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After Abu Khdeir murder, an ugly collision of homophobia and racism

After Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burned to death, many Israeli Jews insisted he died at the hands of Palestinians. They seized on unfounded rumors of his alleged homosexuality rather than facing the truth of the horrible act.

By Shaked Spier (Translated from Hebrew by Yossefa Mekyton and Shaked Spier)

Alongside the pain, belligerence and anger, it is important to say a few words about homophobia and racism, and how the two manifested after the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. When the burned body of the Palestinian boy was found following public  incitement against Arabs - which peaked after the abduction and murder of Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali – it became likely that the murder had nationalistic motives. Of course, the timing could have been coincidental. It was not.

Palestinian residents of Shuafat stand above the body of Muhammad Abu Khdeir during his funeral. (photo: Activestills)

Palestinian residents of Shuafat stand above the body of Muhammad Abu Khdeir during his funeral. (photo: Activestills)

But a discussion concerning only essentialist categories of “us” and “them” – in which “they” are bloodthirsty animals and “we” are peaceful victims – cannot contain the possibility that “one of us” could have carried out a crime that is so typical of “them.”

Mohammed was a physically gentle boy, at least in his famous photo. A boy that, if one insists, can be seen as gay. And they, after all, are known to be homophobic. Moreover, we’re told, they publicly execute each and every gay and lesbian (minor detail: it’s not exactly true). And we? We give refuge to LGBTQ Palestinians! Though, sometimes we send them back despite the danger to their lives. And anyway, we have a pride parade in Tel Aviv, so obviously we are not homophobic.

So what if the parties in the government coalition are fighting vigorously against any LGBTQ rights? And so what if the Minister of Education recently claimed that gay couples should not be considered “families?” In the shallow world of racist generalizations everything is clear, and a police investigation certainly isn’t needed. They were the murderers - probably Mohammed’s neighbors who were not able to accept his sexual identity.

And what is this conclusion based on? On a single photo of a boy who does not fit the stereotype of a Palestinian man with a thick beard, a...

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An open letter to the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir

As Israel and the Palestinians descend further into open violence, concerned Israelis challenge their fellow citizens in an attempt to forge a joint Israel-Palestinian resistance to violence. 

(Translated from Hebrew by Idit Arad and Matan Kaminer)

Our hands shed this blood, our hands set Mohammed Abu Khdeir on fire, our hands fanned the flames. We have been living here for too long to claim that we did not know, we did not understand, we were not able to foresee. We witnessed the actions of the vast machine of incitement to racism and revenge operated by the government, the politicians, the educational system and the media. We watched Israeli society become neglected and poor, until the call to violence in all its forms became an outlet for many, fighting for their place in the margins of society, teenagers and adults alike. We saw how the meaning of being Jewish was emptied and sharply reduced to nationalism, militarism, a struggle for land, hatred of gentiles, shameful exploitation of the Holocaust and the “Teaching of the King.”

More than anything, we witnessed how the State of Israel, through its various governments, has passed racist laws, enacted discriminatory policies, labored to enshrine the occupation regime, preferring ongoing violence and victims on both sides rather than a peaceful agreement.

Palestinians carry the body of Muhammed Abu Khdeir through the streets of Shuafat. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians carry the body of Muhammed Abu Khdeir through the streets of Shuafat. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Our hands shed this blood, and we wish to express our condolences and our pain to the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who are experiencing an unthinkable loss, and to the Palestinian people as a whole. We oppose the occupation policy of the government and we are against the violence, racism and incitement that exist in Israeli society. We refuse to gave our Jewishness identified with it, a Jewishness that includes the words of the rabbi of Tripoli and Aleppo, the wise Hezekiah Shabtai who said: “Love thy neighbor as thy self” (Leviticus xviii).

This love of one another does not only refer to the love of one Jew or Israeli for another, but to also loving our neighbors who are not Jews. It instructs us to co-exist with them through love, and pursue their safety and welfare. That is not only...

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No such thing as 'half-and-half': On mixed Mizrahi-Ashkenazi identity

The melting pot’s favorite category, ‘mixed,’ doesn’t pass the test of reality: in Israel, banal characteristics like one’s last name, appearance and place of residence, continue to dictate one’s opportunities in life and create an ethnic identity, concerning both class and culture. On Talia Sagiv’s book.

By Itamar Toby (Taharlev)
(Translated from Hebrew by Maayan Goldman)

On the Fault Line: Israelis of Mixed Ethnicity, a new book by Dr. Talia Sagiv of the Hebrew University (Hakibbutz Hameuchad publishing), deals with the offspring of what are called “mixed marriages.” To this day, the myth of mixed marriage has been used as the ultimate weapon of proactive Ashkenazim in the ethnicity debate: the joker card, drawn to silence the oppression of Mizrahim. And here, a doctoral student who was originally trying to prove that there’s no such thing and that “everybody’s marrying everybody nowadays,” manages to deconstruct – from deep within – one of the most successful arguments that historically assisted in nurturing that oppression, mainly against whoever is not white, male and secular.

No doubt – the book’s publication isn’t going to be easy for missionaries of the “everybody’s marrying everybody today and there’s no such thing anymore, so be quiet” argument. Sagiv’s process is extremely interesting, because she goes beyond statistical data and takes a clear interpretative, qualitative approach, demonstrating how her interviewees (offspring of mixed couples ranging in different ages) interpret and perceive their identity through their negotiations with Israeli society. The negotiation takes shape and comes to being on the basis of the following elements, from most influential to least: 1. Skin color. 2. Last name. 3. Place of residence 4. Presence and influence of a dominant personality.

'But they I remembered that I married a Yeminite [man.'

‘But then I remembered that I married a Yemenite [man].’

In an interesting way, Sagiv’s interview-based thesis pretty much slaughters the myth of “having an actual half-and-half identity.” The book shows that political categories of east and west in Israel – manifested mainly through skin color and family name – are stronger than the official melting pot ideology of the Zionist movement. The east and west categories leak through the way the “mixed” experience their identity, and manage to continue the construction of offspring that are either Mizrahim or Ashkenazim in their identities, hence effecting their stratified mobility...

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At the exiled Iranian Parliament in Berlin

At the exiled Iranian parliament we convened at Café Kotti in Berlin, I look around at my new friends and ask myself: how can civilians destroy the walls the politicians have built with such a lack of imagination, courage, vision and basic human love? It’s not a theoretical question. We’re talking about our lives.

By Mati Shemoelof (translated from Hebrew by Chana Morgenstern)

During one of my special evenings in Berlin, I climbed over the wall separating Israel and Iran and opened a parliament for Iranian Mashhadi exiles with two other refugees. We sat at Café Kotti (the local Albi) where Middle Eastern immigrants hang out with the East and West Germans. The ceiling is covered in childish drawings and the speakers blare salsa and Fairuz, and then suddenly shift into rock. The room is full of smoke and red armchairs, the atmosphere is social and you can talk to whomever you want.

I introduce myself as a Jewish Iranian refugee, but not in the cynical sense that Israel exploited the refugee status of Arab Jews to cancel out the rights of exiled Palestinians. I tell them that all my life I’ve been prevented from prostrating at the graves of my great grandparents in Iran. I’m not a romantic; my grandfather fled from Iran because of Islamic fundamentalism. But the other side was not exactly seeking peace either—the Zionists continued with their wars in all the Arab states as they occupied Palestine, and today Bibi goes to peace talks to avoid peace and buy time until the Republican party is back in power. (Watch this Jon Stewart’s skit on the Daily Show about the Republican Party’s pilgrimage to receive the donations (blessings) of Don Sheldon Adelson).

And so I sit with two Mashhadi refugees, one with long hair who reminds me of myself 10 years ago, the other with short hair. The first is really frustrated in Germany, lives with friends, and hasn’t undergone the process of integration into German society yet. The second gave up on having a social life, studied German from morning till night, and went on to attend university. The first is very critical of Germany’s racist attitude towards refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers; the second is shy and working as hard as he can to help his brother in Iran. We start up a conversation, buy each other beers, and I...

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Pathologizing ethnicity: Are Mizrahim really more prone to violence?

A recent article claims that the higher rates of ADHD among Mizrahim leads them to violence. But can one really make such sweeping statements about an entire demographic group without looking at the broader social context?

By Marcelo Weksler (translated from Hebrew by Anat Goldman)

On March 16, 2014, Dr. Shlomi Antebi, an expert on Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), published an article in Haaretz (Hebrew) with the shocking headline: “The most severe and potentially violent cases of ADHD diagnoses in Israel are of Mizrahim descent.” By attributing “Mizrahi violence” to a mental condition, the headline reasserts the popular image of Mizrahim as inherently violent. Antebi’s original post (Hebrew), which was likely the basis for this article, rested on a different argument: Mizrahim children are more often diagnosed with severe cases of ADHD and are treated less often, while Ashkenazi children are more often diagnosed with mild cases of ADHD and are treated more often. The editors at Haaretz must have had yet another misunderstanding, but they are not the only ones.

Antebi’s article opens with the claim that “more children are diagnosed these days with ADHD as a result of over-diagnosis.” He does not explain the term “over-diagnosis,” but later connects it to an increase in parental awareness (meaning higher rates of awareness among Ashkenazi parents, as opposed to lower rates among Mizrahi parents). But is over-diagnosis really the result of parents trying to make life easier for their kids? Or do schools pursue over-diagnosis as a means of classifying and labeling students for their own purposes? Antebi neither clarifies nor analyzes these possible causes for over-diagnosis. It seems that his claim is more of a warning for over-treating children with psychiatric drugs. But even if that is the issue, why doesn’t he explicitly say that the Israeli education system encourages the use of Ritalin and other drugs in order to keep students “calm” rather than actually helping them, which inevitably results in over-treatment?

Ritalin. (photo: Sponge/CC BY-SA 3.0)

The main problem, however, with Antebis’ article is that he sees ADHD merely as a product of genetics and chemistry, thus reducing the problem to a medical discussion based on the idea that the problem is with the child alone. In doing so, he ignores the potential role of social, political and economic factors in...

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At Hebrew University, Arabic textbooks reflect a Zionist reality

At Hebrew University, the narratives in Arabic and Hebrew language textbooks glorify Zionism and blur out any sign of the occupation. The next step? Using force against Palestinian students who dare to protest that very narrative.

Fadi Asleh (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman)

Israeli Independence Day is also Palestinian Nakba Day. This is one of those days that is charged with memories, pain, political views, identities, etc. The very choice of name for this day reveals one’s culture, identity and distinct political standing. And language is a front no less important (or violent) than other fronts.

According to the late French-Algerian scholar Mohammed Arkoun, it is the interaction between language, history and thought which constructs the world around us. The interaction between thought and history creates language, language and thought are at the core of history, and history and language create thought. Language is important also because it is a tool of enforcement, control and repression in the Foucauldian sense of the word. The study of language is therefore an important tool at the hands of states and their institutions, to enhance their involvement and control. It allows for the instillment of certain contents and narratives, which gradually acquire a “normal” and “neutral” image in one’s consciousness. As time goes by, this consciousness brings about actions to which language serves as key and motive. It is therefore important to examine the way in which language is taught. A critical comparative reading of textbooks for the teaching of Hebrew and Arabic at the Hebrew University would grant us a deeper understanding of what goes on within the academic consciousness in Israel.

Right-wing students demonstrate in support Operation Cast Lead at Hebrew University, Dec. 29, 2008. (photo: Activestills.org)

Right-wing students demonstrate in support Operation Cast Lead at Hebrew University, Dec. 29, 2008. (photo: Activestills.org)

A short glimpse of the Hebrew language textbooks suffices for an understanding of their position within the Zionist discourse, as well as the university’s perception – a perception which is an inseparable part of the ideological conflict and the Zionist colonial discourse. Through the contents of the books, the university serves as a Zionist missionary for students of the Hebrew language – and at the Hebrew University these are primarily Arabs from East Jerusalem who did not learn Hebrew in school. Alongside this, the Arabic...

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The language of death in Bat Yam’s Monument Square

The nationalist machine tries to ‘sell’ city residents a story about honoring ‘defenders.’ But the latter respond: they are not defending anything anymore. They died and all that was left is a monument.

By Eyal Sagi Bizjawi

The central square in Bat-Yam, my hometown, is known as “the matseva” (“the headstone” or “monument”). As a child I did not really get the point. I knew the word “headstone” from graveyards, and I knew my grandmother had one. I did not know how my grandmother had a headstone on one side of the city, on the Holon border while there is another one on the other side of the city, by Jaffa. Later, when I was a schoolboy and we were assigned to do a report on the city, I found out to my astonishment that its name was not Headstone Square, and that its official name was “Defenders’ Square,” which is how it appears on all the maps of the city. In any case, local residents call it “headstone,” and I doubt if any remember its official name.

A few years later, when I had to write a text for the catalog of the city’s first landscape architecture biennial, I discovered, again to my amazement, that there is a history of disagreement between the establishment and the residents regarding the place’s name. Apparently that location was the site of a military post tasked with defending the city from the Arab residents of Jaffa in the war of ’48. Its official name was the King George post, after King George V, during whose reign the British granted the Balfour Declaration. No one in Bat Yam had heard of it, apparently. They called it “the death position” because of three Bat Yam residents who were killed there.

'Defenders' Square on the Bat Yam-Jaffa border (Photo by Bukoved/CC)

‘Defenders’ Square on the Bat Yam-Jaffa border (Photo by Bukoved/CC)

You see? It’s not that I disrespect Israel’s Memorial Day, god forbid, and certainly not the memory of the fallen. It’s simply that I cannot tolerate the false heroic designer wrapping that the nationalist machine tries to ascribe (with significant success) to simple cases of tragic, pointless, coincidental death – an unholy death of someone who without a doubt simply wanted to go back to his mom and dad, or to a woman or...

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Being a Mizrahi Jew, an Israeli and touching the Holocaust

The Israeli Holocaust discourse illustrates the — still — conflicted position of Mizrahi Jews in Israeli society. Perhaps we could design a Mizrahi identity that draws from the roots of its own unique history and not from that which is imposed upon it externally.

By Batya Shimony

A year ago on Holocaust Memorial Day I was driving in my car to Be’er Sheva and listening, as I usually do, to Galei Zahal – the army radio station. It suddenly dawned on me just how much the broadcast schedule had changed compared to previous years. All the familiar stories of that day – the testimonies of the atrocities of the Holocaust – were being told from new angles. The blend of programs was almost balanced, the agenda being to present a variety of groups within Israeli society: the story of women in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the story of the children, the story of the Libyan and Tunisian Jews and even a discussion of the Holocaust as viewed by the Arab sector. Without a doubt, this trend is the result of| the fiery identity discourse that’s been taking place in Israel’s social and cultural spheres in recent years, which has been particularly intense regarding the role the Holocaust plays in forming the Israeli identity in general, and that of Mizrahi Jews in particular.

The issue of the connection Mizrahi Jews have to the Holocaust is nothing short of a deep complex that calls for comprehensive research. In her study of the topic, Hanna Yablonka sought to describe the historical narrative that excluded Mizrahi Jews from the Holocaust discourse, as well as the attempt that has been made, since the 1980s, to bring them closer to the Israeli mainstream by way of a uniting memory of the Holocaust. In the final chapter, entitled “Branding the Memory,” she marks the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II as a peak indicating the social integration of Mizrahi Jews into the Israeli experience. Yablonka argues that the Mizrahi representatives sent by the State of Israel to various ceremonies around the world (politicians Silvan Shalom and Moshe Katsav) and what they said in these ceremonies, serve as proof that the memory branded into the Israeli DNA had succeeded in creating a unified identity, as envisioned by Zionism. However, the picture emerging from the literary and cultural discourse is quite different from...

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Memorial Day: An open letter to Israel's defense minister from a bereaved brother

Every year, the defense minister sends a letter to bereaved families, reminding them that the death of their loved ones did not happen in vain. Today, as Israel marks Memorial Day, the brother of Tamar Ben Eliahu, who was killed in a Jerusalem bus bombing during the Second Intifada, has decided to speak out against a government that isn’t willing to ’take brave steps toward bringing peace and quiet.’

By Lior Ben Eliahu

Dear Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon,

As a bereaved brother and son to a bereaved family, I would like to respond to the letter you sent to bereaved families, which was published in honor of Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. Just as you made sure to spread the message of your letter far and wide, I would like my message to you to be public.

You wrote that despite Israel’s successes in various areas, “we have not yet attained peace and quiet,” and that “we will continue to strive for peace.” I ask you, Defense Minister Ya’alon, on this Memorial Day, for a bit of personal soul searching. Have you yourself helped push Israel and its citizens toward “peace and quiet?” Do you really “strive for peace?” Even before you were appointed defense minister, you announced that there is no place for the establishment of a Palestinian state. And specifically this past month, when the peace process ran into difficulties you decided it was the right time to approve the expansion of Jewish settlements in Hebron and violate the status quo there. Furthermore, you decided to approve the expropriation of 984 dunams of private Palestinian land in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, and to declare them state lands for the purpose of expanding the settlements of Neve Daniel, Elazar, Alon Shvut and the illegal outpost Nativ Ha’Avot. These actions, along with your opinion on the establishment of a Palestinian state, force me to wonder what the word “peace” means to you, and whether you are truly interested in peace. Are you truly interested in leading Israeli citizens toward peace and quiet, or perhaps towards new settlements to be built between as many Palestinian villages as possible?

The sad thing is, Mr. Defense Minister, that in order to reach peace and quiet, one must solve the conflict that leaves more and more bereaved families in its wake. It seems as if you and your...

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How one Palestinian citizen challenged Israel's 'enemy state' policy

Majd Kayyal’s right to travel and participate in a conference in Beirut is far more important than his right to fulfill his role as a journalist. That right belongs to him as a human being, an Arab and a Palestinian who has absorbed the cultural richness of Lebanon’s capital.

By Salah Mohsen

The release of Majd Kayyal, journalist and web editor at Adalah, after five days of detention and complete isolation from the outside world – without the right to meet with an attorney or have his case heard due to a sweeping gag order – proves that his detention by Israeli security authorities was a retaliatory act meant to deter other Palestinian citizens of Israel from travelling to Lebanon. It had nothing to do with investigative purposes. Even the attempt to falsely charge Majd with contacting a foreign agent was designed to intimidate and divert any discussion on the right of Palestinians to have relations and professional ties with Lebanon.

The main problem is not that Majd Kayyal went to Lebanon. The problem is the law that prevents and criminalizes him for it. Israel’s definition of Lebanon as an “enemy state” does not make it so for Palestinian citizens. We refuse to see As-Safir or other Lebanese newspapers as hostile. We also do not see the need to find out if every journalist we speak to belongs to a particular political organization before we agree to exchange a word with them.

Majd is one of 100 young journalists from across the Arab world that write for As-Safir al-Arabi, the magazine section of the newspaper that aims to foster a new generation of Arab journalists. They publish articles and in-depth analyses on the political and social issues facing the countries and societies in which they live. It is a great privilege to be among those writers, and it is an especially great opportunity for Majd – one that a Palestinian citizen of Israel cannot obtain in places other than in so-called “enemy states.”

The comparison between Majd and other Israeli journalists who traveled to “enemy states” and were not detained upon their return is an important one to highlight. It proves the real intention behind his arrest, which has no connection to issues of security. But we should also qualify this comparison. Even if Israeli journalists did not travel to these countries, and even if they were detained...

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A rolling stone of holiness, rage and revenge

On Purim of 1994, Dr. Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslim worshipers in the Cave of the Patriarchs – a tragedy that sparked a chain of events that has, more than any other act, shaped the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the last 20 years. But we could point to a much earlier start of this story: an Arab doctor who will never forget the Jewish physician who saved his life, and convict No. 397, serving a life sentence.

By Yizhar Be’er (translated from Hebrew by Michal Wertheimer Shimoni)

The massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on Purim (February 25, 1994), 20 years ago, was a decisive moment in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which brought on a wave of suicide attacks inside Israel, and led eventually to the creation of the murderous impulse in Yigal Amir, who then assassinated Yitzhak Rabin. Until then, there had been an internal discussion going on among the Shari’a Wise Men, about suicide attacks against civilians within Israel’s borders, and they had refrained from sending them into Israel. The way suicide in Islam is treated by individuals depends on the Shari’as adjudicators, who, in turn, rely on the Quran. On the one hand, the Quran negated suicide (“and you shall not throw yourself to destruction”), as opposed to the more positive approach to suicide reflected in the idea of the shahid (martyr), who dies fighting against Islam’s enemies.

As we can see from history, the Muslim suicide terrorist was not born in the 20th century. Many myths are connected to the Hashashashins, the first Muslim suicide attackers of the 12th century. Some factions of modern Islam have taken on suicide attacks as an effective mode of combating enemies even before the Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre. (Suffice is to mention the horrible suicide attacks of Hezbollah against American, French and IDF troops in Lebanon, which led in effect to their expulsion from the land). Nevertheless, the use of suicide attacks targeted at civilians was debated among Palestinians, and for various reasons Hamas did not send them into the Israeli population until the massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs. For them, the massacre was the crossing of a line because of the attack against civilians, especially in a sacred place during prayer.

The first Palestinian Intifada started with strikes, tax boycotting, pamphlet spreading and stone throwing, and then escalated to knifing attacks after...

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Kicking the neoliberal habit

After the 2008 global financial crisis, some of Israel’s neo-liberal fundamentalists sobered up from capitalist dogmatism and became ‘social.’ This led them to discovering Scandinavia, and lately they have been busy marketing a biased and union-free capitalist version of the ‘Nordic Model’ in Israel as well.

By Yossi Dahan (Translated from Hebrew by Orna Meir-Stacey,  Edited by Ami Asher)

(Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com)

(Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com)

It is interesting to follow the socioeconomic discourse in Israel as it developed over the past three decades. To see how the social-democratic dictionary and debate, which had previously been the province of few – a discourse revolving around values such as social justice, solidarity and collective responsibility adopted in the Nordic welfare state model – was partially appropriated and adopted by the establishment media. There were days when this discourse would be subject to heaps of contempt and mockery on the part of the neoliberal economy media, which treated anybody daring to express ideas such as social justice and social-democracy as economic ignoramuses, dogmatists and ideologists, whose vision was to turn Israel into the Stalinist Soviet Union.

Mainstream neo-liberal media included, at the time, many zealot followers like Guy Rolnik, who served at the time as economic correspondent in the IDF Radio. I recall the weekly public service broadcasts in favor of capitalists and rouge capitalism in the program “A Brief Hour about Economy,” edited and delivered at the station by the senior Haaretz economic correspondent and commentator, Avraham Tal. I recall the daily preaching for privatization, social budget cuts and deregulation to which many others in the established media were partners – but were no more than provincial copycats of their Reaganist and Thatcherite ideological allies. In recent years, particularly after the 2008 global crisis and more so since the 2011 social protest in Israel, some of these zealots have been undergoing ideological rehab, suddenly digging up the social dimension of the economy, and announcing the amazing discovery that the economy should serve society, not the other way round. The funny thing is how quickly those fickle public opinion leaders are appropriating a progressive social discourse without a word of apology or remorse. I’m not complaining, though. I can only wish them full and successful rehab without too many withdrawal symptoms.

About six months ago, on the ruins...

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Complicated justice: Must occupation be the litmus test for the Left?

While many remember Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, who passed earlier this month, for concluding that there is no occupation of the West Bank, Ofer Sitbon says we must see Levy as an activist judge with a strong sense of justice for the underprivileged.

By Ofer Sitbon

Everyone had their own Edmund Levy. Since passing away at the age of 72 two weeks ago, the former Supreme Court justice has received myriad obituaries highlighting his extraordinary judicial personality. There were those who longingly emphasized his ruling regarding Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, in which he wrote unprecedented political lines in Israel’s legal history, including: “each one of us is commanded to see himself as if the sword of the evacuation was swung on his neck” and “the right of Jews to settle in Judea, Samaria and Gaza draws its power from the same source that gave the Jews the right to settle in Nahariya, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ramle and Lod.” Levy is especially remembered for heading a Netanyahu-appointed committee that released a report stating that the West Bank is not “occupied territory,” and therefore the establishment of settlements there does not breach international law.

Along with the Revisionist side of the man who previously served as deputy mayor of Ramle on behalf of the Likud, others praised Levy for being an “outsider” justice who was never a member of the “Rehavia gang” (a group of liberal justices that controlled the Supreme Court in the 90′s and 00′s). In his eulogy, Attorney Avigdor Feldman stuck primarily to Levy’s courageous ruling about the unconstitutionality of the Citizenship Law, which banned family unification between Israeli Arabs and their Palestinian spouses who live in the occupied territories. In his ruling, Levy wrote remarkable lines such as “the Citizenship Law threatens to break down the wall of the “Jewish and democratic state,” whose robustness has protected it until now.” The effect of the law remains strong – the damage still echoes today. Its legislation is a seminal event in the history of Israeli democracy.

Furthermore, Professor Aeyal Gross eulogized the activist justice who, alongside his rightist activism, wrote also inspiring social-democratic rulings – such as the cancellation of the binding of migrant workers to their employers; and especially his resounding minority opinion about the cutting of income support (the “Mehuyavot ruling”), and echoed the views of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen:

We can only hope that one...

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