Chen Sror Artzi
Chen Sror Artzi
Photo: Ynet
Demonstration in favor of Netanyahu and against the judicial system

This other Israel

Opinion: Benjamin Netanyahu, a man born into extreme privilege, is claiming to be the innocent victim of adversarial forces, in an attempt to fool the ones who truly have the right to claim this status

Chen Sror Artzi |
Updated: 12.03.19 , 18:51
Last week's demonstration in the plaza at Tel Aviv Museum of Art in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and against the judicial establishment was pure gold for any writer.
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  • All the stereotypical characters in the ongoing political drama occupying the country could easily be found among the crowd, all making statements that expressed the shared rage, extremism, and inarticulacy.
    הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו
    Demonstration in favor of Netanyahu and against the judicial system
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    Photographers at the event pounced on two elderly ladies in fine outfits and carefully coiffed blond hair who were hurrying to the museum for a classical music concert, who were soon engulfed by people they would not normally encounter - members of what the press like to call "the other Israel."
    The "other Israel", name code for Sephardi, religious or observant Jews from towns and neighborhoods that are considered off the beaten track and away from the affluent and influential center.
    These people consider Israel's courts and cultural institutions – including the very museum outside which they were gathered – to be a cult and a hegemony that traditionally turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to their needs and experiences.
    So members of this other Israel adopted their own codes, culture and even sub-culture, reclaiming those characteristics that were used against them as insults.
    The courts, academia and cultural institutions all claim to invite diversity, but these efforts are insincere.
    They boast of having Sephardi, Ethiopian and ultra-Orthodox staffer to make them appear pluralistic. But such identity politics ensure only a few are able to ascend to the coveted upper echelons of society.
    Most won't make it and instead will live and die on the sidelines as their rage and impotence grow.
    As long as society seeks to repair itself through this form of conscious diversity – It is destined to fail and its ills to grow.
    Israel's primal sin of branding immigrants from Arab-speaking countries as lesser is today exacting its price while many seek to use the pain it caused to their advantage. The outrage expressed by the other Israel has been nurtured by some who see it as a political tool.
    People want to be seen, recognized and appreciated. They want to be accepted as equal participants and not as adornments or accessories.
    הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו
    Demonstration in favor of Netanyahu and against the judicial system
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    But there will always be those who seek to perpetuate this early misconception, just as there will always be those to fan the flames of malcontent. This is explicitly true of one man who was never sidelined, his origins never belittled and his position firmly in the elite from the day he was born.
    Benjamin Netanyahu has portrayed himself as the victim, a modern-day Alfred Dreyfus, persecuted by an evil elite system out to get him.
    There is no one who plays the victim card better at the expense of those who truly can claim they were dealt a poor hand.
    First published: 18:51 , 12.03.19
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