In Israel’s historic consciousness, the gallows are associated with holiness. Many Israelis shudder when someone mentions the names of pre-Israel underground fighters, members of the Irgun and of the Stern Gang, who died at the gallows.
Every Israeli child knows by heart the history of intelligence agent Eli Cohen, who ended his life at a Damascus square, while bloodthirsty masses watched on as he was hanged.
And now, the gallows are back in our lives: In Faraway Thailand, two Israelis were sentenced to death. Are they freedom fighters? The State of Israel’s emissaries on some secret mission? Anonymous soldiers on behalf of the State? Not at all. They are allegedly drug dealers. People who apparently tried to make a handsome profit by selling 23,000 ecstasy pills.
Yet nonetheless, we shall now see their relatives speaking up and demanding the government of Israel’s and Foreign Ministry’s intervention. They will also issue scathing complaints about what they view as the insufficient efforts to save their loved ones.
Of all the countries in the world, only in Israel we see families slamming the government like that, as if it is the State’s role and duty to bring the wrongdoers home.
We pampered the Jews living here so much that even the relatives of adventurous backpackers complain about the failures of the government; their son decided to risk his life mountain-climbing in Guatemala, and now they feel the State of Israel must stop everything and bring him back home safely.
On the one hand, there is something beautiful and very unique about it – the fulfillment of the statement “kol Israel arevim ze la’ze.” On the other hand, there should be a limit to the help we can offer the miserable souls who risk their lives, particularly when it comes to drug dealers.
Oh well, as we could have expected, the Foreign Ministry is already trying to spare the lives of the two Israelis and save them from the gallows. Perhaps this is a good thing after all - After all, we are all Jewish and merciful.