The Rise of the Jewish Version of ISIS/Daesh

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

The steady growth of ultra-national and ultra-religious Jewish extremism in Israel is wiping away the differences between the political liberal left and political religious right in matters of security. Fear has driven the Israeli left to hide, giving rise to the religious right which has been attaining tremendous dominance in Israeli politics. Such dominance is enhancing the colonial settlers’ agenda to transform historical Palestine into ‘a Jewish caliphate’ in the same toxic image of the anti-Islamic ‘caliphate’ of Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Jewish writers and thinkers in Israel and the Western world have been issuing warnings to Israel against going down the road of religious bigotry and colonialism because it may eventually spell the end and destruction of the Zionist state. These people of conscience now see Israel as a state that has been transformed from its secular status into” a Jewish theocracy” governed by Talmudic Rabbis. The Reform Jews of America threw away the Talmud from their religious service because of its “racist texts” which contradict the spiritual values of Judaism.

Dr. Yoaz Hendel, an Israeli military historian and the Chairman of the Institute for Zionist Strategies wrote saying “the conflict that used to separate the liberals from the conservatives in Israel is now confined within religious Zionism which is representing today the elite class that has no interest in reaching a compromise.”  “While the Ultra-Orthodox public is intentionally ignorant about matters”, he went on to say, “the secular public seems to be choosing its own brand of ignorance when it comes to matters of Jewish (Talmudic) laws  being taught to students that forbid the use of the internet and extremely contradicts what scientists wrote about the creation of the world”.

On the same subject, an editorial in Haaretz recently noted that “Israel, so far, has avoided passing a constitution under the pretense that the Torah is Israel’s constitution, as the Israeli religious right claims. To partly compensate the lack of a constitution, certain laws were passed in the supposition to guarantee liberty, human dignity and protect free enterprise. These human values are more important than a particular religious worship that is being imposed by law upon the secular public by the religious parties”. Haaretz was voicing its opposition to the proposed law that forces merchants to close business on Saturday.

More voices have raised the alarm about the drift to extremism threatening the Israeli society and wrecking peace prospects. Haim Misgav, a senior lecturer in criminal law in Netanya Academic College, wrote saying “let us be a free nation. We are passing through very hard and trying days. Once upon time, we used to know friends from foes and demarcation lines were clearly visible on all fronts to identify our enemies. Today, the desire to intentionally harm and hurt others has taken a tight grip of the mentality of a large portion of the Israeli public. The Arabs, whether they read our history or not, can only just wait for a generation or two and all what is now Israel will fall in their lap like a ripe fruit.”

Judy Maltz wrote in Haaretz “For Israel to exist as a Jewish state, Diaspora Jews believe it must end occupation and treat its Arab citizens with dignity and equal rights with its Jewish citizens.” Haaretz, meanwhile, lamented the backwardness of Jewish religious schools in an editorial entitled:”Israeli Schools’ Map to Right-Wing Ignorance”, referring to the Talmudic education of learning Talmudic Laws of what’s kosher (halal) or not, without learning a skill to make a decent living. It said “Talmudic schools’ students’ main aim is to beget children and more children to raise them on welfare checks from the government, thus eroding the tax payers’ base.”

Haaretz, described as a voice of conscience in Israel, declared boldly in 2015 under the title of “We Have Entered the Final Decade to Save Israel” that “there are three processes taking place in Israel that, if not reversed by 2025, will end this country’s life as a modern Jewish democracy”. Ari Shavit who wrote the editorial identified the three processes that must be terminated for the sake of survival of Israel to be: the end of occupation, the end of “settlements” (i.e. colonies) in the occupied Palestinian territories and the stalling to derail the two-state solution.

Gideon Levy wrote about the Daesh-like transformation in Israel saying “religious Zionism can, at last, declare a smashing victory that really smashed the possibility of peaceful settlement. The religious political parties attained victory by appointing their kind to be the General Inspector of the Police, the Head of the Mossad, the Chief of Staff of Israel’s Army and the Legal Adviser for the cabinet. This was done to enhance the expansion of settlements to annihilate the two-state solution.” He sent out a dire warning saying “whoever went to sleep and fell in deep coma would soon wake up to find a new state and no one, but the ones who went to sleep are responsible for the destructive result of their deep coma.”

The majority of Israeli writers and pundits could only see things in Israel going from bad to worse.  But a steep decline is the expected fate of the zionist colonial state that is being ruled by a prime minister who, according to Haaretz, adopted the policy of “Incite, Divide and Conquer”.