It’s time to separate “democratic” from “Jewish.” It would be merely symbolic, since no official document defines Israel as a “democracy.” “Democracy” was first mentioned in Israeli law just 30 years ago. Separating “Jewish” and “democratic” would reflect the spirit of the new nationalist government that couldn’t give a hoot about the rest of the world. It’s time to drop the fake, unnecessary millstone that was only meant to deceive the naive goyim. We always knew it was fake, until we suddenly began to believe our own lie.

We know what democracy is, and we know we don’t have it. It does not appear in our holy Torah, or in the Balfour Declaration, or in that folkloristic curiosity called Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Erasing the word change a thing. It’s not as if we have a democratic tradition. We didn’t come here to live in a democracy, we came here to live in a state of Jews. In the contest between Jewish religious law and democracy, it’s clear who will win. The courts of the rebbes and the central committees of the political party are the proof: Democracy is not for us.

The coupling of “Jewish” with “democratic” is a bone in the throat of the religious fascists and a pain in the ass of the enlightened secular folks. All agree: We don’t have a democracy. Everyone knows: We can’t have that sort of thing here. Not to mention that the Judaism of Arye Dery and Bezalel Smotrich is not the Judaism of Maimonides or Yeshayahu Leibowitz; it has nothing in common with “democratic.” It is violent, ignorant and corrupt, without a shred of democracy.

We are in a transition period. From a government that is not entirely light to one that is entirely darkness, one that views Breaking the Silence as a terrorist organization and democracy as an existential threat. This is the time for passive resistance to a hostile regime. Artists, journalists and judges will learn to live in such a regime.

In such a regime, public schools will be asked to reinvent democracy, which was invented 2,500 years ago. Or Kashti reported recently (Haaretz, Nov. 13) on this latest version, but even three years ago the Education Ministry issued a civics teachers’ manual specifying that “Others believe that the principle of the rule of law is separate from the principle of human rights ” (Or Kashti, Oct. 26, 2019), in other words the law and human rights are not the same thing, and the former is not obliged to uphold the latter. And the teacher’s guide commissioned in 2015 by then-Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that a democratic political culture “is not a necessary condition for defining a state as democratic” (Or Kashti, Nov. 15, 2015). Is that clear, children?

From now on, a nondemocratic state can also call itself a “democracy.” What are civics teachers supposed to say if the new education minister (whoever it turns out to be) says: Get this straight, we are a Jewish and nondemocratic state. Got it? Only Jewish, we have enough democracy in our Judaism already.

What will teachers who see their profession as a calling do? Their job is frustrating enough as it is: In the morning, they teach the opposite of what their students see on the news at night. They have to lie to themselves and their students, to pray that no smart-aleck asks about the “occupation” and then brush them off with a ton of words verbiage and a few reasons that conceal the truth, because the truth is that they’ll be fired if they tell the truth. Don’t feel sorry for them. Under Miri Regev they’ll do what they did under Gideon Sa’ar, that is to learn to live a lie, to cover up, to teach that our democracy rests on two words: majority rule.

How is such a teacher to maintain a clear conscience in a Jewish state? How will judges, prosecutors and journalists respond if they are required to go against their conscience and forgo human rights, freedom of expression and equality before the law? And how will a reporter for a commercial station interview a cabinet member whom he scorns personally and despises professionally? Will he let him pour out his poison because that’s the correct move professionally, or will he rip him to shreds as his conscience dictates?

And what will they do when the keys to the art gallery, theater or film studio are in the hands of those who would gladly piss on them? Martin Luther King Jr. said a time comes when silence is betrayal. The question is whether to speak out when it could cost you your job and your livelihood. I ask myself what I would do if faced with such a Mephistophelian dilemma. Only total despair or a burning passion for the homeland and fierce faith in a better future could lead the average person to sacrifice their profession, their livelihood and possibly their freedom for it.

QOSHE - Israel’s Democracy Makes Way for Its Jewish Identity - Yossi Klein
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Israel’s Democracy Makes Way for Its Jewish Identity

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27.11.2022

It’s time to separate “democratic” from “Jewish.” It would be merely symbolic, since no official document defines Israel as a “democracy.” “Democracy” was first mentioned in Israeli law just 30 years ago. Separating “Jewish” and “democratic” would reflect the spirit of the new nationalist government that couldn’t give a hoot about the rest of the world. It’s time to drop the fake, unnecessary millstone that was only meant to deceive the naive goyim. We always knew it was fake, until we suddenly began to believe our own lie.

We know what democracy is, and we know we don’t have it. It does not appear in our holy Torah, or in the Balfour Declaration, or in that folkloristic curiosity called Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Erasing the word change a thing. It’s not as if we have a democratic tradition. We didn’t come here to live in a democracy, we came here to live in a state of Jews. In the contest between Jewish religious law and democracy, it’s clear who will win. The courts of the rebbes and the central committees of the political party are the proof: Democracy is not for us.

The coupling of “Jewish” with “democratic” is........

© Haaretz


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