On Purim, all manner of bizarre things are known to happen. People dress in wild costumes and drink till they can’t tell the difference between Haman and Mordecai. But according to Ynetnews, Israel’s radical right has taken it to even more of an ‘extreme’ (if you pardon the expression). Like neo-Nazis who celebrate Hitler’s birthday, the radical right celebrates the date on Purim when Baruch Goldstein mowed down 29 Palestinians in cold blood. In reading the Purim megillah as close as the police will allow them to the assassin’s grave, they substitute the names of “traitorous” Israeli politicians for the names of Haman and other evil characters:
During the reading of the book, the activists replaced the name of the villain in the story, Haman, with the names Arik and Rabin, and instead of the name Zeresh (Haman’s wife), they yelled “Tzipi Livni” and “Leah Rabin.” Instead of “The House of Haman”, the participants said “Sycamore Farm” [Ariel Sharon’s home].
Not to be outdone, another “partygoer” decided to commit an act of vandalism against none other than the Israeli police chief:
A number of right-wing activists punctured the tires of Hebron District police chief’s car Saturday. Brig.-Gen. Ali Zamir’s car was parked near the gravesite of Baruch Goldstein in Kiryat Arba, where several dozen activists and residents were reading the Book of Esther.
Why does there appear to be little or no concern among the Israeli political class or hardline pro-Israel supporters in the Diaspora that this sort of “revelry” is as rejectionist and extremist as anything thrown at Israel by Palestinian rejectionists. And please don’t argue that the radical Israel right is not as dangerous because Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians in cold blood and other Goldstein wannabes have perpetrated similar bloodshed over the years, not to mention the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir.
A brave leader of the Israeli peace movement has publicly denounced such chicanery (I hope he has personal security):
Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer demanded from the Judea and Samaria District police chief, Maj.-Gen. Yisrael Yitzhak to prevent the “annual Purim celebration.”
According to Oppenheimer, “The reading of the book near the murderer’s grave glorifies Goldstein’s actions and serves as a platform for dangerous incitement, which might lead to violence.”
“Furthermore, each year at the event, calls for another political murder are being heard,” added.
“The traditional rampaging of settlers near the grave of Baruch Goldstein is a stain on Israeli society. This disturbance proves once again that the Kach Movement is alive and kicking. The only fitting response is to tear down the gravesite immediately,” Oppenheimer concluded.
And a special note of explanation is necessary for the image I’ve chosen for this post. It is Baruch Goldstein’s gravestone. For anyone who doesn’t know, it is customary to place rocks, rather than flowers, on a Jewish grave as a sign of respect by the mourners. While the rocks here block some of the words, here are some of the salient phrases from this inscription. Read them and weep for the delusion they symbolize:
Died for the sake of His land and His Torah
With clean-hands and pure heart…
Murdered for the sake of sanctification of the Lord…
Kiddush HaShem is one of the most exalted acts a Jew can perform by dying for the sake of his fellow Jews or his or her God. Victims of the Holocaust are accorded such a great honor. But to attribute this to Goldstein is profoundly offensive and stains the sacred phrase. If I wasn’t so sick to my stomach, I’d actually feel a touch of sadness for the delusive views that made such an inscription possible.