There's no need to dwell on what happened on Yom Kippur. These chilling scenes, in which Jews wrapped in white are driven away in shame, drowned out by the screams of the angry crowd, evoke dark times, YouTube videos from decades ago, and the hum of the German language.
Come on, this isn't about the partition, and it's not even about "the law." It's not even a courtroom. How do I know? Because the law hasn't interested them for a long time, unless it suits them at that moment (blocking roads, vandalism, attacking journalists, incitement to murder, anyone?). The court and its honorable reputation don't interest them one bit (ask Judge Elron), and the partition, oh the partition. Well, it was a line of tattered flags. One that even the police admitted didn't oppose the elevated court ruling. But what does it matter? They were Jews.
We need to acknowledge the truth. The mere fact that there are people in this country who 'smell' like Judiasm brings forth a group of extremist individuals who are driven out of their minds. Those who always harped on about not "taking the law into their own hands" until it reaches their despicable, not to mention delusional, realm. It wasn't about the "parasitic" ultra-Orthodox, the "freeloaders." Most of those who came to pray were not affiliated with the religious-nationalist sectors - who, by the way, top the list of IDF conscripts, work to support themselves like their secular counterparts, and pay their fair share of taxes. But they, well, these "strange messianics," each with their own nicknames.
These were the residents of Tel Aviv, entirely secular. Most of them marched for long weeks on Kaplan and Ayalon, shouting against reform (their right, of course, as long as it's within the law). Secular Jews who came one day a year, following their souls' desire to taste tradition. They arrived on a day that had always been a day of consensus. Of unity. Of connection. Of compassion. Of getting closer to God. A day when the mosaic becomes whole. They couldn't bear this. And they came out with their sticks and horns.
When two ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students desecrated the monument commemorating the fallen in the helicopter disaster located in She'ar Yeshuv, or when an ultra-Orthodox family, in a chilling and uncritical manner, yelled derogatory comments at female soldiers on a train, and so on and so forth, many of us in the ultra-Orthodox community felt a burning sense of shame. Indeed, it is the same when fringe youth from the religious-nationalist sector engage in vandalism, and their actions are condemned and denounced by the sector's leaders during interviews the next day.
But here? Nothing. Not only is there not a single tzaddik in Sodom who stood up to the post-Jewish rioters, the propaganda went into high alert. Engineered consciousness par excellence.
"I know that I am speaking on behalf of the absolute majority of Israeli citizens when I express deep sorrow and profound shock at the sight of our people fighting against each other on a day that has forever symbolized unity." Fighting against each other, Mr. Herzog? Aren't you ashamed? Jews wrapped in prayer shawls, driven from the streets, in disgrace, drowned out by the clamor of the mob. With shouts, beatings, and insults. No, sir. There were no struggles there. There was public humiliation, autoantisemitic. 90-year-old scenes that arose and took shape. Your shameful speech is an embarrassment to intelligence.
God forbid if the sides were reversed, the entire country would be in shock. But when Jews are attacked for their Judaism in the Jewish state, it's labeled as "struggles between the sides." What an insult. And one more thing, to those who, despite the shocking scenes, find room for mild reactions, pleas, and self-criticism so beloved by certain sectors. Civilized discourse, unity, mutual respect, and other beautiful values are indeed fundamental. But there are situations in which excessive humanism only intensifies the colossal.
I don't know where these influences that tempt these individuals to serve the second cheek on a silver platter come from, but in the case at hand, the desire to come out looking good and dignified is our downfall. It stands for you, and for us, to resist. Absolutely. It's most enjoyable to maintain symmetry, to call for unity, and to try not to offend anyone. Sometimes, that's a tactic that works. But it seems that now, with our own hands, in creating this vacuum, we've invited the most sanctified form of anarchy.
Returning to the indifference of opposition leaders, some of whom I genuinely and personally respected. Their words and intentions, until today. Until your embarrassing performance that casts a shadow over many honorable individuals. Yes, I expected the leaders of the left-wing camp to react swiftly. To condemn, denounce, and prove to the public that we're dealing with an extreme and bizarre fringe. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. If the entire refined left (and I'm well aware that the vast majority of my colleagues on the left condemn this disgrace), instead of creating a similar symmetry, had all raised their voices together – this is not our way – it would have lowered the flames, if only because there's no need to dignify the discourse of a small and radical group.
However, to my regret, the leaders of the camp fail to rise above the events. And don't look for them when synagogues are set on fire here, or when lynching occurs against individuals wearing kippahs. The lukewarm statements about Bibi's guilt (move forward, Gantz, there are more words in the dictionary), about conflicts between the sides, and the distancing that led to unfortunate scenes, that's the maximum you'll hear, not including the sensations with Lapid's constant farce telling everyone how quiet, heartwarming and pleasant this day was, and that he was able to eat pizza with olives in front of the synagogue until the Zionist Haredi nucleus came and set up a tent in the neighborhood.
But something in me hopes there is a chance. That sanity hasn't yet extinguished her soul. Because it doesn't matter from which side you are, what your opinion is on reform, the government, or the weather. With or without a kippah, regardless of religion, gender, race, and sector, I implore you.
הִבָּדְלוּ מִתּוֹךְ הָעֵדָה הַזֹּאת. סוּרוּ נָא מֵעַל… הָאֲנָשִׁים הָרְשָׁעִים הָאֵלֶּה וְאַל תִּגְּעוּ בְּכָל אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם פֶּן תִּסָּפוּ בְּכָל חַטֹּאתָם.
"Be different from this community. Stay away from... these evil people and don't touch anything they have before you will be covered with all their sin."
Leave. Run away. It's not pleasant, and it hurts. But it's a critical procedure. A forced intervention in reality. Do it today, so that tomorrow we can sit around one table and argue together. Build together. Live together. Hopefully.