“Put A Bullet Between His Eyes”


Claiming to have forced Prime Minister Netanyahu to walk back this or that moderate expression in a recent fence-mending trip to the United States, Education Minister Naftali Bennet said in a closed party forum that “he put a bullet between [the Prime Minster’s] eyes.” In a normal country, government officials don’t speak this way.  “Don’t misunderstand, it is of course a metaphor,” the Education Minister explained when warned by a colleague perhaps a little more mature in judgment.  Bennett then warned the gathering, “If you leak it from here, there will be no more meetings like this.” The story, of course, got leaked. It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Surely, some will laugh and some will cry. From the head of a “religious party,” this kind of rhetorical violence passes for political discourse in Israel today by leading coalitional partners and government ministers. In the “only democracy in the Middle East,” this is how a government minister in Israel today talk about a head of state. Anywhere else he’d be removed from office and indicted.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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7 Responses to “Put A Bullet Between His Eyes”

  1. Jon Awbrey says:

    Not so sure anymore. I can remember a time when a candidate would be eliminated from a race for saying one mildly stupid thing. That should tell you how ancient I am …

  2. Wow. Do you really think Bennet’s bit of rhetoric is a valid indication of anything? And if a politician speaking in a closed forum says he “twisted somebody’s arm” or “clobbered him” will you also write about it? And don’t forget about all those terrible “knock-down-drag-out” proofs that philosophers dream of formulating. Is this really what is bothering you about the world today?

    • zjb says:

      yes, i think “a bullet between the eyes” is significant, particularly after the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin by someone out of the “national religious camp” and the general climate of fear and incitement.

      • All I can do is ask people to count to ten and consider the objective validity of the post instead of just cheering another opportunity to congratulate themselves for sharing the same political echo-chamber. As for the “general climate of fear and incitement”: yes, there is a (surprisingly low, given the circumstances) degree of fear found among Israelis today; they don’t like getting stabbed. As for the incitement – you are absolutely right, there is a crazy wave of incitement driving the latest violence. And I am waiting to hear a Palestinian or Arab Israeli who has the guts to admit that the whole idea that the Israeli government is planning on blowing up Al Aqsa is completely delusional. When I see people dying in the streets because of crazy rumors about what Israel allegedly MIGHT do and no responsible adult among the Palestinian and Arab-Israeli leadership willing to speaks sense to their people, it increases my pessimism regarding the chances for peaceful coexistence.

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