An Israeli Journalist’s Apology to the State of Israel

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are traditionally a time of repentance and introspection, during which many Jews ask forgiveness from their fellows for any wrongs committed over the previous year. Ruthie Blum, well-known champion of her adopted country, confesses some sins of her own:

I am sorry for attacking the political system. Though this year its flaws became particularly noticeable—with the power of small parties to topple and paralyze the government, and the onset of the current coalition stalemate—it has served the country well. Contrary to assertions from both sides of the spectrum, each for its own reasons, Israel is and remains a flourishing democracy, warts and all. In fact, part of the problem with the system is that it gives a voice and a place in parliament to all sectors. The battle over budgets and the insistence on a say in statecraft is always passionate and often ugly, but this is an indication of success, not failure.

I am sorry, as well, for not standing up forcefully enough to my friends, whether native-born or immigrants, who bemoan their plight and berate Israeli society for being crass, unfeeling, incompetent, and violent. . . . Though it is true that much of the public could stand a lesson or two in the value of good manners, and civil servants might benefit from a course in dealing with customers bogged down in daunting bureaucracy, Israelis tend to be generous of spirit.

[T]he same clerk who grumbles at having to do his or her job would stop to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to someone who fainted in front of him or her. I take on the obligation, then, to underscore all that is good about the country whenever someone stresses its evils in my presence.

I hope to keep the above promises in the year to come, and to live up to an admonition by Isaiah—verse 5:20—which is not recited on Yom Kippur but should be remembered and applied by all of us every single day of each calendar year: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that change darkness into light, and light into darkness.”

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Israeli politics, Israeli society, Journalism, Yom Kippur

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month


Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media