Tomorrow night the right wing is having a demonstration in Rabin Square in support of the soldier who is accused of shooting a wounded and neutralized terrorist. Nadav Eyal the chief foreign correspondent for Channel 10 news tweeted, what a bad idea this was, “it was going to cause the foreign press to start really covering the story.” I tweeted back to him that yes it was indeed going to force me to write an article on the story, and he quoted my tweet. A small twitter storm broke out on the subject, this time with me tweeting mostly in Hebrew. It’s a problem, however, once again I will feel tomorrow night that there is not choice but to write a story about an embarrassing demonstration, with well known singers coming out to defend the soldier. It was suggested to me that I tie into my story the story of a British soldier who in 2011 was accused of killing an already wounded Taliban fighter, and charged with his death. There were demonstrations in support of the soldiers although at first glance the incidents seem very different, I will research the story tomorrow before writing my column.
Unfortunately, tomorrow’s rally and the article I will no doubt write tie together with the survey I translated Friday from Yisrael Hayom. That survey of Israeli high school students included answers by 60% of them that a terrorist who was wounded and neutralized should not get medical aid, with the same percentage believing that a soldier who then comes along and kills the terrorist should not be court-martialed. Those answers would not be so bad if 85% of the same respondents did not think that the IDF was the most moral army in the world and 48% did not think that Arab Israelis should have the right to vote. I am quite sure that a very high percentage of the same respondents would also have said that they were proud that Israel was the only democracy in the Middle East. Experts in polling tell me that I should not be surprised. High school students are the most right wingers in the Israeli population. Friends have told me the I should not be surprised, it represents the very real fear that people feel from attacks on the street by terrorists. All of this is partially true. But it’s also true as a new friend who I was having coffee with today said- Netanyahu has been very successful in turning everyone who oppose us into terrorist, every terrorist into ISIS and then turning ISIS into Hitler. He has then thrown the Arab Israelis in with the terrorist and more recently any of the NGO who oppose his policies into the same mix. The success of that effort partially explains the opinion poll results.
The other part is a true lack of understanding of what democracy and democratic values mean. To me, that is the most important problem that needs to be focused on, and it’s on that, that I intend to focus much of my efforts in the coming months and years. More on that in the near future.