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A Pogrom in Huwara

The following is a transcript of Episode 68 of the For Heaven’s Sake Podcast. Note: This is a lightly edited transcript of a conversation, please excuse any errors. 

Donniel: Hi, my name is Donniel Hartman, and I’m the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and this is For Heaven’s Sake, a podcast from the Hartman Institute’s iEngage Project. Major support for For Heaven’s Sake comes from the Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation. Our theme for today is glimpsing at the abyss. 

In each episode of For Heaven’s Sake, Yossi Klein Halevi, senior Research Fellow at the Institute here in Jerusalem and myself discuss a current issue central to Israel in the Jewish world. And then Elana Stein, head of the Beit Midrash of Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and senior fellow, explores with us how classical Jewish sources can enrich our understanding of the issue.

What happened in the Palestinian town of Huwara this week was a twofold atrocity. First, the murder of two innocent Jews, young brothers who were driving from their home to the settlement of Har Bracha. The second was the mass retaliation by Jews against innocent Palestinians. Dozens of homes burned, dozens injured, and one dead. Terrorism on the one hand, pogrom on the other. 

The events in Huwara are a glimpse into the moral abyss. What does this tell us about where we’re headed in the territories? What does it tell us about the growing feelings among Israelis that we are losing control on multiple fronts? Are we heading into accelerating chaos? And if so, how do we who are caught in its scripts, respond? As we’re getting closer to Israel’s 75th birthday, I hope to talk about other things, but this is our reality. How do we think about it? 

Yossi, what’s your first response to this chaos that we’re experiencing?

Yossi: Well, the first response is to grieve for the Israelis who’ve been murdered. The numbers are growing. The atrocities are accumulating. I’m speaking to you at the moment from Connecticut. I’m visiting my in-laws here with my wife. And yesterday a Jewish boy from Connecticut who volunteered for the IDF, became an Israeli, Elan Ganeles was murdered.

Donniel: He’s the brother of a Hevruta alum. 

Yossi: Oh, really? So it’s all so close. It’s so unbearably intimate. And so that’s the first response. The second parallel response is shame, horror, outrage at what can only be called a pogrom, a Jewish pogrom. And ordinarily, I’m very wary of borrowing terminology from Jewish history to apply to this conflict.

In this case, I think what we’ve seen is the first example, well, in thousands of years of an organized mass Jewish pogrom. Dozens of homes set on fire with families inside. They were saved by the IDF. Dozens of injuries. A Palestinian murdered.

And we’ve never seen anything like the dimensions of this attack before. There have been Jewish retaliations, but nothing like this. And the question is, why? Why, why suddenly now? And I think we know the answer to that. When you appoint Ben Gvir, who is one of them, was one of the pogromists in the past, you appoint him in charge of the police. You appoint Smotritch, who is an ideological bedfellow of the pogromists, who liked a tweet that called for erasing Huwara from the face of the earth.

And then he suddenly was reminded, obviously, by one of his advisors that, you know, you’re now the finance minister and you’re not supposed to sound that way. So he erased his like. But this is what we’re dealing with. The pogromists have support, emotional ideological support, within the Israeli government. This is unprecedented. And so of course the brazenness is only going to grow. 

And you know, Donniel, for me, I’m not sure what I feel greater shame about: the pogrom itself or the aftermath of the pogrom. So far, and I hope this will change in the coming days, so far, everyone who’s been arrested has been released. No one is sitting in jail. Do we expect Ben Gvir to order the police to round up his friends? 

And so what we’re really looking at is the result of an alliance with elements that until now have been untouchable in Israeli politics and ultimately the blame goes to Prime Minister Netanyahu, even though I know that this is not what he wants. And he made that clear, it took him a little while, but he did eventually denounce the violence. He doesn’t want this. But he’s responsible for this.

Donniel: You know, it’s interesting, for much of my life, Yossi, I’ve been to the left of you. But this is not a left-right-wing conversation. 

Yossi: No, it’s really not. It’s really not.

Donniel: And it’s like, unfortunately, today, your opinions, it’s left or right. And this isn’t. But I don’t share your sentiment that Ben Gvir or Smotrich, both of whom by the way, condemned it. Time,

Okay, I’m not count, I don’t have a stopwatch. The end there on record saying that this is not what we should do. I actually don’t, I don’t feel that they’re responsible for this. 

I can understand the argument. It’s not that overnight people became immoral. There’s something going on. There is a group of people, a small group within the settler movement who abide by these type of absolute immoral and they’ve been tolerated for a very long time, not by this government. They’ve been tolerated for years, for years by Labor, everybody. It’s like there’s this extreme group, and I don’t know if Israel knows how to respond to them. It’s almost as if we don’t believe.

But there’s a group that’s been tolerated and I don’t wanna make an association between their response anymore than the minute the first terror attack that took place under the Bennett government or under a left, it’s your fault. So I, I don’t feel as comfortable with that. But see, cause there’s another side that I wanna put on the table and I think it’s, you know, the term cheshbon nefesh, you used it, I think. It’s, uh, there’s an accounting. An accounting has to be made. 

But what’s the issue at hand? You know, I wanna put myself in the hands of the people who live in Har Bracha or Itamar or who live anywhere in Samaria. They have been raised for decades, and these young men, this is their whole life. That this is Israel and that you are the same as Tel Aviv. The status quo, which is so-called, um, we’re not resolving it, in fact, if you live in Judea and Samaria, and let’s be real, Israel, in fact, whether they’ve done it or not, has culturally enacted Judea and Samaria. They have. 

Negotiations aren’t on the table. Nobody’s talking about limiting. The only question is, where do you limit a settlement, here or there? And a whole generation of people have grown up saying, yes, you’re part of Israel. Okay, we haven’t resolved it. We haven’t is, but in fact, that’s their experience. I’m like Tel Aviv, I’m like Jerusalem. I’m like Haifa. More than that, I am the embodiment, if you’re a religious Zionist, of Zionist values, I’m at the front line of Zionism and even protecting Israel. 

Now, if that’s your attitude, do you know how many terrorist attacks and dangers everybody who lives in Samaria has to undergo on an ongoing basis? I’ve driven on Route 60, you have, Elana, I don’t know if you have, every time, it’s a cra, it’s a crazy road. Every time, it’s finished, I don’t even know if, because just from traffic. And the fact that traffic or speed laws aren’t maintained. Do you know what it’s like for somebody to have to go through Huwara to get anywhere? 

It’s like there’s a sense, there’s a dissonance between language that we have adopted unofficially, but we’ve adopted it and the fact that, it’s crazy, how am I, am I not allowed to go home? Do I have to go through, like, if you wanna treat me like Tel Aviv, treat me like Tel Aviv. If I’m not Tel Aviv, then we have to start talking differently. But this group of people, I’m, I’m not talking about the immoral gang, which I’m unleashed a pogrom. 

And it’s so interesting the parents, if you heard the parents and the grandparents, they’re, that’s not who they are. But there’s something, there’s an abyss that we thought we could dance above. But the fact is that we are living in a reality in which all of Israel, at least, especially those who live in Judea and Samaria say, yes, I’m Israel. And the Israeli government says, yes, you’re Israel. You’re Israel. No different, and you’re great. And at the same time, they have to live in a reality that nobody in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv would ever tolerate. Would ever tolerate.

Yossi: Donniel, I think that one of the really interesting aspects of the dynamic between us is how we occasionally switch roles. And I’m about, I’m about to, to pull a Donniel on you here, and that is I agree.

Donniel: Just one second, Yossi, uh, Yossi, now I’m really nervous. Because I have no idea what you’re gonna do. Oh my God. Uh oh.

Yossi: So Donniel, I agree with every word you say. I think it’s a terrific analysis. It’s an original analysis. My problem is only with one thing, timing. The morning after the worst pogrom maybe in Jewish history that we’ve inflicted on others, I’m not there. I’m not in a place where I’m ready to understand the rage of the people who did this. Or the people who are prepared. 

Donniel: No, Yossi I have to stop you. Because I wasn’t understanding the rage of the people. I wasn’t talking about the people who did it. I’m talking about, there’s a context.

Yossi: I know. I know, but okay. But the problem is the context in this case. And, and you know, you said Smotritch and Ben Gvir condemned. They condemned, but first they said, we understand the rage. And as soon as, as soon as you go there, as soon as you start to understand the rage in this particular, of course I understand the rage against the murder of Jews, but not in this context. This is not the moment to be talking about understanding what the settlers go through. It’s not the moment. We have terrorism across the Green Line. We have terrorism in Ra’anana, in Jerusalem, and this is, and I can’t go to that place of saying, well, you know,

Donniel: I appreciate that, Yossi, I appreciate it. So let me try, see cause I wasn’t, I know people will say that’s what I was doing, but that’s not what I was trying to do. So, but I don’t get to decide what I was trying to do. The listener gets to decide what I was trying to do. 

I wasn’t trying to say it’s terrible, but. That’s not what I was trying to say. It’s terrible, it’s wrong, but I could under, no. I was trying to see what is this abyss that we have created right now. You know, so I could say that there is this moment that we have to look at, and then you connect it to Ben Gvir and Smotritch, et cetera. 

No, I think over the last decade or more, a group of terrorists has been allowed to grow within the settler movement. It’s a very small group, but it’s there and that group is feeding on a very legitimate sense of injustice, not fear, injustice, on the part of Israeli society. And I wanna tell you, there’s something I don’t know, is this, am I allowed to say this? There’s something screwy, there’s something wrong. You have your population and you tell them, yes, you’re great, you’re wonderful, you’re protecting Israel. We love you. You’re the best Zionist of everybody. But in fact, Judea and Samaria is not the same as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It’s not. And with all that’s been done and all the settlements that have been created, there is a level of danger that normal, mainstream Israeli citizens. 

And let’s remember, the settlers are citizens. The vast majority of them, they’re not even settlers. Some of them are, they’re citizens who are living there. For half ideological, half economic reasons. I don’t even know what this group, we call them settlers as if there’s some group, they’re not, they’re citizens of Israel who on the one hand, we say you’re citizens and on the other hand, we’ve created this, we’ve allowed this myth that this is the same as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and I don’t think it is. It’s not. 

Because the difference is, is that 3 million Palestinians live there and we have put them on, we’ve put their reality on hold, and then you put their reality on hold and your reality, and then at the end you get a Huwara. Because at the end, as you said, there is a group of people with all the power in the world, and the army was there and this mass army couldn’t stop them? They couldn’t. 

Yossi: Okay, so you now, I hear you, and I think that’s an important clarification, but I have a problem with speaking about a tiny minority of violent settlers. And I’ve used that terminology for years, and something changed for me with this pogrom. 400 rioters, through the night, no one stopped them. The next morning they were still there with the light of day, shamelessly, fearlessly. 

And the fact again, that they’re not sitting in jail. There isn’t a mass, a mass arrest on the hilltops of Samaria. The fact that we’re not hearing a massive outcry from the settler leadership, from normative settlers, and I agree with you, they’re normative Israeli citizens, but they are implicated in this because it’s being done in their name.

And the fact that we’re not seeing this outbreak of shame among all of these good normative Israelis who are called settlers, to my mind, begins to blur the lines.

Donniel: Gotcha, you know. I think, I’m dying to say something meaningful about this, but I wanna stop for, cause I, I, I appreciate very much. But before, Elana, before we get to the Torah study at the end, you’re like Yossi this time, from the other side watching. Where is your gut? And we’ll come back to you later on the Torah issue.

Elana: Yeah, so I want to say three things. One is, the boy who was killed yesterday, Elan, was a member of the Columbia-Barnard Hillel community, where my spouse is campus rabbi. And so it hit very close to home in a different kind of way. And I will say what I say every time a terror attack happens in Israel, which is there’s a degree of complete helplessness and just looking at the resilience of the Israeli people and amazed and just wanting to, just wanting to give you all a big hug for whatever that is worth. And I know you all are, as you said to me, the sickness is that you’re used to it, but it’s really just a sick sick thing. So that’s the first. 

The second is, I think the hardest part of looking at the footage of what was going on in Huwara when Jews decided to riot and attack is that they stopped to pray evening services.And I saw that, I saw that still shot, which is appearing in the news as a still shot of people watching the flames. But when you see the video, they’re, what I would say is called davening maariv. They’re praying because you gotta pray three times a day. 

Now I pray three times a day and I say those same words and I can’t imagine of a greater desecration to the memory of those two brothers who were murdered to the memory of now Elan, to the memory of those two boys who were killed, those two little sweet boys who were killed a few weeks ago. And to religion. I, I can’t imagine a greater desecration. So that’s the second. 

And the third is how is it possible that nobody is sitting in jail right now for this? That is a systemic problem that we are looking at. That is not a small group of people, that is a criminal justice system that refuses to prosecute this kind of thing. That is what I’m worried about.

Yossi: Ben Gvir is in charge of the police. 

Donniel: No he isn’t. 

Yossi: You know, 

Donniel: Yossi, it’s not true. 

Yossi: What do you mean it’s not true?

Donniel: Do you think that Ben Gvir is the reason why nobody’s in jail? I’m sorry. It’s not true. First of all, Judea and Samaria, it’s not the police, it’s the army. They’re not the ones in charge of, of the criminal investigation, and Ben Gvir doesn’t control the criminal investigation, but I agree. In other words, what, there’s something going wrong. This is, you know, where I disagree with you, Yossi more, not Elana, I share much more. 

What I disagree with is I think the problem is much worse than you wanna present it. You wanna, you want, you found someone to blame?

Yossi: No, I blame, I blame Netanyahu in the end. 

Donniel: No, it’s not Netanyahu either.

Yossi: All right. All right. So you, oh, yes, I get it. Okay. So you’re blaming the, it’s systemic and it’s historic. It’s the situation I, yes, I agree with you.

Donniel: No, there’s something, I actually wanna connect what you agree with now with my remarks initially, because they’re all connected, because there’s a reality going on in Judea and Samaria that’s insane. And it involves abuses of power on a regular basis on the parts of certain Jews. And it involves abuses of power on the part of the army. And we are pretending as if, it’s not the Wild West. This is Tel Aviv. 

And when this happens, it’s like, okay, cause if Tel Aviv, if they would’ve done this in Tel Aviv, you know, they’ll demonstrate the, in other words, we are lacking the proper categories. We’re fantasizing about this reality. And in that fantasy, we don’t know what to do with these kids. You’re absolutely right, Elana and Yossi. It is a travesty that they’re not in jail. It’s a travesty that the army who could move into Jenine in the middle of the daytime, could control armed Palestinian terrorists from intervening, they could isolate an area, and we couldn’t control a whole night, a group of a hundred, mostly teenagers from setting fire and terrorizing a whole town? Come on, there’s something wrong. 

We called this, you know, the abyss. This is the abyss. The abyss is, is that we’re pretending that the whole thing here is not corrupt it is. It’s corrupt. And when you allow a corrupt reality, this is what you get. It’s not Netanyahu, it’s not Ben Gvir, it’s not Smotritch. It’s Israeli society, which has for decades tolerated a completely abnormal, abusive, corrupt, immoral reality. And that’s what you get. Because at the end, do you know how Israelis are gonna look at it?

It’s still, you know, it’s Jews and at the end of the day, who are they? These are the Palestinians. Ah, they’re all terrorists. It’s like, that’s the conversation. If we’re gonna do a soul searching, I think we have to avoid the blaming. And it’s on all of us. It’s on all of us. We’ve allowed an untenable reality to go on too far.

Yossi: Okay. Be careful though, with the, it’s on all of us, because if, when it’s on all of us, it’s on, ultimately it’s on none of us. It just becomes the situation itself. 

Donniel: Okay, fair enough. Fair enough. 

Yossi: So there are, for this particular event, there are specific addresses. And the question I think that you are implicitly raising is whether Hurawa is a one-off, or whether it is an extreme symptom of a much deeper malaise. And that’s a very important question. And even as we ask that question, I don’t want to lose the sense of horror at this particular moment. I think we just need to pause for a moment before we transition and we, we will necessarily transition to the wider implications. But let’s linger for a moment.

Something, something inconceivable has happened to the Jewish people in the last few days, and I just need, I need to own that. I need, I need to stand in that, in that shame.

Donniel: Yossi, I appreciate that. You know what, what it is? Maybe I’m not shocked by Hurawa. I’m not shocked because I believe that many pogroms have been going on for years, for years, that the Palestinian people living in Judea and Samaria, just like the settlers and I, I’m not compar, doesn’t, there is a terrorizing, a systemic legalized terrorizing reality that has been allowed to exist. 

The truth is, I’m not as, I’m not as shocked by it. This has been going on. We gotta talk much more like this. This is, we haven’t reached an abyss. We are in an abyss. For years, And then these things come along and just remind us of it, of the impossible reality that we’ve created. We’ve put Jews in an area and said that you’re at home when in fact they’re surrounded by 3 million people, and we’re not going to be able to protect them. They have to go through roads. There are 3 million people who, in order to protect the Jews, have to be subjected to impossible conditions. When they meet each other, the Jews are allowed to do things that Palestinians would never be allowed to do. They have weapons that the Palestinians don’t have. And so what do you expect? 

So I’m not as shocked. I share the condemnation. I just think there’s something, something fundamentally wrong with the whole reality in Judea and Samaria.

Yossi: Yeah, it’s interesting. I don’t think we’ve experienced anything near the dimensions of this pogrom. We’ve certainly seen abuses, horrors, that small groups of extreme settlers have inflicted on their neighbors. But something changed here. And again, I think it’s, first of all, the numbers that were involved, we’re talking about hundreds. And the fact that it happened through the night. We’ve never seen this level of destruction for this prolonged amount of time. And yes, you know, you are right. This has been percolating for years. This doesn’t come from the void. This has been accumulating. But when a horror emerges in full flower, I think it needs to be acknowledged.

Donniel: I appreciate that, Yossi. I appreciate it and I accept that. I agree, going back to something that both you and Elana said, the worst thing right now is that nobody’s in jail. Nobody’s in jail. We have an ability to pick out a single terrorist from a floor in a building in Jenine. But I wanna tell you, we have been tolerating lesser forms of this behavior. How many people who’ve been beating up Palestinians and.

Yossi: Absolutely right. Absolutely right.

Donniel: This has been going on, and where are they in jail? They’re not in jail. It’s not happening. There is a breakdown of the legal system, a breakdown of justice. The difference now is that the current government, I don’t think they caused it, I think the current government is actually a reflection of the decay that’s been going on for quite a while, and now, it’s a mirror. 

Yossi: Here, you’re right. Here, here, I feel the need to own up to an al chet, a confession of sin, which I think most of Israeli society has been guilty of, which is well, okay, there’ve been isolated abuses, they’ve been small attacks. A few Hilltop youth uprooting olive trees from their neighbors or, or, or beating a Palestinian farmer. And it has taken this moment to clarify an endemic situation, and I think in that sense, I really appreciate what you’re saying.

Donniel: And the challenge is, when you don’t have a government which says, let’s learn from this, what’s gonna happen is it’s gonna get worse. When something happens and you say this is an aberration, even if you critique it, then it’s just gonna happen again and again. And this is, you know, let’s uplift our conversation by learning. Let’s take a short break and then Elana, I wanna turn to you again.

Elana, help us out a bit.

Elana: You know, I gotta tell you, one of the things that I think is very hard about being far away is, I don’t know what to say. Because you can’t mourn the people who were killed on the Jewish side without saying something about Hurawa in terms of the riot or the pogrom, what have you. And you can’t say something about the pogrom saying something about mourning. 

And everybody just sort of thinks you’re mealy-mouthed. But I gotta be honest, the Torah that I have to bring today is that, it’s both of these. There’s this incredible exchange of letters from 1957 between Professor Nechama Leibowitz, you know, noted Bible scholar whose, you know, reading of the weekly Torah portion, her understanding and her commentary and her questions that she sent out and her work on the radio really made bible study a cultural conversation in Israel between her and Professor Hugo Bergmann. And he was the first director of the National Library of Israel before Israel was a nation in 1935. 

And he was a philosopher and, a philosopher of faith and reason, and he read a commentary of hers, actually, no, I think he heard it on the radio. He heard her on the radio, on the Torah portion where Jacob and Esau get back together and you know, the Bible says, Jacob and Esau when they get back together, these two brothers, one stole the other one’s birthright. The other one wants to murder him. They get back together after a long time of being separated, and it’s a beautiful verse, they hug, Esau runs towards Jacob and it’s beautiful and it’s amazing. 

And in Professor Lebovitz’s commentary, she talks about how we should always be aware that the conflict between Jacob and Esau, between Yakov and Esav, it’s a paradigm for generations. And Bergmann hears this and writes her a letter. I’m not gonna read obviously their whole exchange. I’m gonna take out little parts. 

He writes to her, I feel obligated to tell you: How much pain you caused me through your commentary on the narrative of the meeting of Yakov and Esav. I was shocked to read, “for everything that happened to our ancestor with Esav of will always happen to us, with the children of Esav.” Do you understand that you are sowing hatred for humanity in the hearts of the learners and the listeners? Even if based on our history it’s possible to understand this narrow-hearted approach of the commentators, is it permissible to continue this terrible anti-human tradition once we have a state? Is this how we will transform the beginning of the redemption to a full redemption? 

So he’s basically saying to her, listen, I know that there’s a conflict between Yaakov and Esav, but the way you read that conflict when we have a sovereign state is very impactful and very important. And the way you’re reading it continues to create a wall and to sow animosity that we are Jacob and our enemies are Esau and we should hate them forever and they’ll hate us forever in every generation, forever. So he basically says to her, this is not the right commentary in this time. 

And she writes back, I was amazed when I read your words. That my words were so hatred for humanity who was created in the divine image? That would never have crossed my mind. I don’t think that if we mention that our position was and still is today, the position of a lamb among 70 wolves, and I don’t know what having a state has changed about this condition, that we are sowing hatred? As a teacher and an educator, I don’t wish to erase from the hearts of our students all that has befallen us. Not the Crusades or Spain or the Cossack massacre and certainly not the Holocaust of our own time. And you will agree with me that to teach love of humanity, qua humanity with a hope that in the end of days, we will all be together. You don’t have to do that by hiding what they did to us and erasing it. 

So she says to him, don’t be naive. Don’t be naive. Just because we have a state doesn’t mean we’re not in danger. It doesn’t mean people don’t still wanna hurt us and we can’t forget our history. So he says to her, you’re doing the wrong thing in the time of a sovereign state, to still see this paradigm of us versus them. She says to him, just because we have a sovereign state doesn’t mean there’s no them that wants to get us and we should be aware. 

And with this I’ll end. He writes back and he says, you may think that I’m naive about the nations, but I think you’re naive about what we are capable of. And this is the money shot. I feel all the danger lies in ambush for us through the self-justification with which we educate ourselves as though we would’ve been better than others, given that we are all made of crooked wood like all human beings. But they, they are simply wicked. This argument between the two of them, are you naive about what the nations of the world, what those who wish bad on the Jews? Are you naive that just because we have a state, you think those people don’t exist? Come on. And him saying to her, you’re naive, you don’t think that we and we have power, we can be just as bad as anyone else? They’re both right. They’re both right. 

And I feel them both in this moment acutely, and it’s absolutely mind-boggling. They’re having this conversation 70 years ago. And it’s the heart. It’s the heart of our conversation, so many weeks, the power and the vulnerability, and to be aware of what you might do with your power that may make you a little bit less chosen than you think you are.

Donniel: Maybe that’s also why it, it’s like it’s not ending. We’ve been at this abyss for a long time. We really have. That’s a beautiful, what a, what a dialogue, really.

Elana: I mean it’s unbelievable

Donniel: It is unbelievable. And like, what are we supposed to say? Is it, yes, but,

Elana: I just think, what’s remarkable is that they were talking to each other. And that they had a long-standing friendship after this. And that’s the struggle. Those are the conversations that have to be had. And among friends, not just among finger pointers, but among friends.

Donniel: Yeah. You know, I had a conversation just today, I meet with grade 12 students in the boys’ school and the girls’ school, and today, I was meeting with the boys’ school, and we were talking about issues of the Supreme Court and democracy and all these things. Then one of the kids says, could I change the subject? Could I just ask you? He said, what’s your position on Arab terrorism? 

Like, so I said, I’m against it. Like, like what was like, what exactly is your question? No, no, but like, but what he was looking for was as we talked over and over, and I knew his question was complicated, he says like, how do we deter this? What are the limits we’re supposed to use? How do we engage with some sense of moral aspiration in the midst of this reality? And it’s really tough. And this last week was an example of us not doing it very well, of actually failing at it completely, both within our society and within our judicial, and our executive. And let, the community, even our response.

Yossi, thoughts before we conclude?

Yossi: Yeah, Elana, you spoke so powerfully about this moment as desecration of God’s name, and this is the time for the mainstream settlement movement to expel the pogromists fom its midst. We are commanded to burn out the evil from our midst, u’bearta hara m’kirvecha. And we need to stop politicizing decency. This is not a matter, as you said, Donniel in the beginning, this is not a matter of left versus right, this is a matter of upholding the moral credibility of the Jewish story and this is the moment.

Donniel: Thank you, Yossi. You know, as I look back at this last 40 minutes or so, to our audience, feel the totality of what was said here or not. Anyway, my friends, it’s a pleasure being with you. 

For Heaven’s Sake is a product of the Shalom Hartman Institute. It was produced by David Zvi Kalman with support from Michal Taylor. It was edited by Gareth Hobbs at Silver Sound NYC. Our production manager is M. Louis Gordon. Maital Friedman is our vice president of communications and creative, and our music was provided by Socalled. 

Funding and thanks for For Heaven’s Sake is provided by the Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation of Los Angeles because of our shared commitment to strengthen the connection between Jews in North America and Israel. Transcripts of our show are now available on our website, typically a week after an episode airs. To find them and to learn more about the Shalom Hartman Institute, visit us online at We wanna know what you think about the show. You can rate us and review us on iTunes to help more people discover the show. You can also write to us at for [email protected]. Subscribe to our show everywhere else podcasts are available. See you in two weeks. There could be a tikkun in two weeks. And thank you all for listening.

You care about Israel, peoplehood, and vibrant, ethical Jewish communities. We do too.

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The End of Policy Substance in Israel Politics