“If we don’t find a way to live together, then we will die together,” said Israeli film director Gidi Dar in an interview about his film “Legend of Destruction.” In his animated feature (93 minutes) Dar reflects on the Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire in Eretz Israel, which ended in a Jewish civil war and ultimately led to the destruction of the Temple.
Now Dar sees the scenario of his cartoon coming true in front of his very eyes. As a concerned citizen, Dar approached various leading rabbis in the Zionist settler movement, including some belonging to the movement’s far-right wing, such as rabbis Shmuel Elijah, Joshua Shapiro, Tamir Granot, Eliakim Levanon, Simeon Cohen, and Jakob Madan. All insist on the full implementation of judicial reform. But after the film director met them and presented them with the grave situation and danger, they agreed to listen to the other side. “We will converse with anyone who accepts the legitimacy of the current governing coalition, without preconditions for dialogue,” they and other rabbis wrote. Although they have made no commitments, they admit they are striving for widespread popular acceptance. If you read the Israeli media carefully, you can clearly sense a real fear among the people that the Jewish tendency toward self-destruction is again rearing its head. This must be prevented.
Not only that, but Modiin Mayor Haim Bibas, one of the key figures in the Likud faction, signed a letter with 70 mayors and district chairmen to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. They stressed that “broad acceptance among the people should be achieved.” The signatories include several Likud members, all of whom see the danger if the current government implements a judicial revolution without consultation. Moreover, the majority of right-wing Likud voters are also opposed to Netanyahu’s right-wing revolution process. “The dramatic turnaround in the legal system, law and government on which the State of Israel has grown can only be made by consultation. Any other way will destroy the social infrastructure on which Jewish-democratic Israel is based,” said the concerned mayor.
According to a poll (N12), 45% of Likud voters think Netanyahu should halt the judicial reform and seek a compromise with the opposition. Seventeen percent say the same, but insist the opposition protests must end first. Only 28% of right-wing Likud voters want the government to “continue at full throttle.”
In addition, the scheme is facing more and more opposition from right-wing politicians and heads of the security apparatus affiliated with Netanyahu’s government, such as the former head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, the former head of the Shin Bet security service, Yoram Cohen, the former police chief, Roni Alsheich, and General Yakov Amidror. They call for urgent dialogue and some also take part in the protests, like Cohen in Jerusalem and Alsheich in Tel Aviv. The voices on the religious and right-wing level against Netanyahu’s right-wing coup are getting louder.
Diaspora Judaism warned Israel’s government from abroad: “The process of judicial reform should be frozen immediately.” Conservative Jewry has urged Netanyahu to stop the process and hold talks under Herzog’s supervision: “The weakening of Israel’s judicial system, which has rightfully gained global status and prestige over decades, is being compounded by the legal reforms.” In addition, the umbrella organization of all Jewish women’s organizations in the world has also warned that under the new laws, “women’s rights in Israel are in jeopardy.”
We live today in the cartoon of a new destruction in Israel. These are not wrathful sermons like we know from the prophets. No, the danger is clearly written on the wall and that is why people from all parts of the Jewish people are getting involved and pushing for dialogue. This is not a “legend of destruction,” but a reality. The film takes viewers on a fascinating and turbulent journey that aptly raises political, spiritual and social issues from our modern life in the country. How and what is a Jewish identity? Who is more right? In the cartoon by Gidi Dar, the people of Israel plunge into a bloody civil war and ultimately end with the destruction of the Jewish temple. They’d prefer to prevent this from happening in real life, but for that everyone has to make compromises, put aside their ego and talk to their neighbors.
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