Ashamed of My Own People

In the Jewish/ Israeli/ Zionist/ Mizrachi world, we all really admire our soldiers in the IDF and MAGAV officers (border police who are often confused with army — many people serve their mandatory service in MAGAV instead of the IDF, still performing vital roles). Soldiers in uniform walking through the street get huge respect for all they do on our behalf. There are so many stories of lone soldiers with nowhere to go for Shabbat being welcomed into strangers houses with open arms. (That is to say, figuratively, not with their weapons up). Videos of soldiers singing with civilians. Stories of soldiers who almost missed family weddings to serve. Breslov Hassidim dancing with soldiers who return from the field. Soldiers who prevented terror attacks off duty. We’re proud. Not only because some of them are our family, but because we feel as if they’re ALL our family.

Thus, when I see pictures of some “right-wing”, “religious Zionists” (RZ) — labels that I myself often fall under — physically resisting MAGAV officers, it pains me. It pains me because the religious Zionist are supposed to be the exact opposite. Love the State. Love the soldiers. Live a life striving for peace. Participate in democracy. Contribute to society. Help the State grow. Look after each other. Obey the law — religious and State. These are the values that I always believed to be the values of religious Zionism. Whether it would be Yom Ha’atzma’ut, whether I was visiting Israel, talking about Israel, thinking of Israel, looking at the 5 ft. Israeli flag on my wall… I was always proud.

The first wave of storm troopers arrived at 02:00.

Yet now I feel ashamed. Ashamed because I saw on social media a R.Z. woman share pictures of herself and many others grappling with troops over the past 24 hours. She referred to them as “storm troopers” — referencing the old German elite soldiers from WWI, or perhaps Star Wars, where they are Darth Vader’s bad guys. Ashamed because she captioned one photo, “it’s me screaming don’t touch me”, with the same pride that the soldiers defend the State and the same pride that I felt.

The majority were of course Arabs.

In blatant racism, one settler declared on Facebook that “the majority [of the police officers sent in] were of course Arabs”. What utter nonsense. 16 percent of the Israeli police are Arabs. And it is highly unlikely that the government would especially send Arabs in to a right-wing, RZ settlement. That would be simply ridiculous.

I’m ashamed because I partially agree with the rioters — maybe I would have written an article on why the Israeli government should not have destroyed the settlements. If only the news channels were showing protesters peacefully marching in a civilised manner! For goodness sake ,make your voices heard but not as criminals! Not as the bad guys! Don’t sink to the level of some other protesters (I think you know who I mean)! But that’s beside the point.

They came with instruction to leave as many injured as possible.

The point is, every one of those IDF soldiers or police officers would lay down their lives to save others. Everyone who dons the Israeli uniform, or has the badge on his or her arm, is taking on a commitment to protect the State and its citizens. They do it under huge pressures, working with a tight ethics code yet with the highest motivation — protecting their people. Whether they’re sent into Gaza, surrounded by guerrillas who hide behind civilians making them practically untouchable or apprehending terrorists whilst off duty, it doesn’t matter. Those soldiers who you were shouting at, attacking and trying to harm, those soldiers who you claim — with absolutely NO basis whatsoever — were sent in with orders to hurt you, would die for you.

Whether the government’s decision was a mistake or not, what you did was wrong.

You should be ashamed.

About the Author
Dror Wayne stresses the importance of constructiveness, believing that blogging simply to criticise is a waste of bytes and debating for the sake of debate is a waste of time.
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