Soldiers of God

If there is one thing that is truly frightening it is an army of soldiers who really believe God is on their side. In Israel and in the West people like to believe that Israel is immune to that. That Israel is somehow a secular religious entity and that the rule of law and common sense prevail and will always prevail over the more religious fundamental parts of Israeli society.

Well, think again. If this photo, of fundamental Jewish soldiers, swearing in on Mount Masada does not scare you than you are living in total denial. There is a clear an present danger that the Jewish version of Taliban is gaining momentum and gaining power. The the number of fundamentalist religious officers in the IDF is over 30% and growing. As one who believes in the secular democracy I feel this is the biggest threat to both people. Our main concern as Israelis and Palestinians should be the irreversibility of the situation. In other words, that it will become too late to create a real secular democracy because these soldiers of God, who see themselves as the successors of the fringe zealots who tried to bring down the Roman Empire but brought down themselves and the Jewish state instead, will rise to such power that secularism and democracy will no longer have a chance.

Israelis, Jews, Palestinians and everyone else who is still stuck in the notion of a Jewish state, take a good look at this photo. Then read the news, travel to Hebron, Kiryat Arba, Karmei Tsur and some of the other Jewish-zealot colonies in the West Bank.  Walk around the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem and talk to the settlers who want to turn Silwan into the “City of David.” Talk to these people who see this as a zero sum game and think nothing of killing Palestinian children.

The discussion of two states is numbing everyone and this photo should wake up all Israelis and Palestinians. We need to act together for a secular democracy, equal rights and the protection for minorities.

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