Amos Oz got it wrong again. It’s not neo-Nazis. It’s Judeo-Nazis. Scions of a unique group which Yeshayahu Leibowitz Prophesized so well immediately after the great victory of 1967. Racism, murderousness and profound hatred originating in a religious-messianic worldview that is fueled by the occupation and settlement enterprise.
Of course at this stage, they’re on the margins. But history has proven that the question is how the center responds to the margins. In the wake of the most recent outbreaks of Kristallnacht-inspired rioting, the settler right hastened to label the rioters disdainfully as “graffiti-scribbling youth.” In the buses, more and more stickers are cropping up in Hebrew and Arabic with the warning: “Don’t even dare think about a Jewish woman!” Posters and articles warn not only against “assimilation” but also against Arab employment and housing. Behind this perception there are people, arbiters of halakha or Jewish religious law, organizations, and political movements. Is anyone bothering to investigate, to arrest, to judge? Israel will never be the Germany of 1942, but there is a moral obligation to prevent it from becoming like the Germany of 1932.
Nazism began as a marginal and disturbed ideology that at a certain stage suited the interests of Prussian militarism, the political right and wealthy businessmen, who were horrified at the blossoming of socialism. At first they snickered in secret at the Nazis, afterwards they aspired to exploit them for their own purposes, in the end it was too late.
In the state of the Jewish people it’s already too late. There is no place where we can take the shame and the terror. The center is apathetic. The left is defeated and afraid, in despair, emigrating, fighting among itself, just as in Germany of the early 1930s. Meanwhile generations of Israelis, incited and consumed with hatred, are flooding the public space, and there is nobody to confront them.
Salvation won’t come from the Tzavta theater. They don’t give a damn about Amos Oz. They’re on YouTube with David the Nahal soldier and on Facebook, where one Israeli, a retired Israel Defense Forces employee, suggested collecting Oz’s books and using them as fuel for the Lag Ba’omer bonfire.
The big story is the atmosphere. Thirty years ago the entire country was in an uproar when Shin Bet security service agents killed two terrorists who were captured during a bus hijacking. Today anything goes. When there’s no border there are no limits. That is the price of the occupation and the rite of victimization.
A boy emerges from a known opening in the separation barrier in order to pick herbs, and is shot to death. Little girls return from school walking through a settlers’ orchard, and are detained for hours by Judea and Samaria District police after the owner of the estate complained that a few cherries were picked. A security guard at a border crossing kills a judge as a result of an angry exchange, and suddenly it turns out that the cameras weren’t working. When the cameras work from the Palestinian side, we questions quality of the film instead of asking how two boys were killed at a demonstration.
Only the accursed poetics works overtime. For example, when it turns out that a soldier from the well-oiled IDF “communications division” decided to join the firing at demonstrators for the fun of it. Or when an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, one of the “living witnesses” that the government is so eager to have accompany trips to the extermination camps, slips and is seriously injured at the end of a visit to the Majdanek camp. The Education Ministry rejects all responsibility, responding to a lawsuit by saying she "freely chose to join the trip to Poland... and if the supposed accident really did take place, it happened due to the negligence of the plaintiff, who didn’t pay attention to where she was going.” Here you have it, bloodcurdling bureaucracy and the banality of evil, here in the land of milk and honey.