Pride a rarity in Israel

LIGHT

I the LORD have called unto you in righteousness, and have taken hold of your hand, and submitted you as the people’s covenant, as a light unto the nations” Isaiah 42:6.

 

 

Chemi Shalev writes in Haaretz

 

There are many Israelis who deserve my pride and admiration, never mind the melody of HaTikvah which still manages to extract a tear, even though its lyrics have turned debatable over the years. The problem is that the moments of pride are increasingly few and far between.

 

A disgruntled prime minister who excels at spreading poison, along with corrupt government, embarrassing parliamentarians, shallow discourse, overbearing religion, growing nationalism, flourishing racism, diminishing tolerance, a democracy fighting for its life and the collective denial of 50 years of occupation and disenfranchisement of Palestinians – all of these have made pride a rarity and shame seem completely routine.

 

Many Israelis and perhaps even most Israelis would angrily reject this depiction, but for me and many Israelis of my generation, that’s the greatest shame of all. Nostalgia for the Israel that once existed has become toxic, often described as nothing more than condescending snobbism, but I would still venture that at least the dreams were rosier then. But even after one abandons the naive vision of an exemplary Jewish state that is a light unto the nations, the fact that Israel is resolutely dismantling the foundations of the proud and decent liberal democracy that it once strived to be is crushing. The reasonable assumption is that even a legion of Wonder Women can’t save us from ourselves any more, but at least on the eve of Rosh Hashanah we can pray that over the next year, pride will beat out shame. Chemi Shalev

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