Shalom Goldman picks apart the "loyalty oath" debate going on in Israel today. What it says about the emerging worldview of Israelis in this century:
According to Yaron London, among the questions that might be asked by that elusive figure, the average Jew,’ is one very pointed one:“Our Arab citizens demand that Israel act toward them in line with the noblest human criteria, while at the same time they barely criticize the injustices prevalent in the Arab world. These Arab citizens have nothing to say about the attitude to the Coptic minority in Egypt, or about the attitude to the Shiites in Sunni Gulf states, or about the Alawite tyranny in Syria.”
One of the most cutting remarks came from a retired member of the High Court of Justice, Israel’s Supreme Court. Abd-el Rahman Zuabi, the first Arab to serve on the court, said that if the proposed amendment passes “then there will be two countries in the world that in my opinion are racist: Iran, which is an Islamic state, and Israel, which is the Jewish state.”
How then did this frightening swing to the Right come about? In a recently published book, Israeli Identities, sociologist Yair Oron analyzes the results of twenty years of researchincluding interviews and opinion polls conducted among people in Israelboth Jews and Arabs. He found that for Jews of all political and religious affiliations, Holocaust memory was the dominant element in their sense of identity, and that the Holocaust serves as the Jewish common denominator, an Israeli civil religion.
In a survey Oron conducted in Israel in 1990, he found that there were then two aspects to Holocaust memory, one more universalwhich warned against the possibility of genocide anywhere in the world, and one more particularistic, that feared another genocide directed against Jews. In a subsequent 2008 survey, Oron found that the particularistic view had triumphed; very few of his respondents articulated a universalistic worldview...