Zionism was supposed to normalize Jewish life, but life in Israel seems increasingly abnormal.
Knesset member Moshe Feiglin recounts meeting with another elderly woman in Lod “suffering day and night from persecution by local Arabs.” In nearby southern Tel Aviv, citizens live in fear of violence from infiltrators. Vandals desecrate a synagogue in Bat Yam, and police say nothing can be done.
“On the last day of the Passover holiday, I slept fitfully, feeling anxious and despondent as my own children prepared to go back to school. Their walk to school was accompanied by rocket alerts and distant explosions, which have long provided the soundtrack of their childhoods.”
And in Yehuda and Shomron, former Yesha Council spokeswoman Emily Amrousi writes of “hundreds of thousands of Israelis who live in fear” when they drive, elaborating:
“We feel it every day. A sharp rise in the number of rock-throwing incidents, a dramatic escalation. That neighbor was hit by a rock, the other neighbor fell into an ambush…You jump to attention at the sight of any shadows, slow down during turns, minimize trips.”
Not for nothing did Ma’ariv journalist Kalman Libeskind write last year after being attacked by Arabs and then targeted by police: “We live in a jungle.”
However, this jungle-like anarchy does not prevail when the government wants to target traditional Jews. Consider the ability with which the government arrests rabbis, disarms Jews, prosecutes Jews for “insulting a public servant,” raids yeshivot, and destroys religious communities.
There’s a reason that Dr. Paul Eidelberg—who made aliya in 1976—wrote a book a few years ago called The Myth of Israeli Democracy. There’s a reason that Ayelet Hashachar Hacohen recently described the government as “an anti-Zionist state which abuses Jews who love the Land of Israel.”
Specific to the aforementioned pattern of dereliction on the one side and persecution on the other, life in Israel today all too much resembles what the late political writer Dr. Samuel Francis called anarcho-tyranny. He defined the term as follows in relation to the United States:
“What we have in this country today, then, is both anarchy (the failure of the state to enforce the laws) and, at the same time, tyranny—the enforcement of laws by the state for oppressive purposes; the criminalization of the law-abiding and innocent…”
Applied to Israel, anarcho-tyranny is not some merely “political” matter; it goes to the heart of Zionist values and Judaic duties. As Rabbi Meir Kahane Hy”d noted in 1989 speech regarding the state’s failure to protect citizens, with reference to the Talmud (Sotah 46b): “They have a share in the shedding of the blood of each and every Jew.”
A society where anarcho-tyranny exists is a society without fundamental justice. In the holiest land on earth, this should be all the more alarming because justice is at the core of Judaism. I will conclude with the holy words of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch zt”l in Horeb:
“The concept of ‘justice’ is for your conduct what the concept of ‘the Unity of God’ is for your mind. As the latter forms the basis of your thoughts, so the former is the basis of all your enjoyments and actions…Justice, therefore, is the sole guiding principle of your life. And though we conceive of your life’s task as justice and love, love itself is nothing but justice.”