Israel's Nobles Are Abandoning Ship, Not the Passengers

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Planting trees for Tu Bishvat: These trees are being planted 13 years after the murder of seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997 on the so-called "Island of Peace", in the Jordan River between Israel and Jordan, by the Jordanian soldier Ahmad Dakamseh, who is serving a life sentence.
Planting trees for Tu BishvatCredit: Yaron Kaminsky

The media expressed it, this time, correctly. The heart of every respectable Israeli missed a beat because of the dirty deal in which Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was ousted.

Ya’alon had suffered a previous unpleasant dismissal in his personal history, before the uprooting of Israelis from Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, but this was much dirtier. In any case, back then, when the goal was “correct,” the media actually supported the sacking. TV military reporter Roni Daniel wasn’t outraged and didn’t threaten that his children would become yordim and leave Israel.

Ya’alon’s removal is a small example of dozens of much more disgusting and dirty incidents. The one that stands out is the enormous personal and political bribery in the days of the Oslo Accords. This earned across-the-board support because it was conducted by the right people from the right camp, and against the people whose blood was allowed to be spilled.

The settlers, even though they paid the main price for Oslo with hundreds of dead and wounded and a critical wounding of their livelihood and lifestyle never let such threats of emigrating escape their lips. Daniel saw their suffering in the terror war and the pogrom in Amona, where he witnessed dozens of serious head injuries caused intentionally to the demonstrators. His reporting did not reflect this; the brutal violence did not bring out a single expression of compassion from him.

Now, when he and his colleagues feel just a tiny bit of the suffering that many groups experienced over the state’s 68 years, they feel as if they are victims of despair and compare Israel to a sinking ship. The nobles, who are nobles in their own eyes, don’t even pretend to act as a true nobility.

Instead of acting to save the ship, as noblesse oblige of course requires, they’re drilling holes in it, in morale, generating despair. And they’re the first to abandon ship. It’s a desertion that began a long time ago by tens of thousands of academics and medical professionals, people of the technological elite, children of the kibbutzim, and even senior army officers.

This seems to be the essence of Daniel’s frustration: Unlike the low morale of those for whom he serves as a mouthpiece, the ordinary passengers and sailors are steadfast. They’re the ones who should feel panicked as is the way of the masses during a disaster people determined for the national voyage to continue. As far as they’re concerned, the ship of state, especially in a storm, is not to be abandoned.

The masses, in all their families and tribes, have endured much worse storms than these moderate waves (for the most part psychological indulgences) that are lightly rocking the ship, from which the “nobles” are jumping and fleeing responsibility.

There is no option but to say the Jewish and Zionist education of those who live here conditionally has been superficial. As long as the country was run based on their values, shallow it turns out, on their social and political structure, this system somehow held.

During the Yom Kippur War it suffered PTSD and has never recovered. But as the prophet said: “Israel is not widowed.” New camps, optimistic that the despair of the left and the rot of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule have not made them surrender, are slowly taking over the previous structure. They are busy with enthusiasm and devotion preventing assimilation in the Diaspora and advancing education in the country’s outskirts, and with social action.

Instead of rejoicing because alongside the withering trees new life is flowering green, heralding the shoots of national and Zionist rebirth, the eyes of this dispirited, faded camp are green with envy. Daniel’s threat of leaving Israel has justifiably stirred great interest, mostly because it exposed this deteriorating camp in all its nakedness.

Even if a new leader of great stature arises, it’s doubtful he can revive this camp. As long as the people who belong to this camp, and they are many, live here provisionally, it will never achieve a political resurrection.