“We’re facing a brutal enemy”; “We’ll restore security for Jerusalem’s residents”; “We’ll bring in more forces, maintain visibility,” “This is a result of incitement by Hamas and [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas” (1); “Abbas is one of the worst Palestinian terrorists” (2); Abbas “is conducting systematic incitement against Jews” (3).
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As if the vile murder of innocents weren’t enough – providing another reminder of life in this backward and primitive region, where stones with a story and graves with a legend are holier than human life – we must once again endure the stupid, empty clichés, nauseating in their misanthropic cynicism, that filled the airwaves Tuesday morning. Like always.
Do they believe themselves, our elected representatives, when they declaim their slogans? Some are garbled; some contain painful internal contradictions; some blame the government of which they themselves are members. Most are as automatic as a machine that has run amok and can’t be turned aside.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) – the political version of “Liran gray-shirt,” the well-known sports fan who pushes himself into every camera frame – called for restraint, yet at the same time, he suggested imposing a closure on the territories, exacting a price from Abbas and various other types of “iron fists” and “firm responses.” “Before a peace agreement, before any talk of a diplomatic process, we need to restore basic security,” he said.
What peace or process is he talking about? Is it possible that while the left, and the world, are up in arms over the Israeli government’s permanent rejectionism, Danon, with noble secrecy, is promoting some initiative (and not just hunting for headlines in every corner)?
MK Aryeh Deri (Shas), a well-known expert on security and counterterrorism, suggested stationing soldiers in Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, while MK Miri Regev (Likud) called for alertness. How fortunate! Otherwise, we would have continued our sweet, peaceful sleep, as is the norm in one of the world’s most violent regions.
And if they induce an existential depression that stems from the low level of our elected officials, there are others who are downright frightening – those who don’t make do with executing the standard dance steps on the blood; those who know that merely posting a picture of themselves at the scene of the attack on Facebook, accompanied by slogans about Jews being murdered in prayer shawls, simply isn’t enough.
The bodies hadn’t even reached the morgue yet, and Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), a young man with quick feet and flexible hips, was already performing acrobatics in the world’s most prestigious venues. He brandished horrific pictures on the BBC, and when the interviewer asked him to remove the snuff show, he promised his followers he would “never” stop. Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), whose body is heavier and whose charm is considerably less, compensated his followers with even more striking visual material: To the picture of his dog Chubby, which is familiar to his Facebook followers, he added a picture of a body wrapped in a prayer shawl.
How has Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) allowed himself to lag behind them and make do with mere words, even if they did draw his favorite connection between anti-Semitism and the new Hitler – i.e. Abbas?
And only Shin Bet security service chief Yoram Cohen dared to say something that approached the truth: Abbas “isn’t interested in terror and isn’t causing terror. Nor is he doing so under the table.”
In the depths of this despair, it’s even possible to believe that there’s a deep, secret alliance between the Palestinian terrorists and Israel’s extreme right. The sick, efficient precision with which the Palestinians supply images and symbols that nurture Jewish feelings of victimhood and strengthen the extreme right’s vision is simply depressing. And paradoxically, there’s something submissive about it. This isn’t how a people that wants and needs to free itself of occupation behaves.
And what about the people who simply want to live quietly and don’t hate anyone because of his ethnicity or national origins? Those who want to do another thing or two with their lives, and not devote them to violence and religion? Those who are simply repulsed by a national and political show of commerce in human life? They will apparently have to find another place, one that is less holy.