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Photo: Michael Kramer
Twenty years after that night at the square, the Internet's hanging pole is waiting
Photo: Michael Kramer
The evil spirits are striking again
Op-ed: Twenty years after I mistakenly thought that Israel's citizens had signed a pact with me to avenge my grandfather's murder through life and peace and harmony, we have returned to the path of blood and his memory is more painful than ever, Yitzhak Rabin's granddaughter writes.
Twenty years after that night at the square, where a call against violence and in favor of peace brought the silent majority, the silence is irritating because we are no longer really allowed to say what we should be shouting.

 

 

The shout freezes and only the three gunshots echo, painting a narrow path, in the middle of which a valley erupted some time ago - and its two parts no longer unite. Neither when the cannons roar, not when the anthem is played.

 

I won’t be overly dramatic. Clearly, we are allowed to say anything. Really. Even complicated or bold or profound messages. Of course we are. We are allowed to say anything. This is a democracy, after all, not Iran. But good luck with the Internet's hanging pole. The talkbackers' rage.

 

I mean, they are no longer talkbackers. Some of them are real profiles, of people with a life and a family and children's pictures in their feed. And they are even ministers and Knesset members. People you know from the past or from the present. They are polluting their mouth and the space and the surroundings with defiled hatred in impure language. With complete fanaticism. With blindness towards any human aspect in the internal dispute. With incitement. It’s a lesson they likely learned in years of total alienation towards any "other": Arab, Ethiopian, Ashkenazi, Russian, Mizrahi, leftist, Haredi, homosexual, Tel Avivian, a work migrant or a war refugee. You name it.

 

Noa Rothman, then and now. 'When did everything change here, and why is there nothing we can do?' (Photo: Tzvika Tishler)
Noa Rothman, then and now. 'When did everything change here, and why is there nothing we can do?' (Photo: Tzvika Tishler)

 

But it's not just the Facebook police; all of us suffer from blindness. There is no exemption. Including myself. There is no other way to survive here, we must admit. We all drive here on the roads, stand in line, and we each have the moment in which we won’t be suckers under any circumstances.

 

And so even if we just let it slip for a moment, because that other person was really rude, we're not exempt either. We are making our contribution, as modest as it may be but definitely decisive, to the continuation of the social sewage. To the erosion of solidarity.

 

With foolish and blunt fatalism, we run our finger over the smartphone, we swear quietly, and we wonder how it happened to us, and when did everything change here, and why there is nothing we can do.

 

And now November is coming.

 

The atmosphere can be cut with a knife, physically and mentally, upon the sudden arrival of a new intifada, with the absence of a well-organized and optimistic doctrine, on our sword and pepper spray and the bench on the street, the security guard at the kindergarten and at the mall and on the bus.

 

But there are no security guards between us, and the evil spirits are striking again and calling for revenge, and wanting to kill each other over the argument, over the country, over the land. And only life has been left outside the discussion, and it is twitching there, seeking to point to everything that can be achieved and experienced and fulfilled - if only these hands stop rising up and hitting and start touching reality softly and accepting it with deep breaths.

 

Twenty years after I mistakenly thought that Israel was a country of solidarity, that its citizens had signed a pact with me to avenge the murder of my grandfather Yitzhak Rabin, may God avenge his blood, through life and peace and harmony - we have returned to the path of blood, and his memory is more painful than ever. But after all, everything is predetermined - yet every person has freedom of choice.

 

Noa Rothman is the granddaughter of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

 

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