The Israeli “Left”: “The Search For Ways To Survive Spiritual Ruin In A Ruined World”

UPDATE 9 am Israel time Sunday:

Welcome to the new democratic country of EgyptSaturday’s editions of Egypt’s Al-Dustour newspaper were confiscated by government security forces on charges of “fueling sedition” by “harming President Morsi through phrases and wording punishable by law.” By the way, as your humble servant predicted months ago, Morsi–using the incident at the Rafah and Kerem Shalom Crossings as a pretext– is already beginning to follow Turkish PM Erdogan’s example of slowing sacking and replacing Egyptian military officers.

At 11:56 pm last night, southern Israeli families in the Eshkol Region were forced to their bomb shelters by incoming rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.


Your humble servant often struggles to understand the mindset of those on the Israeli left whose tireless efforts to delegitimize Israel have done little except strengthen those of us who oppose them.  

"Nothing is funnier than unhappiness"--a line from Samuel Beckett's "Endgame" directed by Nola Chilton at Jerusalem's Khan Theater.

The Jerusalem Post weekend section yesterday ran an article entitled “Inspiring Chilton” about one of the grand dames of the Israeli left’s intelligentsia, 90 year-old American-born Israeli director and acting teacher Nola Chilton. For the last forty years, Chilton’s particular niche has been documentary theater (also known as “theater of testimony”) whose particular purpose as described by one of her chroniclers has been to “critique Israeli myths and to provide a space where groups generally excluded from the Israeli stage—Arabs, women, the poor, the elderly—can be seen and heard.”

She particularly enjoys staging plays based on Israeli novels on the left such as David Grossman’s Yellow Wind that she just put on at Tel Aviv University. Next week, and this was the impetus for the JPost article, Chilton will be directing a play at the Herzliya Ensemble Theater entitled “Fima”, based on Amos Oz’s 1991 novel.

In describing why she thinks that this play is relevant to Israel today, Chilton says that she chose a quote from Polish author Czeslaw Milosz to put on the program: “. . . the search for ways to survive spiritual ruin in a ruined world . . .” As to the overall thrust of her work, she comments: “I am trying to open people to why we are in pain, and why we are so lost.”

Perhaps it is in these two statements that we can see why the Israeli left is in such despair. With the dawn of the Oslo Peace Accords, they proudly perceived themselves as having pushed Israel into a utopian post-Zionist existence in which Palestinians and Israelis, Muslims and Jews, and people of all stripes would hold hands and sing kumbaya.

Such was the Left’s ecstasy that even after Palestinian suicide bombings had starting blowing their friends and families apart in late 1993, the Left simply refused to see the reality of what was going on and continued to mouth its slogans of “peaceful coexistence.” So delusional were they that even when Yasser Arafat flatly rejected Israel’s incredible offer of peace in 2000 and launched the second bloody intifada, those on the Left shook their heads, wrung their hands, and cried in despair “How can this be?”

It is despair from which they have never recovered–for them, living in Israel means “experiencing spiritual ruin in a ruined world.”

But guess what? Israel did recover from those bloody years, and Israel learned its lessons. While the Left devolved into despair, most Israelis realized the folly of the Left, went on with their lives, and re-embraced Zionism.

Finally,  regarding Chilton’s comment that “I am trying to open people to why we are in pain, and why we are so lost”: while this may be the attitude of the people on the Left that Chilton consorts with, it seems bizarrely disconnected from the feelings of the average Israeli that your humble servant interacts with everyday.

These Israelis are not suffering from some psychosis that needs delving into (their primary pain is the high cost of living)–and certainly do not feel “lost”. They are proud of what Israel has accomplished in the last 64 years, proud of how it has weathered all of the wars and terrorism that have been thrown against our citizens, and proud of how we are returning to our roots. We look forward to the future with optimism, confidence, and determination.  

***Addendum: I close today with an example of how the Israeli Left has continually shot itself in the foot. In one of the more humorously sarcastic events in recent weeks, the Shomron Regional Council awarded honorary citizenship of the Samarian communities of Bruchin, Rechelim, and Kiryat Netafim to Yariv Oppenheimer, the head of Shalom Akshav (Peace Now) and Michael Sefard, the legal advisor to Yesh Din.

As it turns out, construction plans in all three communities had been stalled for years until Peace Now and Yesh Din petitioned the Israel Supreme Court claiming that the three communities were illegal. In the aftermath of the petition, the communities were not only found to be legal, but new building immediately ensued.  

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