5772, Year of Shame and Fear

The country's leaders are competing among themselves over who will frighten us more. It is doubtful there has ever been a leadership anywhere that for an entire year has not ceased for a moment to engage in scaremongering at home.

As always, this column will choose its Man of the Year, who is always a forsaken hero. But first let us call 5772 by its name: The Year of Shame and Fear.

The country's leaders are competing among themselves over who will frighten us more; who will arouse thoughts of desertion in the hearts of many. It is doubtful there has ever been a leadership anywhere that for an entire year has not ceased for a moment to engage in scaremongering at home. And now, in addition to a righteous war, it is also promising taxes, high prices and job dismissals.

5771 was the year of the great hope: Hundreds of thousands emerged from their apathy, and the social protest took off; together we soared. After the high point came the nadir. Even the prices of milk and honey skyrocketed in the land of milk and honey, and with them bread and fuel prices the likes of which cannot be found anywhere in the world. The system has become more powerful than those it regulates, and it is demanding its pound of flesh from our arms, as though we owed it a debt.

And this is the year of shame because we were ashamed to keep track of those knocking on locked gates and hearts. But in 10 days from now on Yom Kippur we will pray: "Open the gate for us at the time of the shutting of the gate."

We were ashamed when they inflicted suffering on the refugees before expelling them to a known and terrible destiny. And what will a new immigrant from Ethiopia do, as he steals a frightened glance over his shoulder because his entire body is one black patch? And what will the girl who is shunned because of her color and her gender do? And not only she; today any little girl is a femme fatale in the eyes of horny ultra-Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox nationalists.

And we were ashamed when we saw the graffiti "Jesus is a monkey," "Mohammed is a pig," and monks, in their robes and their disgrace, being spat on, because that's the custom in Jerusalem. Churches and mosques desecrated, a president condemning and a prime minister instructing, and the scoundrels backed by the rabbis piss on them and on the Shin Bet from every high hill. And a despicable Knesset member tears up the New Testament.

And we were ashamed when the court confirmed that there really were envelopes stuffed into the pockets of the former prime minister, but they couldn't find anything wrong with that. And we were ashamed of the State Prosecutor's Office that raised a white flag as opposed to black flags - whose disgrace is this? And another convicted felon, a well-known thug, appears as the confidant of the "decision-makers," during whose tenure the defense establishment rotted with the Harpaz affair, and we were ashamed and upset about that too. These are hard times for the Jewish people, and it is permitted to break the rules, to become immersed in one's investment portfolio in Israel and abroad.

And we were ashamed of the long lines for food packages on the holiday, as though there are no hungry people here on ordinary days. Famous philanthropists are removing our savings from our wallets, and giving us change to buy ice cream.

The year 5772 caused us a lot of embarrassment, but after the holidays everything will change: Then we'll be in a country where everything is good, because there won't be anyone to report on the bad things. Olive trees will be uprooted, water cisterns will be destroyed, sick people in pajamas will be tossed on the side of the road, and Uncle Lynch will drop by from time to time to visit relatives - who cares and why does it have to be reported?

And why is it important and urgent to know that we have slid down to 89th place in science education if it's possible not to study philosophy at all; and a report about a medal in the Paralympics will suffice. And why is the writer juxtaposing things that have nothing to do with one another, and is about to mention here, without any logical context, the matron from Caesarea who "defeats" the housekeeper from Hadera, as another strange reason for shame.

Is 5773 capable of blushing as deeply as the times demand? Does it have any vestige of shock left? 5772 is coming to its end in some last mists of memory: Who was Moshe Silman, and who burned to death after him? After all there was another desperate man who immolated himself, Akiva Mafa'i, that's was his name, and the significance of their suicides was taken away from both men when they were described as "private matters." These are my people of the year, who burned and did not set any hearts on fire.