Friday, July 24, 2009

In praise of Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy of Ha'aretz is widely admired outside Israel for his championing of Palestinian rights, but dismissed within most of Israel as too politically rigid to take seriously. He is entirely predictable on anything to do with the Palestinians - and far, far, far to the left of most Israelis, making him almost irrelevant to a domestic audience (those that don't hate him, that is).

So here is a word in his favour.

Today, he has published an extraordinary article calling for more understanding of, and tolerance for, the Charedim by the secular majority.

This is the second time he has come out with this line, the first being a few weeks ago, when a group of secular residents objected to Charedim moving into the tony Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv.

And this, in some senses, is a far braver stand than the one he takes with the Palestinians. At least when he stands up for the Palestinians, he knows he has the support of many of his leftist friends, and wide support from overseas. Defending and sympathising with the Charedim is far more unusual in his circles - he really is a lone voice here, and many of those who applaud his stand on the Palestinians will probably hate what he has to say on the Charedim.

It is good to see that he stands up for the truth, as he sees it, wherever it lands him on the political spectrum. An example for us all.

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