And a little child shall lead them / by Yoram Kaniuk

Facebook made the world a more open place, enabling the youth of Egypt to share ideas and organize protests against an oppressive regime.  Don’t worry, though, because this won’t happen in Israel. Here, we protest the price of gasoline and fall asleep in the midst of our cries

Yoram Kaniuk

When the prophet Isaiah said “a little child shall lead them,” (First Samuel 10 of the Hebrew Bible), he was referring to Mark Zuckerberg. Before him it was Jesus, a Galilean youth that fomented a global revolution. There was Marx, not a young man but of Jewish descent. There were Einstein, Freud and many more.

Zuckerberg and Wikileaks have made the world a more open place. The freedom that has developed due to the cultivation of friendships has taken effect among youth in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. They have gone out to search for a king in a place previously inhabited by female donkeys. They have instigated a revolution, since Facebook is a youthful phenomenon. It is also reaching Jordan, which has a Palestinian majority who are ruled by Bedouins. It will also reach Syria, where a tyrant son of a small tribe operates inside a Sunni world, and possibly also the Gulf States, just as it has been making waves in Algeria.

Anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo, January 2011 (photo: Hossam el-Hamalawy/Flickr)
Anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo, January 2011 (photo: Hossam el-Hamalawy/Flickr)

There are no more secrets. Police forces will not stand in the way of a nation that is in revolt. There’s no chance this will happen in Israel, because people here cry over the rise in gas and water prices, but fall asleep midway. The revolution may also reach the Palestinian territories, since, despite democracy existing for Jews, one can still shoot a bound Palestinian in the foot and go unpunished.

True, we are still far from being the dark regimes that surround us, but we should be careful. Jesus wished that the mentally handicapped, the blind and the impure be allowed to enter the Temple – but the religion founded in his name waited 300 years till it became the dominant religion.

Today, the French Revolution would have taken place live on Facebook. Marx, Einstein and the inventors of the nuclear bomb turned the world upside down. They were all little children leading revolutions.

Today, to paraphrase Second Samuel I, whatever is said in Gat will be heard in Ashkelon. Zuckerberg opened the world to procrastination and addiction, but without this young man, perhaps such popular revolutions would not be taking place under such tyrannical regimes.

Yoram Kaniuk is a prominent Israeli author. This article was translated from the original Hebrew by Mairav Zonszein.