The latest manufactured scandal ensued after Voice of Israel Radio aired on April 5 that when possible maternity wards separate between Jews and Arabs.
The expected knee-jerk reaction followed as planned.
Politicians and journalists of a certain persuasion were quick to point out that this is yet further evidence demonstrating how dangerously racist Israeli society is becoming.
The cries turned to rage after Member of Knesset Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) tweeted that “after birth my wife wants to rest and not have to be in the midst of noisy celebrations practiced by Arab families.” He also tweeted that “it is only natural that my wife will not want to be next to someone who just gave birth to a baby who in 20 years’ time may try to kill her baby.”
Smotrich’s tweets scandalized our “morality brigades,” who used them to show the whole world just how racist is Israel’s right-wing constituency. The headline of the left-leaning newspaper Ha’aretz the next day screeched: “‘Another Terrorist is Born’: The long-standing practice of racism and segregation in Israeli maternity wards.”
Though most likely being facetious, Haaretz did suggest the possibility that ongoing anti-Jewish terror could be the cause for the perceived “racism.”
As expected, a survey followed. A poll conducted by Channel 2’s Meet the Press program found that 34 percent of Israelis overall support separating Jewish and Arab women in maternity wards, while 61 percent oppose such a practice.
The numbers were far more polarized when breaking down left-wing and right-wing respondents. One the Left, 92 percent opposed maternity ward segregation, while on the Right 66 percent supported it.
The finding, therefore, is clear: Right-wingers are racists and Israel is in danger of becoming a fascist state!
Those who take such polls less seriously were quick to point out that the survey had failed to properly compare Jews with Arabs, as it did not ask the same question of the latter.
Indeed, during a stormy Knesset session on Wednesday, Prof. Drorit Hochner, director of Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital’s OBGYN department, revealed to shocked left-wing and Arab MKs that it is just as often Arab mothers who request not to be placed in a room with Jews.
“There are Arab women who after birth ask not to be with Jewish women, they ask bluntly and point-blank,” Hochner revealed.
Even more hypocritically, some Israelis get all worked up over perceived Jewish racism, but seem to care little that the Palestinian Authority maintains a policy of seeking a Palestinian state devoid of all Jews, or that there are Israeli Arab towns in which Jews dare not live.
Furthermore, the poll failed to take into account the very real issue of terrorism, which has resulted in many Israelis becoming nervous whenever they meet an Arab. This fact alone paints the present scandal in a very different light.
In the wake of the scandal, Smotrich’s wife, Revital, wrote the following on her husband’s Facebook page:
“I was wrong in thinking that one is allowed to say out loud what one thinks … maybe I was wrong in thinking that I am allowed to think differently, after my brother was wounded in a terror attack … after our good friends … lost four of their children … and to my sorrow the list is longer … I was wrong in thinking that alone I could stand up to the horde of hypocrites who try to blur the fact that a war is waging here for hundred years … we are still fighting for our right to exist in this land…”
The reality experienced by Revital Smotrich is indicative of a complex reality that doesn’t yield easily to the clean-cut labels of “liberal” and “racist.” Unfortunately for all, however, by reducing the topic of racism to petty politics by scandalizing every little tweet and jot, our moral brigades are turning racism into a partisan rather than a moral issue.