A clear and immediate danger of blasphemy: Get off the Fence!

by Avi Dabush (Translated from the original Hebrew)

The use of Judaism and Zionism to slander, trample and harm entire communities: LGBTQ people, secular, Arabs, leftists and anyone who does not align, is a blasphemy. This is a true call for mobilization: those for whom human dignity, human rights, humanity and Judaism are important must get off the fence and join the struggle.

The idea of blasphemy is about how people harm [religion in general] good name of Judaism through what they do. I always think about this, of course when I see defendants who, on a daily basis, do not wear a kippah put one on as they are being arraigned or remanded in court. It should be the opposite.

In recent weeks, as news, headlines and interviews with the factions that made up
“Religious Zionism” in the recent elections amounted, more and more Israelis who see Judaism as a central pillar of their identity have felt embarrassed. I spoke with religious friends, even those who voted for the incoming coalition, and many saw their remarks as blasphemous.

Avi Dabush, Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights

We are in a democracy. We held democratic elections. We must remember that this is not something to be taken for granted. Most countries in the world are not democratic in the full sense of the word. In fact, according to The Economist’s Democratic Index, only 20 countries are classified as “full democracy.” Israel is not one of them.

When the newly appointed Minister, Orit Struck, and the designated chair of the Constitution Committee, Simcha Rothman, insist on allowing business owners and doctors not to serve other Israelis due to “religious beliefs,” we should be horrified. It is not for nothing that the Chief Rabbi of Israel, David Lau, spoke out against this atrocious position. The images of “No Jews and dogs allowed” signs should come to mind of anyone who has any connection to Jewish history.

More examples? Another faction of this list [NOAM] is a party that, in the name of the divine, obsesses with only one thing: the LGBT community. This party, which represents a fringe and fanatical faction of religious Zionism, maintains real blacklists and has surveillance on lecturers, media professionals, judges, and leaders from within the LGBT community. They also sought and also received the authority to disqualify educational programs suspected of being too “liberal.”

The third faction in the group that seeks to repeal the law introduced [ironically] by Likud in 1985 after the election of the father of Jewish racial theory, Rabbi Kahane to disqualify those espousing racism or working against democracy to be disqualified from running in elections. It now seeks to allow those who incite racism to become legislators in the Israeli Knesset. What’s more? An attempt to abolish the authority of the Chief of Staff over the Chief Military Rabbi and turn him into an extension of the Chief Rabbinate, which is controlled by non-Zionist Haredim. And much more.

Those who look up must understand our responsibility to the entire Jewish people and must see how the majority of the Jewish community overseas is embarrassed, distanced and ashamed of the image of political Judaism in Israel, as expressed in the religious parties that join the Likud in the coalition, and especially in “religious Zionism.” They use Judaism as a weapon.

The only way to fight back is for all those for whom human dignity, human rights, humanity and Judaism are important is to get off the fence. The slogan we shouted during the 2011 protests “Get off of the balcony – the country is collapsing” becomes a real call [to world Jewry, to Jews all over who care] for mobilization. Now.


Read the original release HERE

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