Is the Right in Israel condemning Zionism to the garbage heap of history? Are they bent on creating a state of Israel that denies the very principles upon which the State of Israel was founded? Are they violating Jewish law?
We have been witness over the past weeks to legislative attempts to pervert the democratic process. Attempts have been made to blur the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of government.
Other laws have been proposes that would put us in the exclusive club that includes only Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leon, Belarus, and China. These are the only countries that place limitations of the funding of NGOs by foreign governments.
But today''s headlines may herald a new low. Right wing groups are mapping out those businesses in Jerusalem that employ Arabs so that the public may be warned and avoid them. A book listing such businesses is due out in the near future.
This comes on the heels of the efforts of another group, The Hebrew Labor Project, to provide kashrut certification to those businesses that agree not to employ Arabs.
A regular blogger for this very newspaper recently wrote, When I drive through my community, I do not want to see THEM. I do not want those criminals in my neighborhood as laborers. I do not want them in my parks.
We are reminded again and again by our sacred texts that we must care for the others in our land for we, ourselves, know what it is like to have been the outsider.
Israel’s proclamation of Independence, a core document of Zionism, states, THE STATE OF ISRAEL... will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; ... it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex;
Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv, wrote, How can Jews, who demand emancipation in Russia, rob rights and act selfishly toward other workers upon coming to Eretz Israel?
The behavior of these Right wing fanatics has no place in Israel. Central to all truly democratic systems is the protection of minorities. (Let me qualify the above words by noting that I am fully aware that the appalling acts and statements described above are not supported by all of those who identify with Israel’s Right).
Yes, I can already hear the critics claiming, What about the Arab boycott of Israeli products? My answer is quite simple. I cannot take responsibility for the actions of others. But I am obligated to take responsibility for my own People, for we have been commanded to be “A light unto the nations”.