Jewish and democratic – that’s supposedly the source of the problem, the paradox. You cannot be a cat and a dog at the same time. But the current era, which is a time of miracles and wonders, increases the possibility that you can be both, that there is no real contradiction. To say that these are two different, contradicting things that don’t go together – a Jewish and a democratic state – just isn’t in the flow. Anyone who does, however, knows that in the kind of Zen Buddhist emptiness in which Israel is floating, the terms themselves are not assigned a fixed meaning. Everything is diffuse, amorphous, inconsistent – it’s fun. People who go with the flow know that this dilemma is a thing of the past and that the state of Israel and its citizens have no problem being democratic and Jewish in the same breath, or being anything else they may want this matter to be. Each of these terms has gone through a dazzling process of flexibility and has become empty of content. No contradiction is conceivable between nothing and nothing.
One of the peculiarities of the democratic mindset is belief in dialogue, a cornerstone of democratic culture. Dialogue is not a tool to get anywhere, not a means; It is not intended to conduct a conversation to a conclusion, an agreement – or, for heaven’s sake, an action: it is the goal in itself. Dialogue is good, you can talk forever. You can wallow in dialogue, make it the alpha and omega. The belief in dialogue exists in both political camps. The flexibility that democratic thinking offers enables everyone to participate.
When a far right, Itamar Ben-Gvir, talks about democracy, he is referring to one thing; The term has a different meaning for Stav Shaffir. But what they have in common is the strange, declared love for “democracy”. When a personality like Ben-Gvir strives to be a democrat, there are only rhetorical reasons to think about the nature of the term. Even the rabbis who enjoy annoying Haaretz readers with statements about gays and women – even they know how to refuse to praise democracy when necessary. Each of them can mobilize democracy for themselves and steer it in the right direction. In these circumstances, the term “democracy” resembles a prop that is available to any actor. with this prop in hand, he is entitled to hold the monologue he desires. A separate democracy for everyone.
It looks like even science knows how to develop a democratic openness to dialogue. The Ramot Yam middle school in Mikhmoret decided this year to introduce a comprehensive scientific-humanistic curriculum on the initiative of Bill Gates’ founded about 10 years ago. The Big Bang chapter drew an angry response from some religious students who considered it inconsistent with the beliefs on which they were raised. “I have no intention of teaching a truth that replaces your truth,” the teacher said quickly. “There is enough room for different perspectives: everyone can decide which one to accept.”
In a democracy, it is important that citizens feel that they are a partner in government processes and decisions, that they too have a say, that they have rights, that things are not one-sided. Modern capitalism creates a similar feeling among consumers as if they decide what and when and where to buy. that he controls his “consumption habits” and “lifestyle habits”. It is clear that these two feelings are illusions in two unrelated areas. That is of course a necessity for a modern, orderly and democratic regime.
The protest spectacle against social justice in 2011 was a beautiful manifestation of a democratic mindset. Nobody can deny that there was a protest here. A real protest (“an authentic”, as the media repeatedly emphasized). Crowds of people took to the streets. Really taken. Put it together, marching shoulder to shoulder, in cities the length and breadth of the country. The passionate young people who initiated the protest were indeed really passionate young people, just as passionate young people are supposed to be. And there were police officers and a few arrests and truncheons and bruises. Moderately.
There was a spirit of change in the air. Everyone was supportive. The Prime Minister and his cabinet, teachers and tilers, employees and editors, even business people and bank owners. They have all supported the right of these young people to launch a colorful public protest – to illustrate and remind us of the fact that we live in a free and democratic regime that is not North Korea. that we are not forced here to bow our heads and recite the praise of the “beloved leader”; that thousands of people here go out with a megaphone and complain about our guide as loudly as possible in the daylight on the main streets of the country, accompanied by an acoustic guitar. And now that we have reaffirmed the belief that we are a free, democratic society, we can put this Woodstock into storage and keep going. This seems to have been the only meaning of the protest movement.
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Under the concerned contingent of democracy lovers, as everyone knows, there is fear of turning to fascism in Israel. Somehow, as of today, this fear seems to be exaggerated, resulting from the left’s predilection for situations involving panic, despair, and pulling out hair. A guide with his back to the wall, a bunch of novices acting as brats, and an audience partly in a coma – that’s a pretty good combination, but not enough to make the transition from our familiar political present to a real one To create pressure chamber of fascism. There are not enough customers for this in Israeli society.
The scale of the political emotions is indeed reminiscent of a bleachers of overwhelmed, out of control football fans, but even those who are sure of the justice and size of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu don’t seem to be about to wear brown shirts and t-shirts Grab clubs to beat up your neighbors at any time. It takes effort. It needs instruction. And it’s just not fun. If fascism arises here, it has to be fun. Otherwise not too many will jump on this train. We can apparently count on healthy Israeli stupidity, the penchant for pleasure, with an attitude that I deserve and that I think is right to be able to at least maintain the appearance of democracy – and that’s no small matter.
Of course, democracy as an idea is a great achievement. However, there is no longer any need to see a connection between reality and progressivity of any kind. In the age of mass democracy – in politics and culture as such – the connection is obviously reversed.
Under the influence of the playful expansion of the democratic mood, Judaism in Israel is also in a process of dementia and dissolution. If in the past the diversity in this framework consisted mainly of two camps, national-religious and ultra-orthodox, we can now identify a whole range of types: casual Judaism, semi-anarchic Judaism, emotional Judaism, secular Judaism (a creative term in and of itself), benevolent Judaism, Judaism of Mizrahi pop and melancholic songs (see under: Shuli Rand, Ishay Ribo and others), receiving-the-Sabbath-Judaism, conservative-hedgehog-Judaism, New Age Judaism, Pothead Judaism, feminist Judaism, “affinity for tradition” Judaism, trance Judaism in Uman, queer Judaism, Judaism religious poet, Judaism blended with Hinduism / Shamanism, my father’s house Jewry – almost as many types as that Number of Jews living here. “Everyone and their own Judaism,” as we find on the website of one of the religious science institutes that wants to bring the secular public closer to the esotericism of Judaism, no matter how or which, as long as they taste of the delicacy.
One of the more interesting – some may say repulsive – rings in this circus is that of musical prayer Jewry. Singer Amir Dadon embodies this well, along with many others. The lyrics of his tender yet powerful songs describe the agony of the path, the temptation to leave it, the “fullness” that awaits you in your “true home”, the journey to the Great Light. Somehow, it’s a strange sight: a young man who looks like he just woke up, with a stubborn face and a stubborn but charming head of hair, with no sign of being religious. “When will I learn how to choose / believe everything is good.”
This genre is flourishing. The pioneer was probably Shuli Rand, inventor of the formula for a very specific type of Schmaltz, which reminds of a groaning, intimate, narcissistic Judaism. While this can be seen as a kind of local version of Christian-American pop / rock, while this music is a prominent niche product and appeals to a relatively small group – in Israel (based on tens of millions of YouTube hits) that is the audience enthusiastic about this product.
After all, we all live on the “between the sacred and the profane” scale, there is no other place. And the distance to one or the other bar is either big or small – every person, depending on how he feels. The truth is that there really are no poles: more and more voices from here and there claim that “secular” and “religious” are no longer valid categories. Let’s go – the end of an era. Now, in the new era, it turns out we’re just Jews. And even if that means nothing to most of us – it doesn’t matter. It’s all for the best.