I watched the mayor of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Avraham Rubinstein, console the father of policeman Amir Khoury, the Christian Arab Israeli from Nof Hagalil who was killed defending civilians during the attack in Bnei Brak. I saw him hug the father, Jeries Khoury, himself a veteran policeman, thanking him, lauding his son’s bravery and commiserating with him.
I watched Amir’s partner, Shani Yashar, a Jewish Israeli woman, grieving the death of her beloved, breaking down in the arms of the newly bereft father, who was like a father to her over the last seven years. I watched as they cried in each other’s arms. I heard the father describing, in Hebrew, only in Hebrew, his last correspondence with his son. “Amir, what’s going on in Bnei Brak?” asked the father. The whole country saw the answer on TV.
All the faces, names, and hybrid identities of those involved in the latest attacks seemed to have been chosen carefully by a director who's overly fond of illustrating the moral of the story. A director hoisting the flag of diversity and equality, obliged to give fair representation to all components of Israeli society while shattering prejudices.
Even those asking tough questions on Kan 11 TV’s “You Can’t Ask That” would not have allowed themselves to be so politically correct, presenting such a wide array of identities. There were even two foreign residents from Ukraine in the last episode of this reality TV show. If it weren’t true, no one would have believed it.
It seems that reality, how impudent of it, did not get the memo regarding the nation-state law. Under that harsh law, among the Jewish cultivated plants, some wild flowers managed to grow. A state for all its citizens grows from the bottom up, a trickle-up reality, right under the noses of “nation-engineering” Jews.
I also watched Naftali Bennett. The man and his kippah – if we’re talking identity politics. Who would have believed that he of all people, a former head of the Yesha Council of settlements, a person coming from religious Zionism, who until recently heralded the advent of Jewish fascism, would play the role of the head of a government that relies on Jewish-Arab cooperation, or in the words of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, “a government that depends on the Islamic Movement.”
The string of events reality cooked up for Bennett could end up undermining his faith in God. The right blames the terror on his weakness, claiming that is what allowed it to raise its ugly head again. Bennett probably hears these voices and thinks that life is unfair. It’s Netanyahu who is responsible for the development of this new, sensitive security front, the one within the Green Line. What happened in mixed Arab-Jewish cities during Operation Guardian of the Walls – the closest thing to a civil war that’s happened here – is not associated with Netanyahu, even though this was his legacy no less than the Abraham Accords.
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I also watched Mansour Abbas. The responsibility with which he acts, the wisdom with which he speaks. If there is a reason to feel confident in Israel’s leadership in the face of the large challenges confronting us, it’s Abbas. One can only hope that Bennett doesn’t get confused and start thinking that Abbas is a liability. Abbas is the greatest asset this government has, and not just because of his identity.
I recall that when Barack Obama was elected president, I thought it was amazing that even though American society had reached a peak of over-consumption and hedonism, it still managed to grow an Obama. How, under everything that happened under Netanyahu, could an Abbas grow here? This, too, is Netanyahu’s legacy. What’s his is his, even if it’s just the opposite of what he had intended.