Once this pandemic has run its course, Israel will begin finally to reckon – to its eternal shame – with its cynical cultivation of huge, fast-growing numbers of violent ignorant religious fanatics. It didn’t have to be this way.
Every day, I thank … my lucky stars? … that as an American Jew, I was born into an actually secular republic, where we can afford to promote religious nut cases to the highest levels of society and everyone will just laugh at them. We laugh at them because they don’t threaten us; because, as Jon Meacham and others point out in regard to the current global crisis, we really do live in Enlightenment Country here. There’s not much good ol’ UD is willing to say about our current president, but the fact that he doesn’t even pretend to give a shit about religion (UD loved watching him cringe as holy rollers put their hands all over him) does speak well for him. When the person running the coronavirus show – Anthony Fauci – tells us he’s left the Catholic church, people don’t head into the streets with pitchforks, run him through, and demand to be led only by a person of faith.
Israelis are immediately, materially, and microbially, threatened by their government-sponsored fanatics; and now, as anyone could have predicted, ultraorthodox neighborhoods are fighting among themselves – a situation of escalating anarchy for which, again, the Israeli state can take a bow.
Significant numbers of secular Israelis have been bailing on that country for some time; secular American and European Jews also have eyes in their heads. You can see, demographically, where this is going.