Racism, Segregation and an Israeli MK
I take back all the excuses I made for MK Bezalel Smotrich’s reported statement that it is okay for Jews (and supposedly also Arabs) to ask to be in separate rooms after birth of their babies. I didn’t have all the evidence I would have needed for me to decide where I really stand on his statement. All I had was an article wondering why people were making a big deal of this when there is segregation of Jews and Arabs (and Haredim) in the formal education system, for example, and nobody raises a peep about that not being okay.
I opined that the problem may be more an issue of the hamulot (large extended families) that gather in hospital rooms without regard to visiting hours (if such a thing actually exists here), thereby disturbing the rest and sleep patients need in order to recover. I also wondered if it was not an issue of like liking like and people wanting to be with those they feel most similar to in the intimacy of a hospital room (even if it is only for 48 hours in the case of post-delivery mothers). Finally, I wondered if there may not be a bit of reverse racism whereby if you tell a noisy (Arab or Moroccan Jewish or Haredi) family to please be quiet or take it outside, they may accuse you of racism and ignore your request.
These are all thoughts worthy of reasoned discussion. But they had nothing to do with the source of the news item.
Then someone had the good sense to share the link to an interview Rafi Reshef conducted with Smotrich’s wife and I was shocked as I heard the racism dripping from that woman’s lips.
She was not reticent about letting all of us know, on national TV, that she did not let non-Jewish hands touch (God forbid!) her new babies’ skin as they emerged from her womb in this most sacred of moments. At her 5th, and so far last, birth, she asked the male Arab mid-wife (she used that word and not doctor) about to attend to her to dismiss himself and send in a woman – and a Jew. She thinks that because nobody argued with her then, nor did they argue with her when she requested to be in a room only with Jews, that this is some sign that such a request is okay. Nobody argues with anyone who would make such a request just because they don’t want the shouting match and perhaps violence that might follow a refusal. (And it should be clear that for many, if not most, Israeli Jews, sharing a hospital room with an Arab and being treated by Arab doctors and nurses is simply a non-issue.)
Revital Smotrich is showing her racism in all its glory – not because she is afraid to be in a room with our enemy (or the mother of a potential terrorist since all Arabs educate their kids to hate us), as she starts out saying, but because she can’t bear the touch of the non-Jew anywhere near her newborn child. Seems that line is somewhat on a par with Abbas’ statement of hatred toward the Jews who pollute Arab soil with their feet.
If the wife says this and the husband does not distance himself from a statement of this kind, then we must believe he agrees with her. If he does not, he is in a sticky position, I admit – but he would have to make things right. Minus any disagreement with his wife’s statements, we must believe he is as racist as she is. And this, I suppose, means that they are raising 5 little racists.
While, for me, that does not colour his whole party racist, it might, if the rest of HaBayit HaYehudi does not come out and express their horror at such sentiments.
On second thought, I have no doubt they know he and his wife are such Arab haters. So what is he doing on their list in the first place? As a Bennett supporter, I am left up the creek without a paddle because I don’t think I have anywhere else to go politically.