We are in the midst of one of the most vicious election campaigns we’ve seen in recent years. As one of my dearest friends, an intellectual liberal type from Tel Aviv, recently told me, the coronavirus has changed the game. There is no more solidarity, no more patience. For many long years we accepted “you,” and that’s it, we now understand we can’t live this way. The future won’t be like the past. This is a new Israel, he added. We won’t give in anymore, the age of Haredi plunderage of the public coffer is over, the status quo is over. The fat lady has sung.
These harsh words aptly encapsulate this election campaign. Many political pundits are still in the “Yes-Bibi-No-Bibi” frame of mind, while the political system has long since moved on.
It is focused on one thing only: Mainstream Israeli society against the Haredi public; the enlightened secular public against one million “black hat” Israelis.
In a coordinated attack under the guise of the pandemic, the media, in close conjunction with vested politicians, are mercilessly destroying the progress we have seen over the past decade toward solidarity and changes, the fruits of which would have benefited all of us in the coming years.
To be sure, the pandemic, similar to other historic pandemics, is releasing all the demons from their bottles. The hatred, blame and incitement, as in previous pandemics, are of electoral value. The flames of hatred can be fanned, in this case through televised loops of Haredim accompanied by the complimentary slew of commentary and articles – when often times the subject doesn’t really matter as long as the visual effect resonates – a large funeral where all one sees is a giant black mass of humanity, bereft of any individualism; just a horde, clad in black.
A horde described by Avigdor Lieberman as parasites – a horde of black parasites. This is how we are being acclimatized, on a daily basis, to perceiving this public, as one faceless mass, for which our hatred grows stronger with each passing article and exposé.
But the reality of the coronavirus is different. There have been demonstrations and riots in every country, sometimes more and sometimes less. The majority of the Haredi public observes the letter of the safety guidelines.
On Saturday evening, following a weekend of large Purim parties across the country, the main news channels chose to run a scoop, an investigation, an exposé – “The Ben-Gurion Airport Fix” – as the main story. It was quite the storm. We saw Yair Lapid granting a somber interview on the matter: “Tens of thousands of good Israelis are stuck abroad.” He is a little more sophisticated and refined than Lieberman at signaling who is good and who is bad. The goal, however, is the same, along with the results.
Ultimately, this election campaign has already produced one winner: The auto-Israeli anti-Semitism is sometimes more vitriolic than the original brand, and is capable of scoring political points when needed to convince us that we live in a divided country, split to the point of ruin. The status quo is over – until the votes are counted.
Source: Dina Dayan – Israel Hayom