Photo: Ronen Bash
Raanan Shaked
Photo: Ronen Bash

Medieval injustice in Jerusalem

Op-ed: Focus on social protest 'vandals' and apathy towards exclusion of women in capital signal victory for the dark side

We were so shocked this week when a few "bad weeds" shattered the front windows of two bank branches to drive home the point that despite the fact that a year has passed, a state commission of inquiry was established and hundreds of thousands took to the streets –history was not made and will never be made under the current regime.


Shocking. Vandalism. Anarchy. Ahh! There must be another over-the-top and irrelevant word! I suggest "desecration," and if you're fine with it, we can move on.


Meanwhile, in the same universe, just a few dozen kilometers from there, white paint was sprayed on posters promoting the Jerusalem International Film Festival which bore the image of a woman riding a bicycle (in a long dress!).


At the same time, vandals sprayed paint on posters advertising a Shiri Maimon concert in the same holy capital. This did not happen in ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem. It happened in midtown, but no one seemed to make a big deal out of it.


And why should anyone make a fuss? It really was no big deal. You didn't hear about it. You weren't shocked. Actually, you're probably considering turning the page at this point. And why should this shock us? First of all, the whole issue of the exclusion of women from the public sphere is behind us.


We saw, we protested, we clicked our tongues. Secondly, it appears as though we have become so accustomed to it, that the complete and final disappearance of women from the public sphere in a city that is the official capital of Israel is considered a normal occurrence.


Because that's the way it is, right? Let's just learn to live with it, right?


So the publicists prepare special versions of their posters for Jerusalem, the advertisers fund these posters, the seculars ignore the issue altogether (because there's a limit to the number of wars you can conduct simultaneously) and the mayor doesn't want to agitate anyone.


This is nothing new, of course. The change, if you can call it that, lies in the utter indifference and the acceptance of a situation we told ourselves, not too long ago, that we would never come to terms with.


It took us no time at all to make the switch from "never" to "that's the way it is."


And if this is the time it takes for the Israeli public to accept such a medieval injustice as the expulsion of women from the public sphere – how long will it be before we accept legislation that will outlaw homosexuality or laws that will require women to wear veils?


An imaginary scenario? Really? Not if you ask Knesset Member Anastassia Michaeli. And not if you consider the Jerusalem precedent, where there is no need for a law to exclude from the public sphere. The capitulation to fundamentalism accompanied by vandalism has created a new reality on the ground and resulted in a one-sided victory.


So before your heart goes out to a Bank Leumi branch with the shattered front window, let's take a step back and remind ourselves where the real injustices are taking place. The real damage is not shattered glass or spray paint; the real damage is the daily indifference and the acceptance of the intolerable, which lead, as always, to the triumph of the dark side.





פרסום ראשון: 07.02.12, 10:27
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