The Fire Israel Kindled


In the wake of being burned by my facebook “friends” and family over criticizing Israel during one of the most horrific natural disasters in the nation’s history, I am going to try to rekindle compassion.When I hear people asking the question, “Who started the fire?” Our answer should not be about the Druze or the Jews, who were smoking argeela or nargeela on Mount Carmel. No.

The answer should not be that it doesn’t matter, “Right now we just need to come together and put the fire out.” No. Someone is responsible for this.

If you hold an Israeli ID, you are responsible for kindling the flames long before there was smoke in the forest.

If you have the ability to vote, but didn’t — you’re more responsible for the fire than the people who did – because at least they tried to change something in this “Jewish Democracy”.

If you are Jewish in Israel, today you have more power and privilege than anyone else in this land. So whether you voted or not – you are even more responsible. Yes.

For years the smoke from the shoah has been blinding you, the Jews. The preoccupation with maintaining the occupation led Jews and Israelis to spend billions of dollars, hours and resources on electing people who want to build insecurity fences and risk the lives of our youth protecting fire starting, water-stealing settlers.

But I’m not going to blame it all on the Jews. No.

Because there is someone more responsible than the Jews. His name is Eli Yishai, and he is the Minister of Interior. As Noam Sheizaf wrote in “Israel’s deadliest fire ever: Eli Yishai must go,” he is directly responsible for drying up the fire department’s funds and the money allocated to all the people in this land – Israeli and Palestinian alike – about the real threats people here are facing – from land (earthquakes), water and fire. Yes, there is someone who is responsible for this – but it is not the Druze.

So as our hearts beat heavily, as we witness the cold, blue sentiment of national disaster rushing through our veins, let’s not reach for the familiar cloak of victimhood. Let’s not act as we do in wartime and blind ourselves to self critique. Let’s come together and struggle to breathe in the little oxygen we have left here, so perhaps next time, when people are screaming FIRE before the flames (article written by Aviv Lavie in Maariv), we’ll be responsible enough to stand up and put it out.