Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Who will protect the little girls of Beit Shemesh?

It’s a shame that any 8-year-old girl has to put up with abuse, but the hazing of Naama Margolese by fellow Orthodox Jews—albeit of a different sect—is the best civics lesson we’ve had from the Middle East since the fall of Mubarak. [Photo: Oded Balilty/AP]

When hundreds of religious fanatics can line up on a sidewalk to threaten and intimidate little girls, maybe something is wrong with the Zionist vision that the land of Israel is for Jews and only Jews. As in any exclusionary ideology, disputes inevitably must arise as to who is more racially/ religiously/ ideologically/ whatever-ly pure.

The Haredim spitting at Naama for dressing like a slut (apparently her 8-year-old arms were showing) have decided that they, only they, are righteous enough to know what ‘God’ has dictated to be proper biped behavior. This is the exact parallel of the southern Baptists who seethed with murderous rage at the sight of black girls going to Little Rock High in 1961.

Neither is the incident unusual, according to published reports. ‘I think the whole country needs to wake up, that it’s not just a corner in Beit Shemesh, it’s happening everywhere’, a local told The Christian Science Monitor.

It’s too bad that it took abuse of an innocent Jewish child to wake up people to what has been happening in that part of the world for the better part of a century. Can anyone seriously doubt that Arab schoolchildren have been putting up with stunts like this while no one pays any attention? Any objections would immediately be dubbed Hamas propaganda.

The sight of Orthodox Jewish children being called ‘whores’ by religious zealots does illuminate, however, the absurdity of insisting that Hamas recognize the ‘legitimacy’ of the state of Israel—as if the South African problem could have been solved if Nelson Mandela had just endorsed white supremacy.

When Israeli prime ministers get more respect from Congress than a sitting president, we can’t expect an even-handed Middle East policy from Washington. But it will be amusing to watch all the evangelical Christians eager to hitch their wagons to the Zionist train flounder when Israelis themselves can’t decide who is a ‘real’ Jew.

Israeli political leaders, with other, bigger fish to fry, are apparently concerned about the loose cannons on the ultra-Orthodox right. But then again, they’ve empowered these black-hatted fanatics to harass the Palestinian enemy, and their state is based on giving preference and privilege to persons born to a certain ethnic and religious group. Hard to backtrack now.

In addition, the settlement enterprise has made the most extreme elements into heroes and given them military cover for exactly the kinds of nasty behavior on display this week. Too bad when it turns around and bites you on the improperly draped ass.

No comments: