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So What To Do? A Year After the Fogel Family Massacre

The funeral of the five Fogel family members murdered in their home in Itamar.

The funeral of the five Fogel family members murdered in their home in Itamar.
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / Flash90

Kindling hate is inseparable from inferiority complex. Aldanov remarked that in England xenophobia does not exist because the English are confident of their absolute superiority over other nations. Nazism, on the other hand, was a fruit of Germany’s Versailles Treaty humiliation. But who can humiliate the Chosen people? Only the One who has chosen it, and certainly not Nebuchadnezzar, Titus, Hitler, or Nasser. I do not intend to gloss the picture. Does a savage phobia towards Arabs exist in Israel? It certainly does; every shade of color is present in the moral specter of any nation. The question is where the center of gravity of this specter lies. The hate towards Israel of the average Arabs who live in near by countries and who have never seen Jews is astonishing. I could start analyzing the religious, economic, and psycho-social roots of this hate, but what for? What could this analysis reveal to me and should I change my behavior in accordance with the results obtained?

The Arab world could greatly from contacts with Israel, which would be happy to lend its high agricultural technologies to its neighbors and once and forever do away with hunger in these countries. This is impossible for the same reason that Peter the Great’s reforms did not succeed in Russia or the last attempt at liberalization did. Closeness to Europe has not made Russia a European country. It has become so horribly evident in the last half decade – Russia has regressed to a prehistoric political state in a matter of several years. This means that regression time in politics does not depend on the country’s size (gigantic, in the case of Russia); it is rather brought about by the immutable “mess in the heads.”

It is true that political analogies have a tendency to limp, but why should Arab public opinion change anger to mercy towards Israel? All this means only one thing: no equilibrium is possible for Israel except the equilibrium of fear; this is an unpleasant truth, but truths often have this quality. Dostoyevsky’s Underground Man did not like it that two times two make four, but for that he is an underground man.

A reporter asked a six-year-old Arab girl: “What is your wish for the next year?” The answer was: “That all the Jews be killed.” Nevertheless, I feel no hate towards this little girl, I know how children can be brainwashed; I remember Pavlik Morozov. But this is the utmost I can squeeze out of myself. However hard I try, I will never be able to either love this little girl or get interested in the motives of the people who incited her. I know these motives only too well. A person who in his youth answered the call: “to struggle for the cause of the Communist Party – be ready!” with the words “always ready!” can understand more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by University philosophers. I grew up in a country that put the poor man’s hate towards the rich man at the basis of its ideology. I can also evaluate the effectiveness of the stake in hate: its effect lasted for seventy years, a very long time. A less successful politician, Hitler, played the card of hate more than successfully. Today radical Islam is playing this card, but as Helvetius said,”the past madness seldom opens people’s eyes to their today’s madness.”

Even the quotation from Helvetius does not make my reasoning less commonplace. It all seems so self-evident that there is no point in striking the PC’s keys. But the point is that this is not self-evident. Surprisingly, quite a number of smart, educated people assume that if my Ariel house is pulled down or occupied by an Arab, or if the laboratory – the creation of which I have been working at for fifteen years – is destroyed, the longed-for peace will come. There is also some positive experience – we tried it in Gaza, we bulldozed flourishing settlements – and in response, we got rocket fire in the south of Israel. Love’s Labour’s Lost. Same dreams.

Another point of interest is that these educated people do not give away their houses to Arab orphans, but why not? No one has ever forbidden private charity in Israel. They are kind, so to speak, at my expense. M. Aldanov perfectly formulated why European socialists (nice and well-meaning people, after all) irritated him so much: they approved of the great social experiment on the Russian people, but not on themselves. Neither gulag, nor the experiences of the Mao China, Cambodia and North Korea have ever taught anybody a positive thing: “give us cheap housing, and not anywhere, but in Tel Aviv, otherwise we will muddle up the whole country.” The Soviet socialism was not good, but somewhere in the high spheres of spirit, in about the same place where the peace with our neighbors lies, the real socialism does exist. In this kingdom of spirit there is enough sweet cake for everyone; moreover, everyone gets identical pieces of cake and identical smiles of deep satisfaction flourish on the faces of the inhabitants, who spend their time in free creativity and reading Plato’s Dialogues and Yoram Kaniuk’s novels. And indeed, something like this already exists in Norway, so why can’t we have it? Yes, we can – if we move to Norway, but I do not know how long it will last. In Israel, where a third of the population, by incredible trickery, dodges taxes without turning their noses away from the benefits of civilization – it is impossible.

About the Author: Edward Bormashenko is Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology at the Ariel University Center of Samaria.


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