Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Israelis Celebrate Dress-Your-Children-In-Stripes-And-Pretend-To-Be-Persecuted Day

It's ironic that in one of the world's most vicious theocracies there should be a highly visible demonstration complaining that the government is insufficiently religious. But there you are. Israel's ultra-Orthodox Haredi community (currently around 10% of the population but expected to grow to around 20% over the next twenty years because of its huge birthrate) protested against the "secularisation" of Israeli society. Basically the protest was a complaint about Haredim's being expected to obey the same laws as less devout Jews, and specifically against the arrest of Shmuel Weisfish, who could after all hardly be expected not to assault shopworkers selling MP4 players which were capable of playing non-religious materials. There was also another nutter arrested recently for verbally abusing a female Israeli soldier who refused to move to the back of the bus away from the men (and no, her name was not Rosa Parks). These persecuted dears, on the rare occasions when the Israeli authorities give a shit, consider themselves to be the victims of a new Holocaust, hence their fancy dress.

While Tzipi Livni, the leader of the opposition, spoke out against the demonstrators, as did the leading ultra-orthodox rabbi. But from the "secular" government? Only Ehud Barak seems to have had the courage to stand up to the religious crazies. After all, as one of the protestors said, “We didn’t come to demonstrate, we came to show our power, and that our power is forever.”

And of course much of the anger has not been at the ludicrous nature of the protest itself, but at its use of imagery from the Holocaust (TM) which has proved so valuable over the years to the Israeli state and its supporters.


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