Haaretz

Israel Is in the Midst of a Cold Civil War

Arabs, leftists, secular people – none are seen as part of the new State of Israel. What is our obligation to the state when it declares we no longer belong in it?

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Thousands march in Tel Aviv in protest of incitement against Rivlin, leftist NGOs. December 19, 2015. Photo credit: Moti Milrod

“I will not accept two states within Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at the scene of the recent terror attack in Tel Aviv, referring to Arab society. His fellow Likud faction member MK Miki Zohar, meanwhile, said that “Tel Aviv is acting like it’s a state… it’s not part of the State of Israel – it’s completely separate.”

In explaining the Education Ministry’s ban on the novel “Borderlife” from the high school curriculum, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) said, “The education system should not promote values that are contrary to the values of the state.” Bennett’s faction colleague, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, defended the law she initiated – requiring NGOs that receive funding from abroad to mark their documents accordingly – by saying: “It is inconceivable for the European Union to contribute to associations working in the name of the State of Israel, when they are being used by foreign countries to implement their policies.”

So, to Shaked’s mind, the leftist NGOs are the equivalent of Tel Aviv for Zohar: they are not part of the State of Israel, but something separate. The assaults on the NGO Breaking the Silence and Army Radio are also carried out in the name of the state. What, then, is the state?

The state is now an armed organization, with a bureaucracy that imposes the rule of the religious right in the area under its control (and not necessarily its sovereignty – see, for example, Judea and Samaria). In light of what is being said openly, it is clear that I, for example, am not part of the state. My lifestyle is not its lifestyle, my values are not its values, and my worldview represents the worldview of foreign countries. I might be called a dissident.

Arabs, leftists, secular people – none of them are part of the state. They were considered part of the state until not long ago, but now they are separate from it. They are not included in the state’s new definition of itself. This means a revolution is taking place before our very eyes, and we are helpless in our response.

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