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Hebrew version of this article:

Responding to Recent Events in Israel

Thank you, all who have written on this list1 about recent events in Israel. I can notice the contradiction2 in the fact that people can think, not lose hope, and speak up. Each sane voice helps me keep my head above water.3 It also brings up my longing for smart and generous leadership that will show us the way and lead us courageously.

It is heartbreaking to notice how quickly fear took me over.4 This fear narrows my everyday life (I would curfew my children if I could) and eats up my ability to hold on to principles. For example, I had decided to reduce driving my car and use more public transportation—a principle that I dismissed immediately in the face of a “clear life threat.” I usually avoid sugar but now feel it is impossible under the circumstances. Surrendering to the fear restimulates old feelings of defeat and discouragement and reinforces hopelessness about the situation we face. I shut down5 and take on6 a load of tasks that help me to not feel anything. Discharge is less available (for now), and I feel overwhelmed. Also, the sessions that everybody around me needs (and takes) are exhausting.

As a Jew, I am already familiar with my fear of external threats. The new thing that scares me is how extreme Israeli society has become since the last Intifada (some ten years ago). Hatred is so brutal and open. It seems that we have lost our way. Hate is presented as a value, power as Jewish liberation, racism as Zionism—everything is mixed up. In an unequal, non-inclusive, militaristic class society, it’s no wonder these manipulations find many followers. It seems that nobody has patience for complex ideas and long-term solutions.

I do believe there is more than one elegant solution to the conflict between us and the Palestinians. I have no idea how to handle the wild racism, incitement, and hatred within Israeli society. I draw my hope from people (in and out of RC) who can speak up clearly and fearlessly.

I do a lot of work on healing the hurts of the Holocaust. I believe the next step for us is to embrace working on oppressor distress—and not only that directed against Palestinians; we have plenty of oppressor identities (related to class, disability, sex, age, gender, heterosexuality, “mental health,” and so on). Deciding to clean up any oppressor identity is a great contradiction to victim feelings. Part of our distress as Jews, which is related to the Holocaust, has been assuming the victim role. We don’t need it anymore.

With love,

Tami Shamir

Translated by Tami Shamir

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of Jews

(Present Time 182, January 2016)


1 The RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of Jews
2 Contradiction to distress
3 “Keep my head above water” means keep from being submerged in distress.
“Took me over” means took control of me, dominated me.
“Shut down” means become numb and disconnected from myself.
6 “Take on” means undertake.


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00