But this week, speaking at the 2015 Herzliya Conference — a prestigious gathering that has become a centerpiece of Israel’s political calendar — Rivlin may have made his boldest move yet: He told the uncomfortable truth about the country of which he is president. He told its people that the country many of them think they live in does not exist.To read President Rivlin's speech in full see President Reuven Rivlin Address to the 15th Annual Herzliya Conference.
Israel, Rivlin said, is fast becoming a tribal state composed of four groups — secular Jews, religious Zionist Jews (also called national religious), ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews and Arabs, all of them fearful, hostile to one another and even to members of their own group. “Today, the first grade classes are composed of about 38 percent secular Jews, about 15 percent national religious, about one quarter Arabs, and close to a quarter Haredim,” Rivlin noted. He said the demographic processes that these numbers represent have “created a ‘new Israeli order’ ... in which there is no longer a clear majority, nor clear minority groups” and consisting of “four principal ‘tribes,’ essentially different from each other, and growing closer in size. Whether we like it or not, the make-up of the ‘stakeholders’ of Israeli society, and of the State of Israel, is changing before our eyes.” (Asher Schechter, Reuven Rivlin has proven that he is president of the real Israel, Haaretz, June 9, 2015.)
So it would seem that the Israeli President describes Israeli society as being divided into four groups namely:
- Secular Jews
- National Religious Jews
- Ultra-Orthodox Jews
- Arab citizens
Israeli society is very complicated. And the COGs completely fail to see this when they dehumanize Israeli Jews by simplistically trying to fabricate yet more false prophecies out of the sufferings of Israeli Jews in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict while ignoring the sufferings of the Palestinians as unworthy of mention.
This categorization of Israeli society echoes how Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky described religious Israeli Jews in their book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (1999, 2004). They also made a distinction between ultra-Orthodox Jews and National Religious Jews. The latter were often called the Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) in Shahak and Mezvinsky's book.