The rule of law? Don’t make them laugh

Kids won’t respect law and democracy if elites abuse both with impunity.

December 20, 2011 23:37
vandalism at Jerusalem mosque

vandalism at Jerusalem mosque_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Last week’s upsurge of right-wing extremist violence – which included breaking into and vandalizing a West Bank army base, stoning Palestinian cars, torching two mosques and assaulting and injuring an Israel Defense Forces officer – sparked a wave of denunciations, and rightly so. Such violence can’t be tolerated, and more can and must be done on the law-enforcement front. That some 50 extremists could invade an IDF base without soldiers arresting a single one, for instance, is outrageous.

But solving the broader problem of the extremists’ utter contempt for democracy and the rule of law is much more difficult, because, contrary to popular wisdom, better education by rabbis and teachers won’t help. In fact, nothing will, as long as these youngsters continue to see democracy and the rule of law being flagrantly abused by the same elites who preach those virtues most loudly.


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