Here is what we have planned for this week (subject to changes as the new cycle requires):
Sunday: the music video, “I don’t hate,” which more or less shows how much people do hate, even if they are trying not to.
Monday (today) : the numerous suggestions that it’s time for Israel to split into two countries (available in full to paid subscribers).
Tuesday: a podcast (available to everyone) with the founder of Jeremy’s Circle, an organization that provides support to the children of families who have a family member struggling with a critical disease.
Wednesday: a podcast (available in full to paid subscribers) with the founders of The Thinker’s Distillery, a distillery in Jerusalem that you’ve likely never heard of, which has a distinctly start-up-nation vibe.
Thursday: Israel tragically lost a brave, creative Israeli-Arab educator on Friday, when Dr. Dalia Fadila drowned off the Herzliya beach. When we ran our podcast with Dalia almost two years ago, many listeners were deeply moved. Many readers and listeners have joined us since then, so on Thursday, in her memory, we will re-run that interview, providing access to everyone.
Many readers were very moved by the rap-song-video we posted yesterday.
My thanks to those who wrote to point out that it’s by Koren Dahan, an Israeli rapper and creative artist, who uploaded it in the hope that it would catch fire (which it has) and that all the radio stations would play it (remains to be seen).
Many of the readers of Israel from the Inside who were so moved by the video, though, were moved by its image of Israelis getting along, despite their differences. It’s to that ideal that Dahan would also like to contribute.
But, it’s important to recall, he wrote the song because the reality is actually nothing like that.
For a while, the signs above and immediately below were ubiquitous at Israeli protests. “Even when we think differently,” says the blue banner with the white print, אנשים אחים אנחנו — “We people are brothers” or “we are brothers.”
The reason it’s not so easy to translate that phrase is that it’s a quote from Genesis 13:8, when Abraham and Lot have an argument over land, because they believe that the same land cannot support both of their clans. It’s an “if you get it, you get it” kind of sign. Most Israelis just assume it’s some biblical phrase saying that “we’re all kin,” as the translations usually put it. Those who know a bit more know the context, and get the chilling reference—can one (area of) land really be home to us all?
As we will see below, not everyone is so sure. Many people want to believe that it’s possible, which is why the sign because so popular and even had a Facebook page all for itself.
But those signs have largely disappeared from the streets, and some people are actually pushing back on the idea.
Let’s start with the video at the top of the page:
The video at the very top of this page (or if you don’t have the link above because you’re not a paid subscriber, you can view the video here) from the Knesset channel on the day of the vote two weeks ago, in which MK Ram Ben-Barak of the Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) Party used the refrain, “these people are not my brothers.”
If you haven’t already listened, do. And now that you know about the “we’re all brothers” signs above, you’ll understand why he keeps coming back to “these are not my brothers.”
It would be interesting to review old footage of the protests and to see when these “we are brothers” signs mostly disappeared from the streets, but my gut is that we’d find that it was the day that the Knesset voted to pass the “reasonability clause” legislation, two weeks ago today. What caused the signs to disappear, if I’m right, was not the reasonability clause itself, but the fact that many hundreds of thousands of Israelis were in the streets, begging the government not to trample the wishes of the people. And the government ignored them—it had won the elections with 48.4% of the vote, but now, some 66-70% of the people were opposed to passing that legislation, that way, that day.
But the government plowed forward.
What followed the vote, outside on the streets, were videos shared on social media of people weeping. And inside the Knesset? A few selfie’s that have gone viral, reproduced time and time again on Twitter.
So why did these selfies go viral? Because when people are weeping in the streets, you don’t tweet photos like this. You go to microphones, you say you know people are hurting, that you know it’s time to heal wounds. But this government didn’t say that, and took the opposite, self-congratulatory stance — the selfies captured what so many people (though obviously not all) detest about the coalition.
Virtually no one in the coalition is saying anything about healing wounds. There are exceptions, like MK Eli Dallal of the Likud, who is saying this has to stop and who has pledged not to support any more judicial-related legislation that does not have wide backing by the people, but he — and a few others who have joined him — are a small, so far powerless minority.
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I was speaking about those selfies with a friend of mine, a widely respected leader of a major American Jewish organization, this week. And he put it better than I ever could. “Instead of taking selfies,” he said, “they should have been tearing their lapels.” Touché.
But no one was tearing lapels. There was selfie-taking and promises that now that the first part of the legislation had passed, the rest would soon follow.
And that was when — and why — the signs saying “we are all brothers” began to disappear.
What has come in place of the sentiment of those signs? A lot, but we’ll look at two phenomena below:
The suggestion that it’s time for a new two-state solution, Judah and Israel, two different Jewish states
The social media responses to the Tel Aviv terror attack Saturday, which will tell you a great deal about just how far from reality is the worthy dream that Koren Dahan is urging us to embrace.
Let’s begin with the call for two-states, both of them Jewish.