Israeli evil wears many faces these days. There are the rude, the crude and the thuggish, who still manage to generate some heat: When MK Miri Regev goes off on one of her jingoist, gutter-talk rampages – “the ‘infiltrators’ are a cancer” – some people are still shocked. The same goes for her partner in base incitement, MK Danny Danon, known for spouting his own swinish pearls of wisdom, or Interior Minister Eli Yishai, no piker when it comes to bandying about inflammatory language about crime or about spreading disease.
That is what benighted elected officials look like. That is how, as children, we imagined the bad people: with horns, coarse language and the face of a monster. But there are also the pleasant, polished, eloquent politicians. Wrapped in shiny cellophane, their evil is even more despicable and diabolical, and it barely registers a protest.
Take, for example, MK Ofir Akunis. He comes across well, with his soft voice and obvious attention to his clothes and hair. On a celebrity suck-up television program aired last weekend, he looked like the guy you’d choose as your next-door neighbor. A devoted father, who even enjoys doing music shows on the radio. But the programs he plays in the Knesset are monstrous. Last week, for example, the cabinet approved a bill he is sponsoring that would impose a five-year prison term and a half-million shekel fine on anyone who dares to assist, shelter or employ migrants without authorization.
Few legislative initiatives in Israel can match this one in vileness. Few countries would dare to pass it. You aided some poor migrant, put him up for a night, gave him a lift (! )? Go directly to jail. Regev’s evil pales in comparison, Danon’s wickedness and his ultra-nationalism shrivel up into nothing. And we won’t say a word about the historical associations of such a law.
All is well in our tiny, pleasant land. Vans hunt down people according to the color of their skin, MKs are in competition to submit the most horrific bills, whose sole purpose is to placate the whipped-up, frightened masses, and on it goes. There is just one thought that should disturb this masked ball: What if we were in their place?