cause serious harm to me and to all the other people whose life, health and welfare are in his hands.

To wit: The man is a compulsive liar. He’s such a liar that even the opposite of what he says isn’t true. In general, it is clear that he knows he’s lying. It’s pretty acceptable in his circles. But sometimes it seems as if he believes his lies, and that he’s actually living in this imaginary reality he’s created. That is strange and worrisome.

He is convinced that evildoers are pursuing him at every turn, conspiring against him, undermining him and seeking to kill him. No one is actually pursuing him and no one is plotting to harm a single hair on his head, but he insists. He battles fiercely against demons that are figments of his imagination, and he seems to derive great pleasure from feeling that he is persecuted and under threat. This, too, is odd and disturbing.

His attitude toward money is quite twisted. He is cheap to the point of absurdity with his own money, but as profligate as a drunk mafioso with that of other people. Despite being rich, he mooches off relatives, asks millionaires for lavish gifts and is convinced that other people are supposed to cover all his expenses.

He is certain that he is greater, smarter, more beloved and more successful than anyone else. He’s also positive that he is the most wretched, the poorest, the most hated and the most disparaged. All at the same time. They say he has almost no friends. He objectifies other people, treating them with indifference, and above all he is partial to himself. Very very partial. He is his own greatest admirer and lover, yet also his greatest pitier.

And that’s the problem, doctor. Because he’s gotten into some trouble recently, and the routine of his comfortable life is somewhat at risk. And I’m very concerned that there are no limits to what this man is willing to do for the only person he truly loves. His enormous authority, flexible morals and eroded restraints make him capable of almost infinite damage. He is capable of burning through more and more money to win people over, to set more and more fires to distract them, to heat up the country’s borders, to incite people against each other and to sow more and more hatred and venom. In the end, he’ll be willing to scorch the earth on which we all stand, just so that he won’t be uprooted from his fortress, so that his pleasures won’t be taken away, so that he won’t be forced to live with himself as he really is.

Don’t you think, doctor, that a professional assessment should be made to determine if this man is fit to remain in his powerful position? Isn’t the risk to the public too great? In your professional world, this process is called “observation,” is it not? So please, doctor, do a thorough observation of him. Who knows, you might be saving all of us from disaster.

Thank you in advance.

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