Upstairs, Downstairs – The Israeli Version

The Israeli government’s predatory and unrestrained behavior has instilled a sense of impending doom among many citizens. The members of the coalition seem determined to dismantle the country’s institutions, exploit its resources, and undermine its social resilience and international standing. While these individuals and groups may have diverse motivations, their behavior can be explained by an unexpected and reactionary attempt by self-proclaimed arch-conservative forces to reshape history.

In the classical pagan world, a morality based on the dominance of the strong over the weak and masters over slaves prevailed. However, Nietzsche argued that the Jewish people initiated a significant philosophical revolution by challenging and transforming the prevailing moral concepts. They introduced a new and elevated morality—the morality of the sheep—aimed at protecting both citizens and slaves, with its prophets proclaiming a utopian vision of harmonious coexistence symbolized by the metaphor of “a wolf living with a lamb.”

Nietzsche also presented a disconcerting vision of an alternative morality in opposition to this “Slave-Morality.” He envisioned a society of conquerors and masters, organized as warriors and endowed with tremendous power, ruthlessly subjugating a larger population. This concept reflected the authority of the commanders, where those naturally inclined to command and exercise violence held positions of dominance.

In this context, all factions within the current Israeli coalition seem to be a part of a messianic movement seeking to create an antithesis to the history of the Jewish people. The repressed oppressive reality of the occupation has spilled beyond its territories, and now these parties aim to impose the “Master-Morality” Nietzsche described on the Israeli state itself. In this value system, there is no absolute notion of “good” and “evil.” Instead, the masters define what is “good” and “less good” for themselves. The masters, being strong and in control, are considered good, while the less powerful are deemed “bad” and subject to the masters’ actions, laws, and whims. The actions and laws of the masters are regarded as natural laws that should not be questioned or scrutinized.

The current regime’s alarming vision extends beyond altering the course of history; it seeks to reject cultural norms and values. According to Freud, culture relies on the feeling of guilt, which operates through the conscience and is embodied in the rule of the higher self. This mechanism aims to restrain humanity’s inherent tendency towards violence. Freud warned about two opposing instincts that challenge culture—the drive to build and the more dangerous drive to destroy, leading to death and aggression. Culture combats these instincts by instilling guilt and developing systems of morality and law. Although this may sacrifice individual happiness, it serves the greater good.

Freud’s words from 1930 resonate with the prevailing zeitgeist in Europe, which showcased a desire for destruction and endless aggression. He cautioned that a culture devoid of conscience, becomes vulnerable to aggressive and self-destructive instincts, is at risk of collapse.

Considering the present reality in Israel, it is therefore vital to acknowledge that the danger ahead exceeds mere economic recession or changes in the political system. It represents a genuine peril of moral, cultural, and social collapse. Attempting to impose the Master-Morality in the occupied territories while advocating for democratic and moral values within the Green Line is an untenable situation, since the masters of the occupation have amassed significant power now, allowing them to turn even the citizens of Israel into actual slaves.

About the Author
Anat Narkiss is a Social and Marketing Psychologist, with nearly three decades of research into Israeli society and its diverse communities.
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