Spirit of ’67

A month or so ago an homeboy who used to work at the Crisis Group mentioned that the directors there had embargoed a completed report on right wing religious groups in Israel. It was deemed too controversial and so it sat on the shelf for 6+ months. Well, I guess the new administration’s very public push against the settler movement has shifted the scope of the debate and so yesterday the Crisis Group finally saw fit to release the jawn.  Quite interesting and well worth the read.

Within the settler fringe (that’s rather fringe, I’d say) there’s an whack subculture call Hilltop Youth; young disaffected dudes who lay claim to mounds, build claptrap synagogues, live in shipping containers, and do the pastoral thing + guns. The spiritual leader of the Hilltop Youth is a (what else) U.S.-born asshole with a degree from Chicago University named Yitzhak Ginsburgh. You don’t like his ideas; to wit, fn. 81:

81 After the Gaza disengagement, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh

became an inspirational beacon for disaffected national religious

youth, particularly in the outposts. “Before disengagement

people rejected our ideas, but a few months after

people began to turn to us; their children stopped participating

in the army and studied with us instead”. Crisis Group

interview, Yisrael Ariel, Rabbi Ginsburgh’s adviser, Jerusalem,

September 2008. Imprisoned after he publicly lauded

the 1994 killing of 29 Muslims in Hebron’s Ibrahimi

mosque, Ginsburgh “emphasises the spontaneity, unthinking

naturalness of violence which transcends conventional,

petit bourgeois definitions of good and evil”. 


(Jeesh! I sure don’t like his bourgeois dorm room radicalist boilerplate! And while we await Thom Westbaby’s drawing of Calvin Pissing on Nu Zionism, we can calm ourselves with this.)

Late Update (as the blogs say): From the abovementioned report one senses the strange, looming possibility of civil unrest in Israel, perhaps even civil conflict. On the grinding tension between secularists and the ultra-orthodox, this article in the usually corny Foreign Policy is quite interesting.


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