Israel is abuzz with disgust over Netanyahu’s craven avoidance of Syrian refugees. It shows that the prophetic, the “Jewish” is alive in many sectors of Israeli life. Herzog the Labour leader correctly panned Netanyahu for his disgusting amnesia about Jewish history. Instead of welcoming refugees( all Muslim from next door Syria) Netanyahu built walls and showed the ugly face of Zionism a movement which hijacked authentic Jewish values of compassion. Zionists created the new Jew, the tough Jew which turned its back on the 3000 year religious tradition of compassion, solidarity, introspection etc. Zionism not Judaism became the new religion.
Up until the new Jew created by Jabotinsky, Ben-Gurion et al there was the long memory of what it was like to live under Pharaoh, to be a refugee, to be a person under brutal occupation. That biblical memorry was eviscerated by Zionism. Israel became amnesiac, forgot its covenantal identity under God and turned into Pharaoh and Goliath.
Yet, yet the prophetic has never totally died. You can not wipe out a historic memory about what it is to be “Jewish” and not “Israeli.”
Yossi Sarid a former Knesset member wrote this yesterday, a very typical lament from the best of Israel:
And more than anything else I am ashamed now – on the eve of the New Year and before Yom Kippur – because of its locked gates when refugees from all over the world are begging for a gate to open. They are terrorizing us with numbers – soon the country will be filled with them, in addition to our enemies. Don’t look at the streaming masses but at those who are among them; don’t look that those who are coming, but at those who are here.
Israel today is infamous for its brutal treatment of Ethiopian and Suidanese refugees. Forget about Syria.They’re Arabs, non-Jewish and not welcome.
Stephen Klein wrote this:
Something here smells of anti-non-Semitism. Israel had no problem in 1991 taking in 14,500 destitute Ethiopian Jews in one weekend. And I bet that if 50,000 destitute ultra-Orthodox Jews from New York showed up on Israel’s doorstep tomorrow asking for all the benefits offered to “olim,” new Jewish immigrants, Netanyahu wouldn’t say, “Sorry, we’re too small to absorb you.”