Rick’s Weekly Wrap-Up: Apartheid, anyone?

While we should congratulate J14 for another successful week of anti-government demonstrations, let’s not forget that an all-too-similar Palestinian protest in annexed East Jerusalem was met with IDF violence
Raging Rick Berman gives you this week’s news as it ought to be told

By Rechavia “Rick” Berman

Rick's Weekly Wrap-Up: Apartheid, anyone?
Israeli activist arrested at al-Wallajeh village, south of Jerusalem (photo: Oren Ziv / activestills.org)

Welcome to another edition of the Weekend Holyland Wrap, this week going on a field trip to strange and mysterious realms beyond the mountains of darkness, or in other words, an hour and a half down the freeway.

For the first time in a month there was no protest rally in Tel Aviv or in Jerusalem Saturday night, which turned the spotlight to the “driveby towns” around the country. Protest rallies demanding social justice and a solution to the impossible cost of living took place in 12 cities, from Kiryat Shmona in the northern tip of Israel to Eilat in the southern one. The largest was in Haifa, where some 30k people protested. But Haifa has always been a socialist-tending town, and so the big success was in Beer Sheba, where about 20K gathered. Since Beer Sheba is a Likud-heavy town, I’m sure Bibi sweat quite a bit when hearing the crowd there roar for his (political) head.

The good things reported from Beer Sheba included cheers from the crowd for a Bedouin woman who spoke from the stage about the need for social justice and fair housing for ALL sectors, Palestinians included. The bad was paradoxically the attitude of the many who came down from Tel Aviv in support of the “periphery” – because it was done in an air of “us superior hip folks are coming to support you provincials,” and less in the spirit of this being the exact same struggle. As if to illustrate this point, excellent Israeli journalist Dror Fuer published an article this weekend describing his visit to the tent encampment in the underprivileged Tel Aviv slum neighborhood of HaTikva, a mere ten minutes from the trendy Rothschild Blvd, and relayed depressing scenes of mothers living in rotting mildewed dumps, fighting each other over a delivery of baby formula.

Sepharadic diva Margalit Sanaani, who a week ago got into hot water for calling the protest a bullshit whinefest by a bunch of spoiled whities who jeered at her and other Sephardic Israelis when they were demanding justice (and never mind that she was conflating these protesters with their parents’ generation), came to the Beer Sheba rally to make amends and claimed to support the protests after all, but refused to actually take back her words and was booed off the stage after singing two numbers.

It wasn’t just Sanaani who was backtracking, but every one of those (mostly from Likud and its coalition) who denigrated the protests spent the past week rushing to embrace it. Even Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who after last week’s mammoth rally in Tel Aviv jeered that “the restaurants are all packed”, came out today (Sunday) with a “social justice” plan of his own.

Meanwhile tempers seem to be fraying at the flagship on Rothschild Boulevard. Some idiot “artist” (or agent provocateur) placed a guillotine as a piece of “display art”, and a bunch of bored idiots calling themselves “The revolution youth coalition” are roaming the Boulevard looking for fights to pick. Luckily, this morning there was a rare summer shower which will hopefully cool down overflowing passions.

While protests are allowed to take place unimpeded all over Israel proper, lending credence to the boast about the “Only Democracy in the Middle East [TM]”, an identical protest in al-Wallajeh, a village just south of Jerusalem, ostensibly annexed to Israel and under Israeli civilian law, was dispersed violently by the IDF – which under law doesn’t even have authority there. This was but the latest incident of Israel cracking down even more severely than usual on the occupied territories, taking advantage of the population’s attention being distracted by the social protests and hoping to ignite a security crisis to take it off the front pages. Apartheid, anyone?

Speaking of Apartheid, a group of several dozen MK’s, headed by Kadima’s own Avi Dichter (former head of the Shabak, Israel’s general security service) decided that the most burning item on the agenda right now, just before Knesset went into its summer recess, was to submit an insane law making it absolutely clear that Israel is Jewish ahead of democratic, revoking the official language status of Arabic (while stating in mealy-mouth fashion that “Arabic has a special status and Arabs have a right to receive services in their language…subject to subsequent laws”).

This law also commands judges, when no clear instruction is to be found in legislation and precedents, to turn to “the principles of freedom, equality and justice of Hebrew (i.e. Jewish religious) law”. I wonder if they mean the principles that say a woman isn’t fit for testimony, that a non-Jew’s testimony is inherently less credible, or the ones that say that if you can’t kill a non-Jew outright, you should do it bit by bit, through deception.

And on that tolerant note, we will conclude this week’s tour of the still tumultuous tent republic of Israel. The Weekly Holyland Wrap is not responsible for any illusions, sympathies or misconceptions that may have been misplaced on our tours. Please collect your senses and check your comments where appropriate. Thank you for flying the crazy skies.


Rick’s book, “Jewcy Story”, a popular history of the 2nd Temple Era, can be bought for Amazon Kindle, for cell phone or for PC here.