Prof. Dr. Carlo Strenger is a psychoanalyst and a Jew critical of everything Jewish and Israeli. His affinity with the extreme leftists political scene promoted him to becoming the darling of the columnists in the left-wing liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as well as of the – increasingly critical of Israel – right-wing liberal Swiss NZZ. The online Journal 21 which has definitely right-wing and anti-Jewish leanings, likes to publish its ranting against the Israeli government.
His NZZ column „Strengers Welt“ (Strenger’s World) on December 14, bearing the title „Fighter Jets Instead of Doves of Peace“, includes a sentence which took me a long time to understand.
„Considering Israeli circumstances, 2016 has almost been a year of luxury, insofar as there were „only“ isolated missiles from the Gaza Strip and few exchanges of shots on the Syrian border, so that no new war broke out either on the southern or the northern front.“
The year 2016 will soon come to an end, and there will be no prolongation. I spent most of the year in Israel, and, to put it very clearly, I did not experience that luxury.
True, what has become known as the Third Intifada or Knife Intifada since the autumn of 2015, lost momentum at some time or other. But it is not behind us. There are less terror attacks, but it is as if the Palestinians do not want us to shelve them, and every so often it flares up again. Luxury?
There were devastating fires a few weeks ago. It is almost a miracle that there was no loss of life. But in our town, Zichron, alone, 30 houses can no longer be lived in. A quarter of Haifa’s inhabitants had to be evacuated. My report was too optimistic – most of the fires were shown to be arson. Luxury?
The murders of innocents who did nothing wrong: People whose only sin was to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and they met their murderer there. The murderers were Arabs and Jews, grownups, children, youngsters. They all are part of Israeli society, a society which has failed. Luxury?
Families who this year again did not succeed in freeing themselves from poverty and are dependent on society’s help and support. Children who leave home in the morning without breakfast. Luxury?
It is true that there were comparatively fewer attacks on the borders. In this respect one can speak of relative peace. However when, as was written in the media only yesterday, Hamas cells were discovered that had been planning many suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa, it does not make for a particularly strong sense of security. Luxury?
Yesterday the TV stations were broadcasting pictures of soldiers in protective wear who were conducting a large-scale exercise against attacks with chemical and biological weapons, which have certainly been planned for a long time. Luxury?
You call that luxury? Even when I think of the quotation marks for the word „only“ in Strenger’s text, the facts I see are different.
If we follow Maslow’s hierarchy of need, luxury is the highest level of needs he defined. It can only be reached after all the lower levels have been met to the optimal extent. If there are disorders at one of the levels, either through internal or external influences, the person will fall back to the level of the disorder.
When Professor Dr. Carlo Strenger is speaking of the year of luxury for Israel and attaches this „only“ to the relative peace in the North and the South, he is being cynical and thus reduces luxury in Israel to the second level of needs: the need for security.
He does not concede any more than that to the adopted homeland of his choice, to which he is passionately opposed.
© esther scheiner, Israel
translated by Translation International, Herzliya