Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tommy Lapid's death brings out the truth

A Guest Post by Rafi G.
(cross posted from LII)

Tommy Lapid has died this morning. Yosef Tommy Lapid was a person whose obituary I was not going to write. I was not even going to mention it. People die all the time, and Lapid was no longer in the public eye (he was no longer in Knesset - he was director of Yad VaShem the past few years but has kept a low profile). You can get all the obits and eulogies in the regular news.

Lapid founded the Shinui party and his whole being was dedicated to fighting the Haredim and Haredi parties. People called him anti-semitic, but I never thought of him like that. I thought he was anti-Haredi and perhaps anti-religious (that was less clear), but not anti-semitic.

So why am I mentioning it?

Because the various Haredi Members of Knesset, and former MKs have all been speaking about Lapid today, on the radio, in the printed news, etc. Because Lapid was such a bitter opponent, and devoted all his energy in Knesset to fighting the Haredim, I was surprised to hear what I heard today. And don't think it was a one-way street. With all the name calling and mud slinging coming from lapid toward the Haredim, the Haredim gave back as good as they got.

I would have expected to hear them saying how he hurt Haredi Judaism, he damaged the stipends, hurt the yeshivas, he is no loss to anybody, etc.

I was surprised to hear them speak of him fondly and even praise him. Eichler explained he never knew anything about Judaism - the first time he had seen a pair of tefillin was when he was 17 when he was in the army, and he suspected the person donning them of being a spy using comm devices. He was a Holocaust Jew and all he knew about Judaism was the holocaust. He did not fight against the Haredim, but fought for secularism.

Aryeh Deri said Lapid was straight. He had other pleasant words to say abotu him as well.

Zvulun Orlev (NRP, not Haredi party) said Lapid, despite their differences in opinion, fought for democracy.

and more.

When it comes down to it, the battles between people and parties in Knesset are really just politics, and not personal. They each fought for what they believed in and they were on opposite sides of the battle.

But when it comes down to it, it was not personal. Each side respected the other, and saw the good in the other as well.

I wish we did not have to wait for a death to see that, but could see it while people are alive. A fight over ideaology does not need to become personal and destroy relations between people. People fighting for what they believe in can still respect each other in life, and not just after death.

No comments: