“Eliminating Hamas is a given, what’s needed to save the country is eliminating religious Zionism,” says a group of thinkers of the kibbutz movement after October 7. And we thought and hoped Israelis had gone beyond the hatred that ruled the land until October 6.
Yishai Friedman, a researcher for Channel 14, on Sunday night, revealed a Zoom discussion of some of the leaders of the kibbutz movement, including respected intellectuals and those in important positions in the movement, that mutated into a discourse of hatred toward religious Zionism and the Haredi public, complete which shocking statements depicting them as the real enemy even after the October 7 massacre.
Even more astonishing, the most repugnant statements came from Professor Eli Zur from Kibbutz Zikim, where an estimated 35 civilians and soldiers were murdered. Prof. Tzur, 80, is a researcher of Zionist history, and of the Israeli left. He teaches at Seminar Hakibbutzim, a Tel Aviv college catering to members of the Kibbutz movement, and heads the “Institute for Researching the History of Youth Movements” at the Yad Yaari Institute in Givat Habiva. Earlier in his career, he taught at Haifa University.
During the Zoom discourse, which took place on November 3, the kibbutz movement intellectuals, several of whom, like Tzur, are residents of the Gaza envelope settlements, described religious Zionists and Haredim as “the Jewish Hamas,” “the disease of Israeli society,” and similarly revolting antisemitic epithets, this while a disproportionate share of the national religious public is fighting and risking their lives to avenge their loss inside the Gaza Strip.
“Eliminating Hamas is a given. What is needed to save the country is to eliminate the group of religious Zionists, to eliminate the Haredim from the country,” Professor Eli Zur is recorded saying in that Zoom conversation.
“They should be taken out of the vein through which they drink all the state’s treasure and distribute to various sectors, and in fact, we must eliminate them as a political force,” Zur continues. “I don’t know how to do it, I’m afraid that we might fail, but should we fail, it won’t matter how the war ends – this country, this country is finished.”
What’s more shocking about the Zoom conversation than even the professor’s antisemitism, is the fact that none of the other “intellectuals” protest the tone and certainly the content of his diatribe. According to Friedman, there was complete agreement in the virtual room with his and other participants’ expression of Jew-hatred.
According to Zur, on the day the war ends, “the struggle must be turned into a political struggle to eliminate these scums.” According to him, the root cause of the disease in Israeli society is the activity of the Haredim and Hardalim (Zionist Haredim).
“If we don’t succeed in dealing with them, then the end has come for Zionism as we know it, and I’m sure the end of the State of Israel will come as well,” he says, and not one participant is protesting.
Na’amika Zion, granddaughter of the legendary Mapam leader Yaakov Hazan and a member of the urban kibbutz in Sderot, said in the same Zoom conversation: “I am very worried about where we’re going. Are we approaching a process of Nazification that will take over Israeli society, of messianism, of militias run by Ben Gvir and Smotrich – things that have already been done in the territories for years and especially in the last year, the Jewish Hamas and so on. The whole ‘poison machine’ that is in action – will Israel be a Channel 14 state or will it be led by liberal democratic forces? We are entering the battle of our lives for what will be here on the day after.”
THE REBBE’S VISIT
But so that you don’t think everything is completely broken in the kibbutzim, here’s a much better story: the Kaliver Rebbe, Rabbi Israel Mordechai Horowitz, in mid-October visited the survivors of the massacre in Kibbutz Zikim who had been evacuated to Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hachamisha. The survivors – this was barely one week after the massacre, shared with the Rebbe their belief that they had been spared because of the shul they established in their Kibbutz a few years ago, and the Torah scroll they kept in it. One kibbutznik related that he keeps his windows shut on Shabbat, and this spared his life, as the terrorists believed his home was vacant.
The Rebbe shared with them his holy grandfather’s experience in the Holocaust, where he lost his entire family, and told them: “The power of the people of Israel is in the verse, Arise, shake off the dust,” Isaiah 52, 2, which is borrowed by the Lecha Dodi poem erev Shabbat. “How do you shake off the dust, how do you deal with the terrible pain? Only with the power of faith. And the strengthening of faith is by saying Shema Israel,” the Rebbe told the Zikim massacre survivors.
Prof. Zur and his band of Kibbutz intellectuals must have been busy elsewhere when the Rebbe was visiting.
And then there was Dr. Alon Fauker, a resident of Kibbutz Be’eri, the most devastated settlement during the massacre. Fauker, a history lecturer at Beit Berel Academic College of the Kibbutz movement, told the silent Zoom audience that he can’t get rid of the thought in his head that “what happened, happened on purpose.”
And, unlike the Kaliver Rebbe, Fauker did not suggest divine purpose. He was clearly promoting the Israeli left’s “knife in the back” conspiracy theory.
The last time the “knife in the back” theory was very popular was after a group of German politicians, many of them Jewish, negotiated with the allied forces the surrender of Germany in 1918. And you thought Nazi and Left-wing beliefs didn’t meet…