Yitzhak Laor

Yitzhak Laor lives in Tel Aviv. He is the editor of Mita’am.

Orchestrated Panic: the Never-Ending War

Yitzhak Laor, 1 November 2007

The 1967 war changed the lives of Israelis and made Palestinian lives hell. Shortly after it, Israel’s Labour prime minister, Levi Eshkol, a relative moderate, approved the colonisation of the West Bank. The Labour Party never really opposed the process, though for years it seemed to have its doubts. That way of carrying on – appearing indecisive, sounding hesitant, while acting...

As soon as the facts of the Bint Jbeil ambush, which ended with relatively high Israeli casualties (eight soldiers died there), became public, the press and television in Israel began marginalising any opinion that was critical of the war. The media also fell back on the kitsch to which Israelis grow accustomed from childhood: the most menacing army in the region is described here as if it is David against an Arab Goliath. Yet the Jewish Goliath has sent Lebanon back 20 years, and Israelis themselves even further: we now appear to be a lynch-mob culture, glued to our televisions, incited by a premier whose ‘leadership’ is being launched and legitimised with rivers of fire and destruction on both sides of the border.

In 1950 the Israeli parliament passed the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law, the first constitutional expression of Israel’s belief that it must act as the heir of the Jews murdered in Europe. This status won international recognition only gradually, thanks by and large to West Germany’s decision not only to pay compensation to the victims of Nazism but also to pay...

In Hebron: The Soldiers’ Stories

Yitzhak Laor, 22 July 2004

“The former soldiers who took part in the exhibition – it closed at the beginning of the month – are working on what they call journalistic research, though it looks as if they are collecting evidence for some sort of imaginary trial. The exception incriminates an individual soldier; if you can show that it is the rule you incriminate the true criminals of the war, the heads of the IDF and the government. These ex-soldiers are gathering photos, confessions, testimonies for further exhibitions. What they are telling us is common knowledge beyond the hill, acrss the checkpoints, in every shattered Palestinian kindergarten. They are doing it because they still believe in some sort of Israeli justice.”

Before Rafah: Israeli militarism

Yitzhak Laor, 3 June 2004

“José Saramago, visiting Israel in March 2002, before the invasion in which Israel reoccupied the territories, said that Israel had two problems. The first, he said, is that the settlements need the army. Everyone agreed. The second is that the army needs the settlements. Nobody agreed. Nobody even listened. Yet General Ya’alon knows that without the settlements he would have no excuse for patrolling the Gaza strip. Do Israelis understand the military’s motives? No. Many Israelis, probably the majority, would gladly turn their backs on the settlers. Not on the military, though.”

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