web analytics
April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Peace Snake

Share Button

The cult of the talking snake began in the town of Abonoteichus around the year 150 CE, shortly after the Bar Kochba revolt. Located on the Mediterranean coast of what is now Turkey, the town was in fact a Greek settlement under Roman rule that practiced paganism.
 
One day workers in the local temple discovered some strange bronze tablets there proclaiming the imminent arrival of a divine healer named Asclepius, supposedly the son of Apollo. Locals quickly erected a new temple to honor the guest from heaven. And just as the temple was being completed, a strange egg was discovered in its earthworks. When cracked open, a baby snake emerged. A man named Alexander then proclaimed that this snake was the expected “god” and that he himself was its oracle.
 
Within days, the baby snake transformed itself miraculously into a giant one, much larger than a python. It revealed secrets and prophesies to its oracle, Alexander, spoken conveniently in the local Greek dialect. People from all over the Roman empire – including dignitaries from Rome – came to hear the prophecies.
 
Many brought the oracle Alexander valuable gifts. A single prediction of the future or message of advice from the snake would cost the supplicant the equivalent of a day’s wages, and the snake could provide a hundred of these on any working day.  Husbands, hearing the snake’s advice to turn their wives over to Alexander as concubines, did so.
 
As it turned out, the entire snake cult was nothing more than a pagan predecessor to the movie classic “The Wizard of Oz.” The snake had been created out of paper mach?, with a speaking tube inside its head constructed from wind pipes of large birds, connecting to a room behind the wall. The snake had levers that could make its head move and stick out its tongue. Alexander would operate it all from the next room, much like the humbug wizard pulling the levers behind the curtain to fool Dorothy and her friends.
 
The original bronze tablets with the prophecy had been placed there by Alexander, who had also hidden the baby snake inside an ostrich egg glued back together.
 
Alexander ran his scam for many years, until he died at the age of 70 and his tricks were uncovered. The cult of the snake was strongly denounced by Greek Epicureans and by some early Christian writers in the Roman Empire.
 
But whatever became of the pagan snake itself, the collection of moving paper mach? parts that led astray tens of thousands of people? After exhaustive research, we have discovered the answer.
 
Many centuries after the death of Alexander of Abonoteichus, his snake reappeared, but under a new name. In the late twentieth century the talking snake with the levers and the speaking tubes made a new grand appearance. “My name is Peace,” it proclaimed. “All who desire peace must come and hear my pronouncements, then follow my commands and obey my oracles.”
 
With its tongue flicking in and out, the sounds emerging from its speaking tubes were no longer Greek, but modern Hebrew. The Peace Snake from the New Middle East first emerged as a baby from an ostrich egg discovered in a Norwegian fjord by left-wing Israeli academics, meeting in Oslo with representatives of the PLO.
 
Smuggled back to Israel, the miraculous baby snake was displayed to Shimon Peres by Peres’s loyal apostle, Yossi Beilin. Then, right before their eyes, the snake underwent a metamorphosis, turning into a giant python, several times larger than any seen before.
 
“The Peace Messiah has arrived in the form of a giant talking snake,” Peres happily announced to then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. “All we need to do is follow its instructions.”
 
“And what might those be?” asked a skeptical Rabin.
 
“Just obey it. One must not argue with such a divine creature,” insisted Peres.  “First, it wants Israel to announce that it accepts the existence of a ‘Palestinian people,’ recognizes their right to their own state, and agrees to recognize the PLO as its national leadership. Next, Israel must allow Palestinian terrorists from all over the world to enter the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, arm themselves, set up militias in the suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and impose their sovereignty upon the Arabs there. Then Israel must evict all Jews living in the Gaza Strip and promise to do the same with the Jews living in Judea and Samaria. Finally, Israel must bankroll the PLO terrorists and provide them with weapons.”
 
“The public will never accept this,” objected Rabin.
 
“Ah but you are wrong,” replied Peres. “We will simply show them the talking snake head, proclaiming in Hebrew the emergence of a peaceful New Middle East.  The snake head is charming and comforting. The people will believe in its pagan magic.”
 
Rabin was finally sold on the idea.
 
“Behold the magic snake,” proclaimed Peres to the nation. The snake urged listeners to accept Peres as its prophet and obey its divinations, as whispered into Peres’s ear. No one seemed to notice that whenever the snake would speak Hebrew, it was in Peres’s Polish accent. Strangely, the snake head spoke no Arabic at all.
 
After Rabin was assassinated by a non-believer in the snake, it became all but impossible to denounce the serpent as a sham. Snake doubters were rounded up and indicted for incitement. The media fell into line and broadcast and published the snake’s epistles. Virtually no time or space was allowed for rebuttals from anti-snake dissidents.
 
The demands of the snake kept escalating. Its message was essentially the same: “The highest form of courage is cowardice,” it hissed. “Capitulation is the highest for of victory. Weakness is the highest form of strength. National self-debasement is the highest form of patriotism. Terrorism must be rewarded. The best way to end war is to pretend it does not exist.”
 
Since then, Peres has been replaced as the snake’s chief oracle by Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak. Audiences stand before it with mouths agape as it hisses through its speaking tubes: “There is no military solution to the problems of terrorism. Erecting a Palestinian state is the best assurance for the achievement of Zionist goals. Talk with Hamas. Negotiate with Hizbullah.”
 
And all the while, the Israeli humbugs of defeat pull the levers that make the serpent writhe and speak, while the media proclaim the miracle of the talking snake’s peace.
 

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Share Button

About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The Peace Snake”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Border Police take charge of  Yitzhar's Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva while students are on vacation.
Brave Israel Police Stand Guard at Empty Yeshiva to Stop Violence
Latest Indepth Stories
Palestinian boys stand behind mock jail bars during a rally calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails (but not from Palestinian Arab jails), in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 20, 2014.

The Palestinian Authority has jailed more than 350 Arabs for “security” reasons in just 2014.

Rabbi Auerbach seen at a ceremony for the students who have finished the reading of the Babylonian talmud, at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem on July 31, 2012.

Since Torah is the great equalizer, the great reconciler of divergent but valid opinions, this is also the place where common ground is reached.

Dueling Shofarim

Some American Jews feel their community has been hijacked from within by groups waging war against Israel seemingly in the name of the Jewish people.

Al-Aksa Mosque was claimed to be the site from which Mohammed ascended to Heaven, but it was built nearly 50 years after Mohammed died.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

More Articles from Steven Plaut
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

One grey night it happened, Bibi caved no more
& Poof that Foggy Bottomer, he vanished from our sight

Ehud Olmert
Feb. 27, 2014

It’s six K, five K, four K, Graft !
(Daylight come and da jail’s his new home)

In 2012, an initiative was begun in the Knesset led by David Rotem (from the Yisrael Beitenu party), to cut the stipends and pensions paid to convicted murderers and terrorists by 50 percent.

When the Temple was in existence, Jews were religiously obligated to eat roast meat at least once a year.

I have frequently drawn up lists of what I love most about Israel, and Arik Einstein has ranked high.

In the past, the law school prohibited the singing of Hatikvah.

American non-Orthodox Jews are intermarrying their way into post-Jewish oblivion, and they’re doing so as a direct result of having emptied their version of Judaism of all meaning.

The Taliban is all too willing to obliterate anything attesting to ancient Jewish life and culture.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-peace-snake/2008/07/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: