The young flee Israel because it is a ‘failure’ and ‘xenophobic theocracy’ — ‘Haaretz’ columnist

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Neri Livneh

Neri Livneh

An amazing piece on the Israeli reality, by Neri Livneh in Haaretz, reflecting on what a failure it is, how the best young people are leaving. She connects this to Israel’s constitution as a Jewish state, in which Jews are superior to others, and to Yair Lapid’s belief that there is nowhere else in the world for Jews but Israel. The cul-de-sac. Note her lament that she lost a horrifying number of classmates to war. To produce a xenophobic theocracy.

Why isn’t this kind of piece on the cover of the New York Times Magazine?

I’m going to Berlin because some of the people who are dearest to me in this world live there. I don’t know how long they’ll continue living there, but I know that if I were their age, I’d move there myself, or to some other country worthy of being called a democracy and in which there is a complete separation of religion and state. But at this point, I’ll remain in Israel, for as the German poet wrote: “You can make a new start, even with your last breath, but the water you have poured into the wine you cannot pour back out.”


…I’ll stay in Israel because I’ve aged and because, like a foolish gambler in the stock market, I’m ready to spend more and more money to try to redeem the lost funds I already invested in a stock that turned out to be a failure.

Too many of my friends are doing the same thing. It’s easier for them than it is for me, because they’ve already learned the trick of creating for themselves a private bubble of political alienation, in which they sink deep into an internal exile..

I went to all the right demonstrations, I wrote all the right things, I voted the right way, I did my part, and like a good Zionist woman, I went to the army. I became an officer, I lost a horrifying number of classmates as well as a few relatives in the Yom Kippur War, I got married, I had three terrific sons, I made sure they wore their gas masks and sang them cheerful songs, I lived with them in Jerusalem in the heart of the area hit by terror attacks and, because they said it was important, I tried not to get hysterical. And what did we get in the end? A country in which the only ones who can hope for something are those who believe in the morality of being an occupying nation or in the superiority of the Jews over all other peoples ‏(and there is overlap between the two groups‏), who want to live in a xenophobic theocracy, with a government in which the politicians − like Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid − ask not what they can do for the citizenry but what the citizenry can do for the state

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