Thursday, February 20, 2003

I've also been asked my opinion on Neturei Karta. This is a tiny and inconsequential sect of fiercely and vehemently anti-Zionist ultra-ultra-religious Jews. Their views are accepted here by no one but themselves. They have no Israeli following and I don’t think they even have a Jewish following overseas (am I wrong?). I know nothing about them (the only thing that comes to mind is that their women wear black scarves over their shaven heads). They live in Jerusalem. I live in Tel Aviv. I never even see them. They don’t interest me or anyone else and neither do their views, as far as I know. Maybe Tal is more knowledgeable about them. He lives in Jerusalem.

However, considering their extremely marginal position in Jewish society and the bored disdain, if not plain indifference, with which they are widely regarded in Israel, in religious circles as well, it is significant that Yasser Arafat, accepted leader of the Palestinians, a man who claims he wants to make peace with the Israeli people, should choose Rabbi Moshe Hirsch, a leader of this fanatic group of Israel haters, as his advisor on Jewish affairs. Is this not an important declaration of Arafat’s vision of peace with Israel?

Update: The Head Heeb develops this subject. I see the the Dhimmi Guy also discusses. These guys have more information than me. Obviously Neturei Karta and other ant-Zionist frummers are more vocal in the Diaspora. Here they risk having their social benefits cut off if they go too far (they also risk being beaten up on by hot-headed right-wing Jerusalemites). Note the absurd. They live like leeks off my hard earned taxes, but hate my guts and would have my home destroyed (In case any one was wondering where Shinui party sprung from).

Nice to see I started an interesting discussion.

The significance of Hirsch is in the symbolism. It's not as if the other ministers in Arafat's government have any say anyway. Arafat calls all the shots. The ministers have political significance but no actual effect whatsoever on the ministries they head (thus when Salam Fayed accepted the treasury he demanded autonomy, but I don't know if he really got it or how much). Arafat makes all the decisions, from the largest and most important to the smallest and most trivial. So whether Hirsch takes part in cabinet meetings is of no relevance, because Arafat has no orders to give him anyway.

The honor Arafat bestows on Hirsch gives us an opportunity to peek into Arafat's mind, and see what he really thinks and intends. It's a pity Israeli leaders didn't heed this during the nineties, and call him on it.