Gimme Shelter (preferably with air-conditioning)

It’s safe to assume that Sarah Netanyahu won’t be sitting beside me in the public bomb-shelter when Iranian missiles fall on Tel Aviv – assuming, that is, that whoever is in charge of the shelter has been able to find the key or remembers to open it before scooting off to the elite, all-luxuries-included shelter to which he has access by virtue of his position.

It’s just as safe to assume that Mrs. Barak won’t be joining me and mine either, and that neither will the children, relatives, friends and hangers-on of the two men who, it seems increasingly likely, will be deciding to go to war against Iran one of these days. Protektzia – knowing someone who knows someone – is a hallowed tradition in Israel, and never more so than when the bombs are falling.

My wife, children and I will be on our own, I guess, along with those abject and pathetic neighbors of ours who have also never mastered the arts of knowing the right people and protecting one’s own arse while risking those of others. Serves us right for not being true Israelis.

But we won’t be entirely on our own, of course. It’s nice to know that the army will be texting us regularly to see how we’re doing. Not that the guys doing the texting will be in the public shelter – they’ll all be in the army’s state-of-the-art facility down the road – but at least they’ll be thinking of us. I doubt if uplifting, Zionist text messages have much missile-deterrence value, but it’s the thought that counts.

Also comforting was the prime minister’s statement a couple of days ago that the threat facing the Israeli home front is dwarfed by the threat of a nuclear Iran. (Yes, that’s the same prime minister whose wife will be sharing his air-conditioned, lead-hardened, cigar-equipped shelter, rather than sitting on the damp, concrete floor of the public facility with me.)

I didn’t understand what he was getting at, at first. In my naivety, I had always thought that governments (the so-called democratic ones, anyway) were elected to serve and defend the people – or the dwarfs, as Bibi would have it. That the home front is the people (minus serving solders). That leaders should lead from the front. (OK. I know I’m getting carried away.)

Then I saw the light.

It’s Zionism, stupid, and Zionism has never been about the people. The people, as individuals, have always been expendable, and they’re expendable now. In fact, the people have often served the Zionist cause a lot better as dead heroes, than as flesh and blood nuisances. Think of  Trumpeldor, or all those who died in the Holocaust so Bibi could wave scraps of paper at the UN and make heart-rending speeches.

Zionism is about a fairy tale: the supposed return of the People (a bloodless concept) to the promised Land. It’s of little concern how many people (small “p”) are shed along the way as long as the promise is redeemed and the People remain in control of the Land. That is the supreme value that dwarfs the lives of myself, my children and the rest of heathen, coffee-guzzling Tel Aviv. We are cannon fodder for messianic, Zionist  hallucinations.

So I’ll explain to my children, in our dark, dank and flimsy shelter as the Iranian missiles rain down, that we are there being dwarfs for the greater good. We are there so that the settlers can sit on their hillsides (they’re too close to Palestinian-populated areas to be in any danger themselves), so that American Jews can continue to assuage their Zionist consciences by donating to expansionist Israel and so that Bibi and Barak can finally have the war that they’ve been itching to wage for years.

I’m sure my kids will understand.

1 reply on “Gimme Shelter (preferably with air-conditioning)”

Dearest Roy. Please do not worry about minor things,
Such as next to whom will you be sitting in the shelter   or whether the army will text you there/
The thing is ,Honey,  there is no shelter in our street!  But I have a master key

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