Israel’s Hilltop Youth Acting Out Their Vengeance Fantasies?

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I included this video in a post I put up several days ago, but after watching it a few times, I’ve decided it bears closer consideration, and am reposting it now for that reason. As you view it, be sure to click the “cc” icon for the English subtitles.

The video shows a wedding celebration attended by a gathering of so-called Hilltop Youth. These are Israeli youths who live in the West Bank and advocate the continued expansion of settlements on Palestinian land. I guess you could basically describe them as the youth wing of the far-right Israeli settler movement. Wikipedia says they are “noted for establishing” illegal outposts and have been “accused” of engaging in settler violence.

The atmosphere at the wedding, as you can see, is exuberant, the participants are quite rowdy, and in the final minute and a half of the video, after the rabbi performs the marriage ceremony, things get really interesting as the raucous bash moves into high gear. It is at this point we see some of the youths dancing, waving knives in the air, their faces masked, as they presumably revel in the thought of vanquishing their enemies.

“The people sang a verse from the Bible called ‘Please remember me’ that Samson was singing before the Philistines killed him,” explains one of the participants at 3:13 on the video. “And these people want to take revenge against their enemies,” he adds.

What we are watching, in other words, is a group of Jewish teenagers acting out their vengeance fantasies. And their reverie, I would suggest, isn’t just directed against Palestinians.

It’s hard to say for sure, of course, what’s going on in an individual’s mind at any given time, but it does look very much to me like the youthful fantasies on display contemplate the exacting of vengeance against all non-Jews, for whatever offenses, real or imagined, amassed over centuries of alleged “anti-Semitic” persecution. Or put another way, it’s a generalized expression of enmity–toward virtually everyone. “These people want to take revenge against their enemies,” says the youth–and “enemies” includes anyone who has ever done anything to the Jews.





This is what we are seeing in the knife dance–or at least this is what it looks like to me. And if you’re thinking no, surely not, they’re just kids, a bit boisterous and unruly maybe, but they certainly wouldn’t have something that malevolent in mind–then give some thought to the words of Yossi Gurvitz in the video below.

Gurvitz is an Israeli writer, blogger, and contributor to the +972 website. As a youth he attended school at a Yeshiva, so when he discusses religious Jews in Israel, we can assume he knows what he is talking about. The entire video is worth watching, but note especially what Gurvitz says at 2:35 regarding “rabbinical Judaism.”

If you take his words in context, you see that by “rabbinical Judaism” what he is referring to is Talmudic Judaism, this as opposed to Judaism based upon the Torah. The latter form of Judaism has been “pretty much erased from history,” he says, and the principle inspiration of Judaism today is the Talmud, not the Bible.

Now of course if you do a search for the “Talmud” you will find all sorts of things, including Jewish websites arguing that this collection of Judaic religious writings contains nothing offensive, and that in any case, it is secondary to the Torah, but keep in mind that what you are getting here from Gurvitz is the dope straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

This is the inside scoop from someone who has studied at a yeshiva. And what we see say at about 2:35 are the words, “Rabbinical Judaism is a Judaism that hates humans.”

Gurvitz certainly helps bring the knife dance into a bit clearer focus, doesn’t he? Note also the discussion he begins in the latter part of the fourth minute, running up into the eight minute, in which he explains that the full force of Talmudic law does not come into play until such time as “Israel is mighty,” as he puts it. Up until that point Jews must adopt “peaceful ways.”

Failure to do so could result in a pogrom–and this, he says, is the reality that was taken into consideration by the writers of the Talmud. If people followed Talmudic dictates to the letter it would create a “huge mess” and Jews would be killed. But once “Israel is mighty,” the gloves come off; the peaceful ways are discarded. “Are the Jews subordinate to ‘kingdoms,’ to other nations? Or can they subordinate other nations?” Gurvitz asks. This is the only determining factor where Talmudic Jews are concerned.

Let’s turn our attention back to the video of the Hilltop Youth. One can’t help wondering what they’re so overjoyed about. Yes, it’s a wedding, and people normally are happy on such occasions, but I’ve been to weddings before and at not a single one did I ever see guests jumping up and down and waving knives in the air. What accounts for the state of jubilance the Hilltop Youth seem so clearly caught up in?

Could it be they believe that Israel is on the threshold of becoming “mighty”? Have they recognized the power that Jews hold in global finance and media, and have they deduced that other nations,  particularly in the West, have now become “subordinate” to this power as a result–and that more and more nations are destined to fall into line? And if so, would they perhaps have good cause for feeling this way?

Perhaps most pertinently of all, do they believe that all of this has come about because God willed it? And if that is the case, are we therefore, in their view, a short twinkling of an eye away from the point at which all fear of pogroms will vanish, the gloves will come off, and Jews will be free to follow Talmudic law without regard to what others think?

And this soon-to-come religious adherence to the letter of Talmudic dictates–would it include killing non-Jews without punishment and some of the other abominations Gurvitz describes? Is this what we are dealing with?

As I say, the young Israeli Jews seem to be acting out their vengeance fantasies. The question before us is what happens when these youths get a bit older and some of them start acquiring government jobs? And what happens if one or more of them ends up with his finger on Israel’s nuclear buttons? It’s not just an academic question. There is a very real possibility of this happening.

The settler movement in Israel is infested with people who hold views similar to what Gurvitz describes, and the settler movement by chance also enjoys the unqualified support of the Netanyahu government. And there is every reason to think that when Netanyahu is finally gone from the political scene, that someone even further to the right will take his place. Is it possible, under the type of governments that Israelis are prone to electing, that an individual with dangerous views of this sort could end up holding a top-level security clearance? Or am I just posing an alarmist scenario here?

Another question before us is what will happen to Israel’s Christian population as people like this advance to power? A few days ago I did a post on Benzi Gopstein, the leader of the Lehava organization, whose remarks regarding churches in Israel, which many interpreted as a call for arson attacks, garnered worldwide publicity. Here is what Newsweek reported on the matter:

Vatican representatives have asked Israel to charge a controversial Jewish extremist who they allege advocated the burning of churches. A senior advisor to the Catholic Church in Israel warned that a “red line has been crossed” following a spate of anti-Christian attacks in the country.

The article goes on to identify Gopstein as the Jewish extremist singled out by the Vatican representatives. Let’s turn our attention once more to the Hilltop Youth video at the top of this post. It is Gopstein’s daughter, Hodaya, we see getting married, while the video identifies the groom as “Hanamel, a young leader in the hilltop youth.”

In the video description given on YouTube, he is further identified as Hanamel Dorfman. Now advance the video to 1:06. We see a shot of the couple standing side-by-side. Nudge it forward just a little ways, to 1:07, and Dorfman’s face comes into clearer focus.

Now advance it all the way up to 3:18 where we see the aforementioned youth saying, “These people want to take revenge against their enemies.” The youth making that statement is Dorfman–the groom. Are we perhaps looking at a future prime minister of Israel here?

Let’s go back to the Gurvitz video. Move the pointer up to 4:32 where he starts talking about Maimonides. Note carefully what he says about him.

I’ll mention as an aside that Maimonides was a 12th century Jewish rabbi who became extremely influential and who today is referred to affectionately as “Rambam.” According to Wikipedia, he is “revered by Jewish historians.” You can also click here to see a relief portrait of Maimonides that was installed in the US Capitol in 1950. The sculpture is one of a series of 23 such figurines, the subjects of which were chosen by scholars from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia Historical Society of Washington D.C., and approved by five members of Congress. It is on display today at the Rayburn House Office Building.

Gurvitz describes some rather bestial views held by Maimonides, and also–starting at 8:00–he gets into the rabbi’s contradistinctions on the question of subordination, i.e. whether Jews are subordinate to other nations or vice versa, and how Jews should respond accordingly. Now let’s return to the Newsweek article because it reveals something quite interesting about Gopstein:

At a public debate on idolatry at the Wolfson Yeshiva in Jerusalem last week, Gopstein was asked if he supported arson attacks on churches. He replied by citing Moses Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher who Gopstein said advocated the destruction of idolatry. When pushed to give a straight answer, Gopstein said: “Did Maimonides rule that you need to destroy [idolatry] or not? Idolatry needs to be destroyed.”

The Lehava leader later said that he was not calling on individuals to take matters into their own hands. However, Haaretz reported that Gopstein was defiant following the Vatican’s intervention, writing on Facebook: “It’s time to remind the Vatican that the time of censorship when they censored Jewish books is gone. Keep your hands away from Torat Yisrael.”

It appears, no great surprise here, that Gopstein is a big fan of Maimonides.

Needless to say, none of this bodes well for Christians living in the land where Jesus was born. But maybe that too is not surprising. And it looks very much as if Jesus foresaw something of the sort 2,000 years ago.

“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy,” he says in Luke 12:1.

Let’s examine that quote closely, especially the words “yeast” and “hypocrisy.”

One of the definitions for yeast found here is that of a fungus “used as a fermenting agent, to raise bread dough.” It is also described as a “unicellular fungus that reproduces vegetatively by budding or fission, including forms such as candida that can cause disease.”

And if we turn here we can find the following definition of hypocrisy:

“the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.”

In other words, Jesus was saying that what we can expect from the Pharisees is a rising… and rising…level of hypocrisy and pretense. Keep in mind that according to Gurvitz, Talmudic law stipulates that Jews should pretend to have “peaceful ways” until such time as “Israel is mighty.”

This, then, is a central component of Talmudic Judaism: hypocrisy. Pretend to be “peaceful,” but only until Israel becomes “mighty.” And what happens then? Gurvitz lays it out:

“That’s when there is a Jewish regime,” he explains. “It is independent, and it is merciless, it can do what it likes.”

So what Jesus was saying about Pharisee ideology–that it was based on hypocrisy– is identical to what Gurvitz is saying about “rabbinical Judaism” today. Remember of course that it was the Pharisees who prevailed over the other sects of Judaism, and that it was they and their successors who wrote the Talmud–so again, not a terribly big surprise. And also, just as a matter of course, it’s probably worth pointing out that hypocrisy, likewise, is a central component of US foreign policy.

I wonder if Jews like Gopstein are aware of the fact that there is a sculpture of Maimonides at the US Capitol, and if so, do they get a chuckle out of it?

Now let’s consider one final thing. Jump back to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12. Immediately following Jesus’ words about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, he adds this:

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

Gurvitz’s video, this article, this website, nd countless others like it–all provide abundant evidence of the truth of this. No matter how hard today’s successors to the Pharisees try to conceal their hypocrisy, it will, just as Jesus predicted, be made known.

Increasingly these days more and more people are becoming aware of the deceit, and of Israeli officialdom’s pretense of condemning terrorism while covertly supporting terrorists in neighboring Syria; and they are becoming aware in the process also of Israel’s true intentions in the Middle East, and that these do not include achieving a just peace with the Palestinians, nor are its intentions peaceful toward surrounding countries.

In fact, if Gurvitz has it pegged correctly, there are those in Israel with the aim of exercising “mercilessness” when the moment seems auspicious. In fact, you could look at last year’s attack on Gaza, which killed more than 500 children, and perhaps conclude that a certain measure of that has already begun to be dished out.

But there is nothing hidden that will not be made known, and as time goes by, and greater and greater numbers come to recognize the hypocrisy and get a glimpse of the true face underneath the mask, what sort of response do you think we might anticipate from Israelis of such malign propensities? Might we be looking at the carrying out of a “Samson option,” or a “nuclear knife dance” if you prefer?

Perhaps. A lot depends on how we respond. It seems to me that the “international community” has two options before it: a) it can wait passively and hope that at some point Israelis will elect a more responsible government; or, b) it can act now to impose strict sanctions. If the second option is chosen, the sanctions should remain in place until Israel either dismantles its settlements or annexes the entire West Bank and extends the vote to all citizens living there. The idea of a “Jewish and democratic state” has to be discarded in favor of a “democratic state for all its citizens.”

Obviously this will not be done with the cooperation of the US, at least not at first, but if enough countries, realizing the gravity of the situation, took a collective step in this direction it could have an impact. Diaspora Jews who do not share the religious beliefs of the Israeli settler movement could contribute much to this effort.

It is important for Jews, particularly those in the US, to come to grips with the reality that Israel is a racist state, one growing more so by the day, and that its behavior is a major reason for growing levels of anti-Semitism. Jewish interests in the West are ill-served by the continuation of a state that routinely kills, murders, and attacks its neighbors, all the while proclaiming itself a “Jewish state.” If Jews were to add their voices to the calls for sanctions it would make a big difference.

The thing we have to remember is that this is one planet, and that like it or not, we are all in this together, and that we all have a stake in a peaceful resolution to this problem.

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