The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy


Democracy in Israel

Filed under: Democratic MethodsDomestic PolicyEthics — eidelberg @ 7:00 am

Professor Hillel Weiss, who teaches Jewish literature at Bar-Ilan University, was present at eviction of two Jewish families from Hevron’s Shalhevet neighborhood on August 7. A cameraman witnessed a private exchange the professor had with the Hevron Brigade Commander Yehuda Fuchs, and asked the professor what they spoke about. “I said I hoped his mother will be bereaved, his wife will be a widow and his children orphans,” Weiss responded.

The reporter, employed by Ynet, distributed the video to all of Israel’s news channels.

More or less ignored was the fact that Professor Weiss made the statements while watching his daughter, son-in-law and their six kids forcibly evicted from their home in Hevron’s old marketplace.

This fact did not give Bar-Ilan University President Moshe Kaveh reason to pause: he unequivocally and publicly condemned Weiss, calling the statements “horrific” and deserving of “public denunciation.” He said the university was looking into putting Professor Weiss on trial in an internal tribunal. “The university views his actions very gravely, and demands he take responsibility for them.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak weighed in with a public call to Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz requesting legal action be taken against the professor. He then called upon Kaveh to fire Prof. Weiss unless he recanted. (A marvelous display of democracy in action!)

Of course, Judea and Samaria Police opened a criminal investigation against Weiss for the same day incitement. (Israeli democracy targets only right-wing and especially religious Jews for incitement. Even Arabs and Arab MKs palpably guilty of sedition escape the wrath of the left-wing, secular Establishment.)

But now let me quote and paraphrase Professor Steven Plaut of Haifa University, who noted the following facts:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s daughter Dana was seen on national television last year calling IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz a “murderer,” taking part in a protest with signs reading ‘the Intifada shall prevail’ and engaging in chants about “how many children Halutz has murdered today” outside the army chief’s Tel Aviv home.

Dana Olmert continues to teach Hebrew Literature at Hebrew University, where she received no disciplinary hearing. No legal action was taken against her, nor did the leading papers or top political brass call for their prosecution.

In an interview with MK Aryeh Eldad and retired IDF Major-General Yaakov Amidror, Channel Two’s Yaron London denounced “every settler who allows himself to live on stolen hills of stolen Arab land, and you need 3,000 men to clear out two families.” “What do you think of giving one company permission to open fire?” London asked.

No charge of incitement was taken against London. The reason is obvious: The political and judicial system in Israel as well as its media are dominated by the Left. The same may be said of Israel’s academic institutions.

It’s enough for Israel to have the veneer of democracy (periodic multi-party elections) to endow its despotic government with legitimacy, and its ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—with respectability.

It’s precisely the myth of “Israeli democracy”—supplemented by the mantra of “peace”—that has anesthetized the people of Israel and inhibits them from rising up and putting an end to what in truth is a democratically elected despotism.

Returning to Professor Weiss, however, let us hope that his colleagues in Manhigut Yehudit Jewish Leadership, of which he is a founding member, will rise to his defense. The test of Jewish leadership is how a Jewish leader relates to the individual, in contradistinction to the State. No less than the great philosopher-mathematician Alfred North Whitehead said that “The Jews were the first people not to worship the State.” Of course, Whitehead, a Gentile, would be persona non grata in what is now called the Jewish State of Israel.