Sanctity and silence: Two notes on the Schalit hysteria

Shvuel Schijveschuurder defaced the Rabin memorial to protest the fact the killers of his family will be released as part of the prisoner exchange. This was denounced as “sacrilege,” while Schijveschuurder was depicted as “insane.” Neither makes sense

Desecration of Rabin Memorial (Photo: Activestills)
Desecration of Rabin Memorial (Photo: Activestills)

Sanctity (and irrelevance): A large number of good leftist were shocked, shocked yesterday morning when Shvuel Schijveschuurder sprayed “price tag” and “release Yigal Amir” near the Rabin Memorial in Tel Aviv. Schijveschuurder also splashed the memorial with white paint. The first comment by mayor Ron Huldai was that “we should cut off the hands which allow themselves to harm what is sacred and important to the people of Israel.”

Leaving Huldai’s Saudi fantasies aside – my colleague Dimi Reider already dealt with them – we should deal with the other part of his comment. Is the Rabin Memorial truly “sacred and important to the people of Israel”? Only if you’re a devout member of the dwindling Rabin cult, which sprang into being immediately after the murder, and which was epitomized in a placard appearing days afterwards: A picture of the martyred prime minister, titled “Ose Shalom Bi’mromaiv”, “Peace maker in His heavens”. This epithet, as any Orthodox Jew will know, is reserved to Him who spoke and beget the world. The cultists put Rabin, so to speak, at the Lord’s right hand.

The Rabin worship was a grave error. The issue wasn’t Rabin; the issue was the murder. But to speak about the murder; about the incitement which came before it; about the rabbis who sanctioned it; about the conspiracy of yeshiva boys (three were convicted, four allowed to slip away) to murder him; about the yeshiva leaders who sent their students into the streets, so they can cry “We’ll banish Rabin/by blood and fire” on every corner – well, that was risky. This was the stuff which could, and with justification, take the country to a civil war.

So the good leftists spoke about the victim instead of the murderer and the public whose servant he was, and as a result the meaning of the murder faded away. In the last few years, the yearly rally – the main event in the cult’s calendar – is time and again on the brink of cancellation, because there’s a limit to the times people will come together in order to try and revive the diminishing memory of the old melancholy feeling and listening to sad songs. In a vibrant society, a political murder is a call for action; In Israel, it was an invitation to coil into a foetal position and whine. One may suspect the endless reminiscing is a way by which the mourners absolve themselves of the need to rethink the whole history of the Oslo Accords and the slowly-revealed meaning of Rabin’s slogan, “We’re here, and they [should be] over there.”

Rabin was no saint. His hands were full of blood. The only peace he made was with Jordan, which, let’s face it, wasn’t a monumental task. As Security Minister, he ordered the IDF to “break the hands and legs” of Palestinian protesters, and when the inevitable war crimes were committed, he adroitly avoided any responsibility. As prime minister, he approved Operation Accountability in Lebanon, which expressly targeted Lebanese civilians population, shelling it for days so that its cries of anguish may force the government in Beirut to rein in Hizbullah (the architect of this infernal policy was, natch, Ehud Barak). His grave is not “sacred” (it takes a strange kind of perversion to consider yourself a secular person and yet consider a grave to be sacred); his memorial certainly not. Those who insisted on speaking about the man and not about the murder, those who worship the memory of a kindly grandfather, should not be surprised that the day of his mourning is quickly becoming less important than that of the fast day in memory of Babylonian collaborator Gedalia.

The silencing: The media quickly dubbed Schijveschuurder as insane. There’s no good reason to think he is, and people should be wary of the tendency to call political opponents (and Schijveschuurder is clearly a right-winger) insane. The practice has a sordid history.

Listening to Schijveschuurder himself, it seems he carried out the act while in compos mentis. He wanted to protest the release of the murderers of family as part of the Netanyahu Deal. He knew he had to break through a massive cone of silence by the Israeli media, who marginalized the opponents of the deal. His logic was clear: The mass support for the deal comes from the Left, a provocation is needed – and what could be more provocative than the besmirching of the memorial of the Left’s idol?

"Free Yigal Amir" (Rabin assassin) and "Price tag" graffitied at Rabin Memorial (Photo: Activestills)
"Free Yigal Amir" (Rabin assassin) and "Price tag" graffitied at Rabin Memorial (Photo: Activestills)

Yours truly does not support, generally, the defacing of monuments; but I was not at all shocked when someone, forgot his name, spilled paint on the Baruch Goldstein mausoleum in Kiryat Arba. On the contrary. The people living in former Soviet-occupied lands who pull down Stalin statues and Red Army monuments have my complete sympathy, and should someone blow the statue of the butcher Sir Douglas Haig sky-high, I’d donate to his defense fund. The pain of people hurt by the Netanyahu Deal ought to be expressed somewhere, and the mainstream media does not seem to cooperate. The Kahanists, outlawed after the Goldstein massacre, are fond of saying that “when you shut someone’s mouth, his hands will tal, instead.” There’s some truth in that. Large segments of the population oppose the deal, and we don’t hear them because the media is busy in its Schalit orgy, and trying to convince us that anyone who opposes the deal is either a raving right winger or a raving loony.

Supporting the extreme right wing is still legal, or so I hear. Furthermore, Alex Fishman wrote yesterday in Yediot that of the terrorists Netanyahu is about to release, 279 were sentenced to life for killing 599 Israelis. The people released in the infamous Gibril deal of the 1980s have, in comparison, murdered “just” 178 Israelis. The ISA (AKA Shin Beth), according to Fishman, estimates that 60% of the prisoners will return to terrorism. Assuming they would be just as effective as before, the price of the Netanyahu deal can be estimated in 359 dead Israelis. Assuming the ISA would be supernaturally effective and will foil 99% of their plots – not bloody likely, particularly if relations with the PA will collapse – then we are dealing with four murdered Israelis. Last I checked, four is more than one. Statistically, we sacrifice four Israelis, at least, to the Schalit Moloch. Hamas, we are told, was not even willing to say it will refrain from capturing soldiers in the future. Yes, Netanyahu was that firm, that resolute.

Then again, it’s always easier to identify with the person we know than with future victims, who by definition are unknown. The campaign of the Schalit cult was wildly successful: Every Israeli knows Schalit, and much of the public was convinced to treat him as a “child.”

Second, there are the families of the victims, who are now asked politely to shut up so as not to spoil the celebrations (Netanyahu’s lapdog, Hanoch Daum, wrote precisely that in Yediot this morning). Dvir Volk, a blogger who learned the murderers of his father are to be released, wrote on Twitter bitterly that “If I had a shekel for every year the people who murdered my father spent in jail, I would still not have enough money to buy toilet paper and wipe Bibi’s piss from my face.” One can assume thousands of people, who lost their dear ones and their friends to murderers about to be released, feel like him, as do hundreds of thousand – if not millions – of people who think the Netanyahu Deal is both folly and crime.

And if the media shuts their mouth, it at least should not act surprised when their hands speak, instead.