Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Similar to the Attack on Begin

Excerpted from an op-ed on the Women of the Wall by Evelyn Gordon:

...The “exclusion of women” narrative—which is just one element of a broader media campaign decrying Israel as a “racist,” “fascist,” “antidemocratic,” “apartheid” state—is eerily reminiscent of the left’s response to the upset victory of Menachem Begin’s Likud in the 1977 election after nearly 30 years of uninterrupted rule by parties of the left. One Haaretz columnist, for instance, termed that election “the beginning of the end of the State of Israel—at least, the State of Israel as we knew it.” For years afterward, comparisons of Israel to Germany, Italy, and Spain in the 1930s were rife, as one of Israel’s leading law professors, Menachem Mautner, noted in his book Law and the Culture of Israel. The literary critic Dan Miron wrote in 1985: “From Jerusalem, the fire of civil war is liable to erupt, toward which we are advancing step by step….Here, in the city of the parliament and government, forces are gathering that will try to suppress or abolish Israeli democracy.” Amos Kenan’s 1984 novel The Road to Ein Harod envisioned a right-wing military coup producing a junta that would hunt down leftists and execute them without trial, expel Israeli Arabs, and bring the country to the brink of nuclear war. Benjamin Tammuz’s 1984 novel Jeremiah’s Inn envisioned Israel becoming a Haredi country whose secret services persecuted the few secular Jews who hadn’t managed to flee.

In reality, Begin didn’t turn Israel into a fascist, fundamentalist state; indeed, Haaretz columnists today routinely laud him as a quintessential democrat (though only as a precursor to claiming that Netanyahu isn’t). Freedom from religion, moreover, actually expanded during Likud’s years in power. In 1984, a Petah Tikva movie theater opening on Shabbat was an epic development; within a few years, places of entertainment opening on Shabbat had become routine...
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