Jewish nationalists in Israel cried out “death to Arabs” in a pro-Netanyahu rally, as we read in Middle East Eye:
Having closed off certain roads and Damascus Gate, Israeli police arrested Palestinians in Jerusalem ahead of the march. Videos posted on Twitter showed Israeli officers beating a Palestinian on the steps by Damascus Gate.
The Red Crescent said 27 people were wounded during confrontations with Israeli authorities around the Old City, including three from rubber-coated steel bullets, one from being beaten and one who had been hit by part of asound grenade.Two people were hospitalised.
Authorities beat vendors working in shops near Damascus Gate, and pushed them away from the Old City. The area around the gate was sealed off by early afternoon on Tuesday, except for members of the press, with several barricades set up to clear the way for the settlers’ march.
More than a thousand Israelis waving national flags gathered at the basin of Damascus Gate at the start of the march, singing anthems of the Jewish state’s settler movement.
Videos posted on social media showed Israelis waving flags and chanting “Death to Arabs”.
“It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the LORD will be among
them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, and raise his hand against his
neighbor’s hand” (Zechariah 14:13)
When it comes to Israel, everyone is waiting for — more or less — the same thing: the next world war or the end of the world. Either way, humanity awaits for a major disaster when it gazes upon Israel. In Israel, the world discovered salvation, and at the same time, damnation. For some, Israel holds the land where redemption commenced, and for most, Israel is a source of insanity. Israel is a source of redemption in the sense that humanity’s Savior was murdered there; it is a source of insanity because humanity’s Savior was murdered there. The Man without sin was murdered in the land of Israel, where Greeks longed for Him but Jews despised Him. “Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.” (John 12:20) Surely, such a place is not one of serenity, but chaos. This present article will focus on this hysteria and how its presence ever lingers in our own time, intoxicating the souls of many. “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:3) The Muslim burdens himself with Jerusalem, revering it as a holy site second to only the Kaaba; the Jew burdens himself with Jerusalem, seeing the city as his mecca; the Christian (typically those of the protestant or evangelical persuasion) burdens himself with Jerusalem since he sees it as the holy city of the Jewish people to which he is grafted in; and many secular people revere Jerusalem out of a zionistic attachment to Israel. Regardless of their diversity of beliefs, they all burden themselves with Jerusalem.
Do we need to elaborate on all of the blood that was spilt from Christians and Muslims fighting one another over this city? And we don’t need to go through a detailed lecture to know of the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians. The inciters of the West Bank and Gaza stoke up their people to war against Israel, because they burden themselves with Jerusalem. They look to the earthly Jerusalem, but are blind to the heavenly Jerusalem. “But you have come to the Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22). During the Roman-Jewish war, the fighting was not merely Jews versus Romans; a huge part of that conflict was Jews fighting one another, and for what? To control Jerusalem. Time and time again we have seen the numerous examples of blood spilt over this city, and since mankind does not learn, who is to say that a civil war amongst the Jews could never happen again? There are voices in Israel — albeit they are few — who have been warning about an impending civil war, not between Jew and Arab, but amongst the Jews, between the Left-wing and the Right-wing. In the year 2016, the former director of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, affirmed that there is a threat to Israel much worse than any of its Muslim neighbors — civil war amongst Jews. In a press conference Pardo was asked about threats to Israel and he replied:
“If a divided society crosses a certain threshold, you can reach phenomena such as civil war, in extreme cases… I’m afraid we’re in that direction … Threats to countries today are internal and not external. What you have in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya and in Yemen and in a lot of countries – you see the daily statistics of attacks.”
In other words, while external threats do exist, the greatest threat is within, and thus Israel could become another Syria where civil war has devastated the country. Israel is a country heavily divided between Right and Left, with the Mizrahim (Arab or North African Jews) being more in the former and the Ashkenazi (European Jews) in the latter. The Israeli activist and writer, Uri Avnery, agreed with Pardo and wrote on how this rift would not just be on ideological lines but ethnic lines as well:
“We don’t have a civil war yet. But ‘we are rapidly approaching it.’ Civil war between whom? The usual answer is between ‘right’ and ‘left’. Right and left in Israel do not mean the same as in the rest of the world. In Israel, the division between left and right in Israel almost solely concerns peace and the occupation. But I suspect that Pardo means a much deeper rift, without saying so explicitly: the rift between Ashkenazim (‘European’) and Mizrahim (‘Oriental’ or ‘Arab’) Jews. The Sephardic (‘Spanish’) community, to which Pardo belongs, is seen as part of the Orientals. The overwhelming majority of the Orientals are rightist, nationalist and at least mildly religious, while the majority of the Ashkenazim are leftist, more peace-oriented and secular. Since the Ashkenazim also tend to be socially and economically better off than the Orientals, the rift is profound.
When Pardo was born (1953), those of us who were already aware of the rift comforted ourselves with the belief that it was a passing phase. The ‘melting pot’ will do its job, intermarriage will help and after a generation or two the whole thing will disappear. It did not happen. On the contrary, the rift is deepening swiftly.”
Right-Left tensions have not calmed down at all in Israel, but is only getting more and more exasperated, especially with the new government coalition that has now supplanted Netanyahu’s Likud Party. More than half of Israel still supports Netanyahu’s Likud Party, which is evident in the fact that it won the most seats and votes in both the 2020 and 2021 elections. A huge chunk of Israel, on the other hand, despises Netanyahu which is demonstrated in what just took place within the Israeli government in which a coalition of parties led by Naftali Bennet and Yair Lapid overpowered the Likud and removed him from power (46% of Israelis support the Bennett-Lapid government). But this does not demonstrate that Netanyahu is not popular, but only that Israel is intensely divided. The cult of personality surrounding Netanyahu has been in Israel for a long time. In 2002, three years after Netanyahu lost the premiership, he was told by Yair Lapid: “there were people who cried and said they would kill themselves, and there were others who said they would leave the country if you were ever elected again.” Netanyahu rose to power in the midst of Jewish fanaticism. He first won office in 1996, just a year after a Jewish fanatic murdered the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, because he advanced the Oslo Accords which guaranteed the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.” Any move by the government to enact the demands of the Palestinians will be met with not just protest, but violence by Jewish nationalists. This was affirmed back in 1986 by professor Ian S. Lustick. He warned that if a governing coalition party could be in the position to appeal to Arab demands, there would be a very violent reaction, not just against Arabs but other Jews:
“Even if a governing coalition could be formed of parties willing to accept an agreement based on the principle of territory for peace, the implementation of that policy would trigger intense and widespread opposition and pose real challenges to the parliamentary regime’s ability to sustain itself. … In Israel such a crisis would almost certainly involve repeated demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of Jews, violence against both Jews and Arabs, challenges to the authority and legitimacy of the government, a host of rabbinical decrees opposing the government’s intentions, the creation of scores of new illegal settlements, threats of civil war, a sudden influx of militantly ultranationalist Diaspora Jews, and, as suggested above, attempts at spectacular actions such as the destruction of the Muslim shrines in Jerusalem.”
The new coalition that has removed Netanyahu is a mix of left-wing, liberal, rightist, nationalist and religious parties, and even an Arab party called Raam, — a partnership that Netanyahu described as “a dangerous leftist government.” That the new government included an Arab party as part of its coalition against the Likud Party is ominous of more political tension between Jews. For decades we have been fed the narrative of “Jew vs. Arab” as if this is the emphatic, black and white reality of the situation. What we are rarely told of is the division between Jews. When two different religious and ideological groups go head to head, it gets violent and bloody, but there is no war more vicious than those between people of the same group, of the same nation. The most vicious war that America was ever in was against itself; the worst wars that Europeans ever engaged in were the ones against themselves; the most devastating wars that Israel ever went through where ones in which Hebrew killed Hebrew, be it in Israel versus Judah, or when the Zealots killed the Jews not on their side. When the Romans and Jews warred against each other, it was obviously destructive, but it was nowhere near as devastating as the inter-Jewish fighting that occurred within the walls of Jerusalem. Catholics and Muslims had many wars against each other, but nothing was more destructive than when Catholics and Protestants — who had similar theologies — fought one another. Muslims will fight those of other religions, but when it comes to Islamic wars, there is none more cruel and ruthless than when Sunnis and Shiites war with each other. That a coalition of Jewish parties — some Rightest and some Leftists — are including an Arab party that represents the demands of Israeli Arabs, shows that Jews will side with those who have been portrayed as their worst enemies just to overthrow their Jewish rivals (in this case the Likud). The Right-wing Jews loyal to Netanyahu’s party are, expectedly, using the presence of an Arab party in the rival coalition as proof that these Jewish parties are traitors.
With the replacing of Netanyahu has come an intensification of rage. This was pointed out by Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service director Nadav Argaman:
“We have recently identified a rise in increasingly extreme violent and inciteful discourse particularly on social networks… This discourse may be interpreted among certain groups or individuals, as one that permits violent and illegal activity that may even cause physical harm”
This is happening regardless of the fact that the presence of an Arab party in an Israeli coalition could actually help accelerate the deepening of ties between Israel and her Arab neighbors, a trend which we have been seeing in recent years. Nonetheless, the alliance between Arabs and Jews to defeat a rival Jewish politician indicates one thing: the rift between Jews is more seething with hatred than the divide between Arabs and Jews. In fact, when Netanyahu entertained the idea of making an alliance with the Arab Raam party, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, the spiritual leader of the United Torah Judaism party, commented that “cooperation with those who respect religion and Jewish tradition is better than those who persecute religion.” By those who “respect religion” he was referring to the Islamist Raam party, and by those who “persecute religion” he was referring to the secular Jews.
The tensions between the Right and the Left, between the religious and secular in Israel, has been ongoing for many decades. In 1970, the Jewish Orthodox professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz stated that it was likely that Israel would eventually come to a split between the religious and the non-religious: “we will likely split, against our will, into two nations, not marrying into each other, each pursuing its own historical path, feeling profound hostility toward the other.” Leibowitz envisioned that these two nations would be the Jewish nation and “the non-Jewish Israeli people.” (See Passig, The Fifth Fiasco, p. 159) Yuval Diskin, the 12th director for Israel’s Shin Bet, warned in 2015 that if the Israeli government, to make a compromise with the Arabs, ever decided to force Jews out of the settlements that a civl war would break out between settlers and the government. He made mention of this prospective insurrection in an interview with Dror Moreh:
“As the threat of people having to leave their homes increases, we’ll see more and more people, and not on the outskirts, supporting or joining actions which ultimately might lead to use of force — including against the army, including against the police — and this could also lead to another political murder.”
When Moreh asked Diskin to elaborate further on what he meant by a civil war, he explained:
“There are situations in a people’s life where the option is either to split up — establishing the Kingdom of Judea and the Kingdom of Israel —or to go for a situation where one side enforces its opinion and defeats the other side fully and absolutely.” (Moreh, The Gatekeepers, p. 361)
We are not predicting a forced eviction of the settlements, but the words of Diskin reflect how explosive the political and ideological atmosphere in Israel really is. Another sign of Israel’s political ticking time bomb are the demographic trends. The ultra-Orthodox in Israel have more children than any of the other Jewish factions. They have a fertility rate of 4.2% as opposed to the 1.2% birth rate of the non-Orthodox Jews. The majority of the immigrants making aliyah (Hebrew term to signify Jews moving to Israel from other countries) are religious and nationalistic. Two out of three immigrants to Israel are from Ukraine or Russia, a previous source of both nationalist and religious Jews to Israel. As these trends continue, another thing that continues is the growing domination of Right-wing ideology in Israel. The fact that Right-wing nationalism is extremely high amongst Israel’s youth is very significant, since when an ideological movement is confided to the elderly, it is a sign of its impending death, but when youth advance a cause, it will continue on and thrive. As we read in a report from Statfor:
“Israel’s right-wing attitudes have come to dominate the overall youth vote, with most of this demographic rejecting a Palestinian state and favoring military deterrence over diplomacy with militants.”
With such zeal for a militarist Israel against Palestinians, a compromise with the Arabs would be a prospect for throwing a match into a room full of gas; any such move is a potential catalyst towards bloodshed. The same report by Stratfor warns of political instability due to the intensification of nationalist sentiments: “The right-wing drift will have potentially negative consequences domestically and abroad, such as political unrest and international isolation.” This political unrest, if it goes on unchecked, would inevitably escalate to inter-Jewish conflict.