Thursday, March 24, 2005

Putting Harry in perspective

Just a couple of months ago, the Jewish world threw up its arms in horror at pictures of Prince Harry dressed up as a Nazi soldier for a costume party.
It's hard to maintain righteous indignation, however, when Israeli teenagers have been captured on film arriving to Purim parties dressed up as concentration camp inmates and as suicide bombers. And while you may argue that they are still several years younger than Harry is, and so perhaps even more immature, you certainly cannot argue like you might have done for Harry, that
"[T]he kids didn't understand what they were doing," another youngster at the party said. "They obviously don't know much about the Holocaust, not like me, who did lose relatives; it was very sad."
Sorry, but I don't think it's possible to grow up in today's Israel, with Yom Hashoah, etc., 'not knowing much about the Holocaust.' Even more so the trauma and pain suicide bombers caused the entire Israeli society, which is still raw.
On the surface, what this shows is that silly, insensitive and ignorant behavior is the province of youngesters everywhere. On a deeper level, perhaps it also reflects a certain amount of desensitization in Israeli society, both to terror -- which is simply too hard to deal with so people switch off -- and the Holocaust -- discussion of which has perhaps become mundane. The real question in my mind is, where were these kids' parents? How on earth did they let their children out of the house dressed as suicide bombers and concentration camp inmates? At least they should know better.

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