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Photo: Motti Kimchi
Leftist, rightist protestors clash in Tel Aviv. 'Shouting is their profession'
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Finance Minister Yair Lapid
Photo: Motti Kimchi

Those who scream their hatred don't represent Israel

Op-ed: Real Israeli discourse, which is shared by 99% of residents, isn't filled with hatred towards one's fellowman, doesn't silence people, and knows how to agree even when it's okay not to agree.

Journalist Gideon Levy, Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi, right-wing activist Benzi Gopstein, the youth shouting "death to the Arabs," the protestors chanting "Israel is a murderer" and the protestors who show up to beat them up, the rightist and leftist talkbackers – those who curse, threaten, act violently.

 

 

It doesn't really matter if they come from the right or from the left, because it isn't about the text but about the volume. Shouting is their profession.

 

It's time to say to them: We will not take part in what you are doing.

 

We will not let you be the face of the State of Israel, we will not let you determine our image, our discourse, the way we live together.

 

The real Israeli discourse, which is shared by 99% of the state's residents, is not filled with hatred towards one's fellowman, does not silence people, and knows how to agree even when it's okay not to agree.

 

This real discourse could be heard on Monday night, during the funeral of the no-longer lone soldier Sean Carmeli; among the young people who stood under Jerusalem's Chords Bridge waving flags of Israel without a single word of explanation, because there is no need for explanations; in 13-year-old Uri Greenberg's heartbreaking eulogy for his father, Major Amotz Greenberg, who went on reserve duty although he could have been discharged. He went, and then he was gone.

 

In the past few days I have been visiting quite a few hospitals. On Monday I was at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, on Tuesday at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, visiting the wounded. Children my son's age, with bristles and white teeth bursting forth from behind the stitches and scratches.

 

Every three minutes, someone walks in with a flag, with candy, with a fruit basket, with greetings from the military unit. People who don't know each other have traveled two and a half hours to say, "I am here to give you a hug," and then they're a bit embarrassed to hug.

 

They are not strangers, because they are part of the same thing. Because we are part of the same thing. This is the Israel we choose. A particularly large squadron, the class of May 14, 1948.

 

The discourse on the social networks is not only terrible and degrading, it is also misleading. We are not really like that, and we must not keep silent anymore. The truth has been called up, and it must show up at the Israeli society's meeting area. We must start voting with our feet: Cancelling the subscription, blocking the user, report him or her to the police, not standing idly by.

 

I know that you may already be there. That you have already cursed, that you have already gotten caught in the circle of hatred and rage, that you have already protested or boycotted or offered to break someone's bones. That doesn't mean you can't come back from that bad place.

You're allowed to change your mind. You can still decide that you belong to the heavenly Israel – the democratic Israel, whose dignity is human dignity and where human liberty is our freedom.

 

This state was established as a response to hatred, as a response to oppression, as a response to violence. It was established because we were thrown to the dogs, and the foundation of its existence is the decision that others will no longer be allowed to kill us. Not from the outside, and definitely not from within.

 

The purpose of freedom of expression is not for people to say "good morning" to each other on a spring day; it is aimed at all the annoying and infuriating opinions we don't want to hear. On other hand, the purpose of freedom of expression is not to give the stage to those who scream their hatred louder, but to allow a variety of opinions and thoughts which generate a civilized society.

 

That is the society we want to live in.

 

We won't let the yellers from the right and from the left take it away from us.

 

Yair Lapid is Israel's finance minister and leader of the Yesh Atid party.

 


פרסום ראשון: 07.24.14, 00:58
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