(Hebron) Hayyei Sarah Pogroms (Religious Zionism)

Hebron in the occupied West Bank is the traditional site of the first hold of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel according to the Bible. Read once a year, this week’s parsha, Hayyei Sarah, tells how Abraham bought a plot of land to bury Sarah. In modern times, Hebron was the site of an anti-Jewish massacre in 1929 by Palestinian mobs. Since the 1970s, it has been a place of what Yitzhak Rabin called wild weeds of settler violence and terror. Since 1996, Jewish rightwing and religious extremists converge on Hebron to commemorate the reading of that Torah portion named after the matriarch Sarah. You can read about these events here and here and here as announced and reported by rightwing religious sources. Like a “Jewish Woodstock.”

This year, Hayyei Sarah was pocked by extreme act of anti-Palestine violence by hundreds of religious Jews marching into parts of the occupied Hebron ostensibly controlled by the Palestinian Authority. You can read about the spike in anti-Palestinian attacks by religious settlers in the days leading up this week here. Reports about today’s violence in leftwing, center, and center right new English language sources in Israel are here and here and here. The most comprehensive article in the press is here in Ha’aretz including interviews with Palestinian residents of Hebron, and Jewish soldiers and settlers. The anti-Palestinian violence, from soldiers and settlers was especially extreme this year.

The violence is organized around Jewish religion. The rioters are all religious Jews. But the state is ultimately responsible. They let this happen and these events possible. Long abetted by the State and the IDF whose soldiers “maintain the peace” of the Occupation, this is the wave of religious fanaticism about to sweep into the governing coalition to be led by Benjamin Netanyahu, changing the face of the country. There is too much Judaism in Israel, unbalanced and unchecked. Judaism in Israel is the religion of a violent ghetto, a saturating supremacy and racism with no regard for human values, respect for other people, unhinged and unhinging. These not so new mutations in religious Zionism are corruptions of the human image and desecrate God.

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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11 Responses to (Hebron) Hayyei Sarah Pogroms (Religious Zionism)

  1. Berel Dov Lerner says:

    Talk about painting a whole community with a wide brush. What did you say about violence at BLM demonstrations?

  2. Jordan Hirsch says:

    Not to mention that most of the violence perpetrated at BLM protests was initiated by out of control law enforcement officers. But that’s not even the point. How long are going to have to listen to Zionist chauvinists pivot to anti black rhetoric in response to any critique of Israeli society? The real answer, Mr Lerner, is that you should fuck off.

    • zjb says:

      i won’t tell Lerner to f. off, but you’re right, Jordan about the anti-black rhetoric. I too did not like the violence at protests that were largely peaceful. The fundamental difference is that violent BLM demonsto rs were not religious terrorists attacking people in their neighborhoods and homes on the basis of a racial-ethnic difference in order to advance a supremacist political agenda

      • zjb says:

        also, Berl is always welcome at this site and free to comment even if he doesn’t like what he reads or how others respond to him

      • dmf says:

        thanks for the initial post and it”s yer show here but quite telling when the pathetic but expected attempt to change the subject via whataboutism goes right into racist tropes about black folks.
        Also much of the cop violence against peaceful BLM protesters was “religious terrorists attacking people in their neighborhoods and homes on the basis of a racial-ethnic difference in order to advance a supremacist political agenda”, White Christian Nationalism is quite the bedfellow for our brethren.

    • Berel Dov Lerner says:

      It was not an anti-Black comment. I was pointing out that by blaming all Religious Zionists for the violence of the few you are engaging in the same tactic as those who would discredit the entire BLM project by pointing to the violence which accompanied some of its demonstrations. You are welcome to delete your comment.

  3. History may be true but “that” it is not “philosophy”, which cares more about rationality and causes, and if the cause IT IS G’D INDEED”, HOW TO “MAKE IT” THROUGH..? Shalom

  4. Berel Dov Lerner says:

    Regarding the vote for the “Religious Zionism” party. I certainly didn’t vote for that party, but I am willing to be a bit charitable in thinking about those who did. Here are some motivations that people outside the loop may not have considered:1) Unfortunately, there is a strong sectoral element to Israeli politics and “Religious Zionism” was, unfortunately, the only electable party left standing that represents the sectoral interests of the Religious Zionist community. That means that any Religious Zionist not voting for the “Religious Zionist” party would have to be willing to endanger government support and funding of religious Zionist schools, institutions, and communities for the greater good of the country. 2) Israel is undergoing a continuing and worsening crisis of the breakdown of sovereignty. The violence in mixed Jewish/Arab towns during the last Gaza campaign and the complete impotence of police in dealing with thefts and protection rackets in the Negev have driven some people to place their hopes on desperate measures. Those of us who experienced the campaigning accompanying the last election know that Otzma Yehudit focused strongly on this issue. My thought is that these problems (and, of course, the terrible plague of Arab on Arab violence) can only be solved by increasing police cooperation with Arab communities, recruiting more Arabs into the police force, etc. and it is hard to imagine the Ben-Gvir, of all people, would be willing or able to do this. However, I can understand his emotional appeal for people who are neither fascists or racists but are deeply troubled by this phenomenon of growing lawlessness.

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