An atmosphere of polarization leads to extreme actions from both sides of the political spectrum. This much was clear when an activist on Sunday stripped down to her underwear at the Western Wall – the holiest site to Jews – in protest of a proposed law by the Shas party of MK Arye Deri to punish women who dress immodestly at the site with a prison term or a fine.
The flawed proposal was rightfully shut down immediately by both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yariv Levin, which you would have thought would end the whole ordeal. Well, as opposites attract, an extremist decided to desecrate the holy site in an act that was even condemned by the terror group Hamas.
This brings us to a lesson that is taught to toddlers: two wrongs don’t make a right. Why is that the case? Because combating a wrong with a wrong eliminates any legitimate reason you have against said wrong. No matter how hard this scantily-clad woman can try to convince those at the Western Wall that Shas’s proposal was wrong, she would fail. Simply because she is making a legitimate argument with hardly any clothing on.
Fighting wrong with wrong takes way any legitimacy you have
This is not the only case in Israel today. We see it in the current protests against the judicial reforms, too. This is most prominently displayed in the response from certain members of the hi-tech community, primarily in Tel Aviv. While they are correct in pointing out bad aspects of the proposed changes, the way they have gone about protesting is actually negatively impacting the country.
This is quite ironic, as they are simultaneously protesting that the reforms as passed will hurt the economy. In essence, they are preempting suspected negative impacts by creating actual negativity.
This, of course, is the moves by certain investors and entrepreneurs to move their money and maybe their talent abroad. It is fringe at the moment, although there is a push for this to become the norm.
Setting Shas’s Kotel bill or judicial reforms aside, stripping at the Western Wall or calls from hi-tech members to leave Israel is a protest against everything the country and the Zionist vision ever stood for. The very reason we exist as a nation is for our historic homeland in Israel. The Jewish people didn’t endure generations of trauma and suffering to just abandon our eternal possession at a whim.
This is the downside of extremism. Ridiculous people do ridiculous things when proposals with real-life consequences are floated as law. These activists would have been better suited to engaging in serious, open debate. Instead, they have ostracized themselves, with one group leaving the country and the other without clothes.
As a result, these investors and entrepreneurs will have a difficult time reintegrating when things pass over and the women at the Western Wall will actually get fined and may see jail time for engaging in a “disrespectful act.” All of this is in the face of millions who would agree with them against each proposal. Now, maybe they are unsure if they are on the right side, after all.
And this is sad because while some may call their moves noble, running away from problems or making light of them is not how to find a solution. While provocateurs will always make noise, real work is needed to ensure that the country remains a beacon of light to those living here and abroad.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, looked at the role of the Jewish people and said that we are taught to fight darkness with light. This is how we will solve our issues, by bringing light, not more darkness.
Two wrongs will never make a right. That’s how it has always been and always will be.
The writer is a copy editor for The Jerusalem Post. He is an entrepreneur who helps oversee the start-up ecosystem in Jerusalem with Made in JLM. Learn more about him at troyfritzhand.com.