Reflections on conflict and intolerance

Reflections on conflict and intolerance

(from the Meretz USA electronic newsletter of November 6)

Quick quiz – who said the following last week: “If hundreds of thousands of migrant workers come here now, they will bring with them a profusion of diseases: hepatitis, measles, tuberculosis, AIDS and drugs.”

If you guessed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, you’re way off the mark. It wasn’t Rush Limbaugh either.

To answer correctly, you need to pan 5,800 miles eastward to Jerusalem where the man in charge of Israel’s borders and immigration, Interior Minister Eli Yishai of the Shas party, said precisely those words on Israeli TV’s widely viewed “Meet the Press” program.

For those who follow developments in Israel closely, these remarks should not come as a surprise: Shas officials, led by spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, have made a career of comparing women to donkeys, and homosexuality to the plague, and of blaming assimilated Jews for the Holocaust.

What is disappointing, therefore, is not Mr. Yishai himself, but the fact that his party continues to be courted by Israel’s mainstream leadership. Indeed, even before this year’s elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu made sure to name Shas the linchpin of his future coalition, and later awarded Mr. Yishai the honorific of “Deputy Premier” in addition to his weighty ministerial portfolio.


By | 2009-11-10T19:52:00-05:00 November 10th, 2009|Blog|0 Comments

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