Profile of an Israeli Hero

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Ben Cohen
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A fascinating piece in the Independent on the fearless reporter Gideon Levy:

Gideon Levy is the most hated man in Israel – and perhaps the most heroic. This “good Tel Aviv boy” – a sober, serious child of the Jewish state – has been shot at repeatedly by the Israeli Defence Force, been threatened with being “beaten to a pulp” on the country’s streets, and faced demands from government ministers that he be tightly monitored as “a security risk.” This is because he has done something very simple, and something that almost no other Israeli has done. Nearly every week for three decades, he has travelled to the Occupied Territories and described what he sees, plainly and without propaganda. “My modest mission,” he says, “is to prevent a situation in which many Israelis will be able to say, ‘We didn’t know.’” And for that, many people want him silenced.

People like Levy are a rarity in advanced western societies - they chip away at the myth of civility and hold a mirror up to the horrors our so called 'enlightened' societies commit on a daily basis.

Americans do not want to hear about the many atrocities they committed against Native Americans, and the British do not want to hear about the murderous impact of their sprawling empire. Israelis are no different, and would prefer to ignore the plight of the Palestinians whose land they stole and continue to occupy.

A quick reminder of what happens to Palestinians on a daily basis:

He reported that day on a killing, another of the hundreds he has documented over the years. As twenty little children pulled up in their school bus at the Indira Gandhi kindergarten, their 20 year-old teacher, Najawa Khalif, waved to them – and an Israel shell hit her and she was blasted to pieces in front of them. He arrived a day later, to find the shaking children drawing pictures of the chunks of her corpse. The children were “astonished to see a Jew without weapons. All they had ever seen were soldiers and settlers.”