Perhaps it’s because of this bizarre election, in which the candidates seem to be in costume, but this year, the adults seemed to be more enthralled by the spirit of the Purim holiday than the children. On Thursday, I saw a woman dressed as the Pink Panther. She wore a skintight Lycra jumpsuit with a tail waving above her rear end.
The men sitting at the nearby café cast a glance at the panther and grinned. The kind of look that, on ordinary days, would have been exchanged secretively and elicited a rebuke was given openly and received warmly. On Purim, it’s permissible.
Purim grants a special license not just to men, but also to women. This week, many wore leotards suits with pictures of bones, a superhero or some kind of animal skin. Women with excessive cleavage, skintight leotards, miniskirts, aprons and fishnet stockings could be seen everywhere.
There’s no denying that most of them exploit the holiday to dress “sexily” and go around half naked. Purim has become a holiday in which women objectify themselves. The abundance of sexy costumes must reflect some kind of longing that is usually repressed to cut loose and be objectified. On Purim, the bitches changed the rules.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked also used the license to cut loose granted by the holiday to wear a sexy adult costume. Like the café blonde who sought to realize a fantasy to walk through the streets (almost) naked, Shaked, too, wanted to celebrate her biological endowments and give free rein to her repressed fascist fantasies. Some girls fantasize about being a call girl, others about being justice minister in a fascist regime. What particularly stood out in Shaked’s election ad video – in which she sprays herself with a perfume called “Fascism” – was her decision to write “fascism” in English. The right frequently accuses Israeli human rights organizations of washing the country’s dirty laundry in public. “Why in English?” they ask. Now, this question must be asked of Shaked: Why in English? And indeed, the foreign press fell on the video like a treasure trove.
Human rights organizations like Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem do this intentionally. They openly claim that the occupation isn’t an internal Israeli issue. They want foreign intervention to force Israel to end the occupation. But what was going through Shaked’s subconscious when she approved that word in English?
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We shouldn’t rule out the possibility that something has gotten warped in the Jews’ collective sexual fantasy during this era of its national revival, and Shaked is just another psychological victim of this development. “Lack of power is the most humiliating illness,” wrote the poet Haim Nahman Bialik. And therefore, never again. In the current age of history, the Jewess isn’t the prisoner, but the jailer.
At the same time, it’s evident that the memory of Jewish weakness is embedded so deeply in our collective consciousness that Shaked, like many other Israelis, isn’t capable of imagining that there might be Jewish fascism of the type that all of us – including Shaked – fear when we say “fascism.” In the justice minister’s view, this possibility is so ridiculous in connection with Israel that she can allow herself to mock it in English, in a campaign video that will be disseminated worldwide. It never entered her head that someone might take it literally.
This reminded me of a quote from the BBC documentary series “The Vietnam War”: “We thought we were the exceptions to history, we Americans; history didn’t apply to us; we could never fight a bad war; we could never represent the wrong cause; we were Americans. Well in Vietnam we proved that we were not an exception to history.” It will be interesting to see what the parallel quote is in the future documentary series “The Occupation.”