MembersDragged Through the Mud

The term Ocher Israel (עוכר ישראל) is a derogatory expression for an enemy of Israel who does nothing but evil against the nation.

By Aviel Schneider |
Photo: Nati Shohat/FLASH90

This idiom would definitely be used in conversations about Hitler, Yasser Arafat, Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and even Barack Obama, among other obvious haters of Israel. However, this term of abuse is used predominantly within the Jewish population.

National religious settlers and right-wing politicians routinely regard Israel’s left-wing liberal politicians and the media as types of “Israel-haters” who, in their opinion, are betraying the Jewish state. Slain Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was labelled an Ocher Israel in his lifetime. Avigdor Lieberman, who until recently served as Minister of Defense, called Israeli rock star Aviv Geffen an Ocher Israel a few months ago. Aviv’s father, Jonathan Geffen, is likewise viewed by right-wingers as a traitor.

In their ongoing disputes with the state, the Orthodox rabbis frequently describe the government as Ocher Israel over efforts to compel yeshiva students to serve in the army like all other Israeli Jews. Left-wing Israelis also use this term of abuse for national religious settlers, insisting that right-wing religious policies besmirch Israeli society and drag it into the...

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