Big Business, Government and Idolatry

Out of Netivot shall go forth the Torah: the Torah of post-Zionism.

Anyone who seeks to understand why Yitzhak Shamir, a serial rejectionist devoid of vision, is suddenly being remembered fondly even by the opposing ideological camp; why the issue of drafting a few thousand yeshiva students with no education or basic life skills unhinges so many Israelis; why young third- or fourth-generation Israelis are obtaining foreign passports; why the streets will soon be filled again with swarms of angry demonstrators; or why there will ultimately be either polarization or actual civil war; anyone who wants to understand all this must direct their gaze to the right place. Not to the government compound in Jerusalem, nor the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, or even the plan to move the disputed apartment buildings in Beit El's Ulpana neighborhood. They must instead turn their eyes to the southern city of Netivot: specifically, to the macabre hilula memorial celebration held outside the municipal cemetery this week, a perfect metaphor for the burial of Zionism.

Here is a very partial list, first of the men who attended the annual dinner in memory of Rabbi Shalom Ifergan, the father of Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Ifergan (popularly known as the X-ray rabbi ): IDB group chairman Nochi Dankner and its CEO, Haim Gavrieli; Menora Mivtachim Holdings chairman Menahem Gurevitch; former Police Commissioner and current Delek Pi-Glilot CEO Moshe Karadi; Deputy Police Commissioner Maj. Gen. Yisrael Yitzhak; Tel Aviv District police chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Aksol; the president of the Nazareth Magistrate's Court, Judge Georges Azoulay; Kadima MKs Yoel Hasson and Majali Wahabi; Israel Defense Forces Chief Rabbi, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz; former IDF spokesman Avi Benayahu; attorney Zion Amir; television magnate Haim Slutzky and public relations guru Rani Rahav.

In the women's section, at the rear, were Kadima MKs Ronit Tirosh and Rachel Adatto, advertising executive Yafit Greenberg ("G. Yafit" ) and celebrity Moran Eisenstein. Notable by his absence was the customary guest of honor, Ilan Ben-Dov. A few years ago he acquired the Israeli cellphone provider Partner, on a golden tip from Yaakov Ifergan, catalyzing the collapse of Ben-Dov's business empire. The highlight of the evening was a videotaped greeting from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The discovery and subsequent controlled use of X-rays are among the greatest scientific breakthroughs of human history. It's hard to imagine modern medicine without the ability to map the skeletal structure and to examine the condition of the bones. Ifergan, a kabbalist, has no scientific or medical skills, but the festivities he orchestrates nevertheless provide an accurate image of the horrific state to which the Zionist enterprise has deteriorated: A well-attended voodoo ceremony was conducted in the heart of an Israeli city in the 21st century - for the purpose of "charity," of course (as distinguished from productivity, or even from the simple repayment of loans taken from the public ). An A-list crowd gathered to hear the chanted spells and the beating of the tom-toms. Granted, a large proportion of them are proven losers, while others belong to problem-ridden or failing organizations, but all have held official positions or at the least enjoyed a measure of fame.

Any advanced society would have instantly rejected such feckless figures, who openly pay homage to mysticism and irrationality. It would have ousted them from public positions, quickly withdrawn all its money from their businesses, publicly renounced them and cast merited doubt on their judgment, if not on their mental health.

Zionism aspired to create a new synthesis in the Land of Israel: a modern, productive Jewish people that supported itself and served as a moral exemplar. But the deviant disciples of Rabbi Ifergan are forging a different synthesis: of big business, government and idolatry. Out of Netivot shall go forth the Torah: the Torah of post-Zionism.