Saturday, February 19, 2011

Understanding the Israeli Left Wing

Recently the Israeli Education Minister announced that schools would be encouraged to have school trips to Hebron to see the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

This immediately turned into a political affair, with the left and the right weighing in, and with no real surprises by either side. 

"Former MK and Gush Shalom founder Uri Avnery said that “Gideon Sa’ar has ceased to be the minister of education and turned into Israel’s minister of propaganda, aiming to instill an extreme right-wing ideology” into Israel’s school system.
“Every year we hear the heartrending stories of pupils whose parents can’t afford the required fee and therefore can’t participate in school trips with their classmates, and feel ashamed and humiliated,” Avneri continued.
“Instead of helping these cases, Minister Sa’ar is opening the public treasury wide to finance trips that are nothing but a political provocation in the service of the settlers. 

And Ynet managed to find some leftist school boy -

But Yotam Berger, a high school student and member of Peace Now's youth group, opposes the plan. He and his friends have even written a petition against it and are collecting signatures.  "We think it is very important to discuss Jewish values, but it must be done through joint lessons for Jews and Arabs. It should not be done through total disregard for the Palestinian public and the harming of democracy," Berger said. "Just as religious students are not made to drive on Saturday, students must not be forced to visit a place in which democracy does not exist and a military force occupies a civilian population. The education minister's initiative reeks of politics and is intended to promote a right-wing agenda," the petition says.

Here is what I don't understand. Even people with a left wing leaning (such as myself) must acknowledge the Jewish link to the city. You can go see an important site such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs without it being "Political". Even if in your worldview in the future it should become Palestinian territory, it will not negate the three thousand years of Jewish history in the spot.

This is an example of a left wing view which I can never participate in. It has slowly moved from a worldview which was willing to give up parts of our ancestral homeland due to considerations of Morality and/or security, and moved to just denying any right of Jews to the land.  Gone are the days when the left would cry over every centimeter it would be willing to give up. 

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