Lord of the Flies Is Here: Israel 2015

Lately I have been feeling like I live in a dystopia, but until this morning when I read in Haaretz Zeeva Achi Meir’s letter to the editor, I wasn’t sure  which one it was.

The title of the letter is “Zabotinski and Abba (Abba is also the first name of Achi Meir’s dad) are ashamed of Netanyahu and his friends.”

It starts with the writer’s concern regarding the erroneous and dangerous leadership of the right. She refers specifically to the sons of the revisionists. It ends with the statement that the founders of the revisionist party would have objected to the way things are in Israeli society, and would have fought with all their might against the blindness, callousness and lack of humanity of the prime minister and his confederates. They betray their parents’ legacy and are leading the Israeli society, and the state of Israel, from a mere disaster to the catastrophe of its loss (in moral and existential terms).

This strong letter, which focuses on the behavior of the boys, the sons of (sometimes we call them the princes) the founders of the revisionist movement, brought to mind the name of my dystopia.

It is true that we are not located in an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean, but we might as well be, as we are totally isolated. Besides, in almost every other aspect, it seems that we are in the land of Lord of the Flies.

The novel Lord Of The Flies, by the British author William Golding  (1954) tells the story of the systematic dismantling of a somewhat civilized society. What starts as the resemblance of order is deteriorating into chaos as a group of out of control, preadolescent boys, is trying to survive.

The group leader Ralph just appears to be mature and responsible, and soon the members display cruel behavior as they are willing to sacrifice anyone who is at a disadvantage. They scheme, spread rumors, and fight unnecessary battles. As fear intensifies beasts and monsters, in different forms and shapes, are seen everywhere, and primitive rituals are reenacted daily for protection.

It may seem seem familiar? lately, like on the boys’ island, we have reached a similar chaotic stage. Our leaders are propelled by primal drives, they sacrifice those who are different, and most of all our own Ralph, who was elected to lead us, sees scary beasts and monsters everywhere.

So, what do we do about our protection? Just last Sunday Uri Misgav argued in Haaretz that we too are using rituals as a weapon against terror.

In a rhetoric question he asks in the title of his essay “what do we do in face of terror? And he answers: “Kiss Mezuzas.” Misgav warns that in the midst of a strategic crisis, our leaders (in this case Miri Regev and Eitan Cabel) are conducting a missionary campaign which is devoted to mysticism and black magic.

In Lord of the Flies one of the boys discovered that the monster was within him, but it was too late. Too bad that it also cost him his life. Here too,  insights tend to arrive too late, and many of us are pessimistic whether there is a future for Israel.

At the end of the novel a responsible adult expresses a disappointment at the savage behavior of British boys. At least they were young boys, but our leaders are supposed to know better, we desperately need the help of a responsible adult.


About the Author
I have a PhD in English literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and I usually write about issues concerning women, literature, culture and society. I lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994). I am widow and in March 2016 started a support/growth Facebook group for widows: "Widows Move O.," In October 2017 I started a Facebook group for Older and Experienced Feminists. I am also an active member of Women Wage Peace and believe that women can succeed where men have failed.
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