Monday, May 5, 2014

Israel, Where The Prime Minister is "Just Another Bereaved Brother"

It doesn't matter how rich, famous, intelligent, educated, good-looking, successful or ordinary one is. Death will strike us eventually. And part of the "Israeli experience" is that there are wars, terrorism (against soldiers and civilians,) deadly enemies and even accidents of all sorts that happen to those serving in the IDF Israeli Defense Forces. Each of these victims leaves somebody or many to mourn them.
When Yom Zikaron, Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims comes around, our Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu becomes a mourner like too many others. His elder brother, Yoni, was killed in the heroic and legendary hostage rescue in Entebbe, 1976.

Now Bibi Netanyahu is a third-term Prime Minister of Israel, and that's how we relate to him, whether we support his policies or disagree with the way he is running the State of Israel.
We shouldn't forget that, and we can't forget that Bibi, like too many others, lives in the shadow of a brother whose life was cut short.

One of the themes this year in the television memorial shows was how the weight of bereavement affects siblings, especially the younger siblings. And one of the channels promoted their special interview with the the two surviving Netanyahu brothers. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it.

We're all the sum of our experience and decisions. And we should all include the genes we inherited. We are a combination of all these ingredients. Judaism stresses that we have free will. We aren't fated to any end. We can take what we were given and make something great or set up tragedy and depression. Free will also gives us the ability to change. The only think we can't do is bring someone back to life.

The State of Israel was established in the shadow of the Holocaust, but not because of the Holocaust. All of the foundations had been laid by brave, idealistic Zionists, secular, traditional and all varieties of religious, yes, including chareidim. They began building neighborhoods, kibbutzim, moshavim, communities and cities decades before Hitler began his cruel and immoral career/ideology.

I don't know how being a bereaved brother has influenced Binyamin Netanyahu's policies. And I don't know if being a bereaved brother has influenced Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to enter Israeli politics...


NormanF said...

I can help but think about the hypocrisy - maybe I'm being insensitive or rude in pointing it out here - but wasn't he the same man bereaved about his brother who as it turned out, showed himself to be completely indifferent and disdainful of the bereavement of others - the terror family victims when he subverted justice wholesale to get the killers of their loved ones released from prison as it turned out, for nothing?

What it has taught us is that our own personal suffering does not necessarily make us see the necessity of avoiding causing suffering to others. The Prime Minister's experience with the loss of a loved one teaches us nothing about human empathy. Yes, Death touches of all us in life but it does not mean we are destined to learn the lessons we should from it, let alone act on them.

When we see a grieving man, the picture of his grief does not always tell us the true story. Benjamin Netanyahu lost his brother and then his father. Usually, I would be the last person on earth to judge him because that is not my place and Death took away from me every one I ever loved.

That said, I can't help but observe that his reputation will never be the same in Israel again not because of his grief but because of his sin against G-d committed under cover of darkness is what gives us the right to say to him that your own suffering does not give you license to do that to others! I keep thinking of the Prophet Nathan's famous rebuke to King David.

Yes, Netanyahu is that man too and that failing of his to be a better person will follow him around for the rest of his life. A leader should be held to a higher standard. My comments wouldn't matter if Netanyahu was a private citizen but he is the Prime Minister of Israel and in the past year, he not only let the country down, he let himself down as well.

Batya said...

There are two serious faults that cause problems with PM Bibi. One is that although I have no doubts that he enjoys learning and knowing Tanach (Bible) he is secular and doesn't get the full message. My Tanach teacher, Dr. Yael Ziegler makes a point of saying that the Tanach is a book of theology. So one who isn't G-d fearing will not fully comprehend its message.
And two, which may be related to the first, is that Netanyahu made a conscious decision to be a centrist even if it contradicts what he knows is best for the country. I heard him explain it f2f.