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Red Rag column - in Israel it`s hard even to die with dignity
By: Gideon Spiro
10 February 2017

Even to die with dignity is hard in Israel

Again and again we read reports about the sad state of hospitals and nursing homes in Israel. Seniors in nursing homes, who did not choose their ailments and their suffering, are exposed to humiliation and violence, and live under poor hygienic conditions. Visitors are greeted by the smell of urine and excrement.

The Ministry of Health has a unit that is supposed to supervise these institutions, but it is neglecting its duty. Israel is a violent and racist state, and dependent seniors, some of them Holocaust survivors, are victims unable to defend themselves. The Jewish commandment to honour the face of the old man [1] should be a guiding principle for the Haredi Minister of Health, but cynicism has overcome Judaism, and old people in need of care are excluded from the commandment.

This is a manifestation of swinish and cruel capitalism, which consigns suffering old people to the low-income class, lacking economic means. This neglect of old people in need of assistance has been going on for years, and their cries are unheard. The state is also privatizing this domain, and the owners are doing well for themselves on the backs of the miserable. In view of this intolerable situation, the time has come to reconsider medically-assisted death for those who request it, in order to spare dependent seniors terrible suffering.

Democracy in its death-throes

Jennifer Gorovitz, a vice-president of the New Israel Fund, came to Israel in the context of her job, and was questioned at the airport for an hour and a half Israel Security Agency agents about the work of the Fund. She told her questioners that she is Jewish and Zionist, but that did not help. It reminds me of similar experiences I had at the crossing into East Germany, where I was delayed and questioned about my activities and views. Israeli democracy is weakening and on the path to expiry.

The expropriation law

The expropriation law, which confiscates for settlements land that belongs to Palestinians, is in the family of Nazi laws that were used to expropriate Jewish property. My family, from Germany, lost its property due to similar legislation. The government of Israel is an embodiment of the tendency for abused children to grow to up to be an abusive parents.


On 10 February 1983, Emil Grunzwieg was murdered in demonstration by the peace movement against the First Lebanon War. An evil hand of the messianic racist nationalist camp threw a grenade towards the demonstrators, which cut down the man of peace, Emil. I knew Emil from joint activities with the Yesh Gvul movement, and it was but natural that at the end of the demonstration I met him and we exchanged impressions. Later I learned from his girlfriend, Ada, that my conversation with him was the last one he had before he was murdered.

The murder of Emil was step 1 in the plan of the messianic-racist right-wing camp, a multi-stage plan to eliminate prominent activists in the peace camp. The murder of Yitzhak Rabin, who was considered by them to be a man of peace, was step 2. Step 3 still awaits us.

To judge by the threats that peace activists are receiving in the social media, stage 3 will be much more lethal.

Translators note

1. Leviticus 19:32

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
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