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Each teen in Israel to adopt a tomb

Not kidding. According to Haaretz, the Education Ministry has found a particularly macabre way of imbibing our young ones with respect for their heritage: Each junior high to high school students will adopt “a memorial or the tomb of a soldier fallen in the War of Independence.” They will be tasked with keeping the tombs clean, and will have to write a report about the dead person or persons buried under or commemorated by their pet cenotaph as part of their matriculation exam.

I’m sorry, I have every respect for families who lost their loved ones to the conflict, but it’s extremely difficult to write about this initiative with a straight face. One can only imagine the dialogs: “Mom, can I have a dog?” “No, sonny’ it’s too alive. Here’s a tomb.”

On a more sombre note, this is seriously perverse. Personally, I don’t believe in the afterlife and think tombs and memorials exist primarily for the benefit of the living relatives and loved ones of the deceased; if all of these have overcome their grief, or, in likelier case when fallen of the War of 1948 are concerned, passed away, then let the fallen soldier lie. Upkeep is important, sure, but if the state wishes to preserve its memorials, let it cough up some cash and hire cleaners and restorationists. Using school students for this task is unpaid child labor. Much more worryingly, manipulating them to develop feelings of bereavement toward people they’re unrelated to and never knew amounts, frankly, to abuse. It’s as if the Education Ministry decided that it’s unfair some families haven’t lost loved ones in Israel’s many wars, and generously decided to provide each family still unscathed with a corpse to mourn and a loss to cope with.

But hey, so long as we don’t have a cult of death here in Israel.

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    1. Koshiro

      Did anybody else read “bomb” at first glance?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Borg

      Each teen in Palestine to adopt a bomb

      Reply to Comment
    3. Philos

      I get the feeling that the harder the Right in Israel pushes against Hamas and Islamic fundamentalism the more and more they come to appear like them. The more and more they try and turn our society into a grotesque caricature of their worst and most racist stereotypes of the Palestinians.

      I remember back in 2000 and 2001 how Israeli spokesmen would say that Israelis worship life and the Palestinians worship death. What are they going to say now?

      It baffles the mind and makes the heart despair.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben Israel

      Actually, Philos is on to something. Religious Jews and religious Muslims have a LOT in common. For example, both groups opposed the homosexual parade in Jerusalem. Both oppose pornography on TV and in the rest of the media. Both support what people call “family values”, male and female modesty in dress and behavior, respect for elders and authority. Both have a very similar concept of religious law.
      That is why it will never by the Israeli Left that makes peace with the Arabs, it will be the religious/settler “Right”. The Israeli Left thought they could make an alliance with the Arabs to politically knock out the traditionalist Jewish “right” but the kind of state the Israeli-Jewish Left is anathema to the Arabs who are much more tradition oriented. A truly tradtionalist “Jewish” state is much less of a threat to Arab/Muslim identity than the Left’s largely secular, materialist, consumerist society (yes, I know there are religious Leftists, but they are a small minority and they generally follow in the footsteps of the secular Left). Judaism is not a missionary religion that threatens the Muslim world, but the culture of the Israeli Left is VERY missionary in that it tempts people to abandon their tradition and to adopt the values Hollywood, and the western secular culture, which as I said, are strongly opposed by Muslims.
      You see, when an Arab says “This is my land, it is part of the Muslim Waqf”, I understand what he means, because I believe that it belongs to us Jews because of the Torah. That means it will be easier for us to come to a cease-fire and modus vivendi WITHOUT any demands on the other side to give up their beliefs.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Danny

      Just another example of how depraved the education ministry has become under Gideon Saar – the poster child for right-wing zealotry (even with his clean-cut image). This man is a serious nut who, I would not be surprised to learn, probably forces his children to recite Zhaboutinsky’s writings before they go to bed each night. If I were a parent with school-age kids in Israel, I would definitely forbid them to take part in this “exercise”.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Carl

      I’d say you’ve got a bit of a point there Ben in that the two religious blocks on either side are likely key to an agreement and do have things in common. That said, the things they have in common are really superficial, though I must say it warms my heart to see the three Abrahamic faiths uniting in hate over the Jerusalem Pride Parade.

      The fact that you understand the Palestinian claim seems to me to make an accomodation less likely: if I understand you think it’s night while I think it’s day, we may well see each others’ points but we’ll never agree. The Waqf point doesn’t really hold, as that’s about property & custodianship rather than a religious claim. Obviously al Aqsa et al cross over into a religious claim, but that’s a one to a building, not a country.

      Reply to Comment
    7. max

      @Carl “The Waqf point doesn’t really hold, as that’s about property & custodianship rather than a religious claim”
      I’m afraid I don’t understand… the Waqf is the religious custodian of the land, so what doesn’t hold?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Carl

      “I’m afraid I don’t understand… the Waqf is the religious custodian of the land, so what doesn’t hold?”

      That would be ‘a little bit’ of land rather than ‘the’ land. If the Israeli claim to ‘the land’ was just for the Temple Mount, synagogues and a smattering of buildings, well things would be a bit different I’d think. And your housing situation would be even worse.

      The Palestinian claim is fundamentally based on a more prosaic ‘I, and my family, and them before, was born here,’ rather than ‘God said I could have it,’ though given, Hamas has tried hard on that point.

      Reply to Comment
    9. max

      Carl, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. The Hamas charter explicitly states that the whole land is Waqf, therefore holy and therefore can’t be negotiated. Several high PA reps also used this explanation. I read that Arafat used this claim as well, but haven’t seen the actual transcript.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Mohammad Saifullah

      Ben Israel : I am a Muslim.and personally, I would identified more with the Israeli left I would say. yes, from a religious view, I can say that the Orthodox, religious and the settlers share a common point with majority of religious Muslims.but nevertheless,from some point majority of Arab religious Muslims and Muslims cannot share a same stand point with the religious Jews, primarily with THE SETTLERS. yeah, why in the first hand, the settlers decided to live in the ILLEGAL SETTLEMENT?.. religious reason.the Torah. the Talmud.which on the way around, violated the right of the Arab,Arab Muslims to live there. majority Muslims see that as a ” theft “. everybody knows that Israeli left is a secular body. secular, modern, western. differ much with Islamic and Muslims value but somehow, we share a common point to respect the right to live in owns land. that’s matter here.the right to live in the land we were born. not to be exiled.shalom.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Ben Israel

      Carl-you are an in bit of a fix. Of course the Leftist/Progressives are cheering on the Arab masses to take power. But, if you recall the recent PEW poll taken in Egypt, a large majority of Egyptians (something like 80%) want more Islamic law implemented, including the death penalty for Muslim apostates, cutting off hands of thieves and the like. This is bad news for homosexuals which Islam strongly condemns. So do you support “empowering the masses” or homosexual rights which are better off under secular Arab dictators?

      Reply to Comment
    12. Leonid Levin

      In the former Soviet Union, they called this military-patriotic education (военно-патриотическое воспитание). It could be that the idea came from someone from Yisrael Beteinu.

      I agree with Dimi that there is something anti-life about this. Dealing with death at a young age is not healthy. Let them live, play, be joyful. There will come a time that they will have to deal with death of family and friends, hopefully not too soon.

      Let relatives and friends mourn the fallen soldiers and take care of their graves. Of course, there should be room for the rest to pay tribute to the dead, but maybe the best tribute is to live their lives to the fullest, with respect and compassion towards still living fellow human beings.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Kernod

      This is more militaristic, crypto-fascist indoctrination, however, no worse than what we have come to expect. Growing up in 1970’s Israel, I was exposed to infinite similar attempts to make me react emotionally to what was and is, quite frankly, a state dogma that defies logic.

      This was instilled, as far as I know, very early on in the Zionist project to help people overcome its inherent contradictions. E.g., from a historic-Mapam perspective, the question they had to face was how can you reconcile a liberal, internationalist, socialist ideology with a colonialist project that ultimately had to result in the ethnic cleansing of an indigenous people? The simple answer is “you can’t”. The more complex answer is you can, if and only if, you make it an emotional discussion. That way logic stops playing into it.

      The problem is that it is quite a slippery slope and the current Israeli political map, where the vast majority (if not to say almost everyone) is basically a racist, that has no problem with dehumanization, displacement, discrimination, oppression, etc. of the Palestinians, is the end result.

      That said — it is the logical conclusion of Israeli education from its very inception by the so-called Zionist left, to this day. Nothing is new.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Piotr Berman

      I do not understand the problem. Suppose that young Xi Beta adopts a tomb, say of Psi Delta to care for. Young Xi visits the tomb, waters the grass, plants flowers, removes bird droppings, say, every few months on so. On Halloween, young Xi dresses as a scary ghosts of Mr. Delta (dec.) and goes around his neighborhood for Trick and Treat.

      One day a news story informs the public that Psi Delta was a child molester (or, say, a leftist, or a non-Zionist, whatever). Who will console young Xi Beta? Are we assuming a-priori that tombs of child molester (or even the Leftists) are worth caring for? What if children will not accept the magnanimous message that even garbage human beings should be honored in death AND they start to identify with the beneficiaries of their effort (say, be becoming child molesters or Leftist)?

      So the initiative is worthy, but one has to address many problems.

      Reply to Comment
    15. RichardNYC

      I had to do exactly the same thing in a US state cemetery for veterans about ten years ago. Why is 972 constantly grasping at straws? What pathology drives you people to imagine dysfunction where none exists? This new job – the professional Jewish humiliator of Jews – marks a very sad chapter in our history.

      Reply to Comment