What Alexander Hamilton said in his day – “the masses are asses” – was a mere echo of a famous Yiddish folk saying “Der oylem iz a goylem.” The golem, one recalls, is that brutish being incapable of independent thought, and keyed to the will of its master. Alas, the more things change, the less anything in the Jewish world does. The oylem, the Jewish audience, remains a goylem.

I speak of the incredible willingness of the Jew to want to believe any lie, fraud and cynical manipulation as long as that allows him to preserve his illusions of heroes. I speak of the almost absolute ability of politicians to do and say anything, in the knowledge that their idolatrous followers will see only divinity and truth in them – despite the fact that if the same act would be done to by a politician they despise, they would be crying for his scalp.

There is an apparent need on the part of human beings, and certainly Jews, for a hero. There is a need for man to worship. Alas, G-d lacks charisma for the modern Jew, who seeks something more exciting. And in every decade there is someone else to worship, some other god with feet and mind and soul of clay. Now, it may be legitimate to raise high the banner of a leader, but only the goylem refuses to see his feet of clay and his nakedness of principle.

In the past it was Moshe Dayan, he of the one eye and the lion heart of Judah. Jews of the Exile, humiliated for two millennia, ached for a hero and here was the Jewish Samson who smote the gentiles and gave every Jew in Levittown pride and self-respect. Little matter that Dayan was a man of tiny faith and immense fear of the gentiles, who along with Golda Meir refused to allow the Israeli army to strike a preventive blow a day before they knew the Yom Kippur War was to begin.

And who recalls, or cares to, that it was Dayan who, in the Six Day War, opposed reaching the Suez Canal and capturing the Golan Heights lest Israel get involved with the Soviets. (It was Divine Providence that saw the Israeli army outrun Dayan’s pathetic orders).

And who recalls, or cares to, that it was Dayan who refused to expel the Arabs in 1967, when the world stood awe-struck, lest as he put it, “the world think that there is another wave of Arab refugees.” Indeed, he ordered the army to return thousands of Arabs who had fled on their own, and the tragedy of today is in such large measure the doing of Dayan, hero of the Jewish people. And yet he continues, incredibly, to dwell in the private Pantheon of millions of Jews.

And Golda, the architect of the murder of thousands of Jewish soldiers because of fear of the world. The architect, too, of the saying that will surely enter the Hall of Fame of Insanity, as she declared: “I can forgive the Arabs for having killed our soldiers but I can never forgive them for making us kill theirs.”

And Menachem Begin. Had Shimon Peres given up the Sinai, with its huge oil supplies and land area, knocked down Jewish settlements and dragged out Jews; had Peres stopped the Israeli army in Lebanon from annihilating the PLO and its leadership and thus cause hundreds of Jewish soldiers to die for nothing; had Peres allowed his army officers to take the blame for Sabra and Shatilla – had Peres done any of those things, Begin and his groupies would have taken to the streets calling for the head of the “traitor.” But since it was Begin who did it, the goylem accepts it as the decision “forced upon him.”

What an oylem! What a goylem!

Every decade, every year, the goylem finds himself another hero. Yitzhak Shamir. Was he better than Peres? Only G-d knows why a man who was prime minister of the [first] “intifada”; whose plan for elections was a guarantee of a Palestinian state; who lied on every issue (except money) to the religious parties; who spoke loudly and carried a small twig – only G-d knows why such a man is lionized by the oylem goylem.

And worst of all is Ariel Sharon.

Ariel Sharon. The “hawk.” The tough hero. The no-nonsense man. He is the salvation. Masses. Asses. Oylem. Goylem.

It was a Saturday night and Begin was on the verge of signing the infamous, insane Camp David accords. The sticking point was Sadat’s absolute refusal to allow Jews to remain, hence the need to dismantle the settlements and remove the Jews. Begin feared one man. Sharon. He called him from the U.S. to ask if he would support the plan. What else was said we can only guess. But what is known is that Sharon agreed to support it, voted for the Camp David accords in the Knesset (Shamir did not) and then was appointed minister of defense.

And as minister of defense it was Ariel Sharon – hawk, hero, salvation – who hovered over the area in his helicopter directing the knocking down of Jewish settlements (and creating a precedent for Judea and Samaria) and bodily dragging out Jews from their homes. If Peres had done that, what would the hawk have said? What would the hero have shouted? What would the salvation have exclaimed? Masses. Asses. Oylem. Goylem.

Donkeys, asses, are programmed in their limitations. They cannot see; they cannot grasp reality. Human donkeys are different. They can. But they are worse than the four-legged brand because they refuse to see and admit truth and reality.

Ariel Sharon is a man whose word is suspect (and I attempt to be kind). In an interview with Maariv on the eve of the 1973 elections, he said that he supported equal rights for all wings of Judaism – Reform and Conservative as well as Orthodox – and was for public transportation on the Sabbath. In 1989 he goes to the Lubavitcher Rebbe for his blessings in his battle against Shamir’s elections plan, and the oylem goylem goes wild in ecstasy.

I could go on and on. But hopefully the point is clear to that percentage of Jews that has risen above the oylem goylem, who have achieved more than donkey status. Be honest. Be truthful. And above all, cease being idol worshippers.

A horror committed by Ariel Sharon is just as horrendous as one committed by Yossi Sarid. 


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