“The People Doth Protest Too Much!” Edition

Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Times of Israel Ops & Blogs Editor Miriam Herschlag, wunderkind critic Ohad Zeltzer-Zubida and Noah Efron discuss three topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week.

The People Doth Protest Too Much!
In confining demonstrations to 1,000 meters from each protestor’s home, did the government just do permanent damage to Israeli democracy?

Distant, Yes, But Is It Learning?
A study shows distance-learning is a complete failure for Israel’s kids. Now what?

Poets & Politicians
Can poetry change politics?

Oh Gila, Gila Gamliel…
For our most unreasonably generous Patreon supporters, in our extra-special, special extra discussion, we consider whether Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel ought to be fired, after she got Covid after breaking the rules and going to shul on Yom Kippur hundreds of kilometers from her home, and then tried to cover it up.

All that and songs from the brand new EP by Jazz and Sabbo!


  • Or Remix
  • Yesh Li
  • Ha-Meha’ah ha-Zo
  • Ein Li Klum

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2 comments on ““The People Doth Protest Too Much!” Edition

  1. Itamar says:

    Though I am never one to comment on podcasts, I have to say that I found your memorial of Miriam Levinger, a ratical settler, very disturbing. I thought that this podcast was supposed to discuss Israeli affairs from a leftist perspective. However, you dedicated a substantial portion of this week’s podcast to memorializing the death of Mrs. Levinger, a fanatic right-wing extremist whose life work has resulted in the existence of one of the most expensive and problematic settlements in the entirety of the West Bank. There is no other way to describe Miriam Levinger and her husband Moshe. They are religiously driven zealots, the kind of people who refuse to see the humanity of Palestinians and their rights to land and peaceful existence because of what they perceive to be a commandment from G-d to settle the land. As leftists, we should never do anything but plainly and powerfully criticize and oppose these kind of reactionary forces. I understand that Miriam Levinger was a personally generous and kind person to the (mostly Jewish) people she had contact with in her life. But that personal merit is far outweighed by the role she had, both physically and symbolically, in greatly expanding the settler enterprise which directly threatens the existence of the relatively few Palestinians who remain living on their ancestral homeland, not to mention the prospect of peace. I know you yourself are religious Noah, and I respect that, but I hope that your connection to Judaism does not cloud your judgement in viewing the material reality of what is occurring in Israel and the role the Levingers have had in it. A person like Miriam Levinger does not deserve respect from leftists who believe in true liberation for all and the end of the occupation.

    1. Noah Efron says:

      I know what you mean about the legacy of the Levingers. In my case, I cannot even say that she was “a personally generous and kind person” (as you wrote), because the one time I met her, she was not nice or kind or generous at all. She treated me (and all the other soldiers who were guarding Beit Hadassah around the clock in the chill of February) as though I was her servant. And I don’t think I romanticise Miriam Levinger because I am religious (I am, in any case, religious in a very different sense, I think, than she was).

      There are a few reasons I find the story of Miriam Levinger so arresting. First, I think when she said that she was like the old pioneers (as Hanan Porat did, and many other early Gush Emunim people), she was not entirely wrong, and this is a fact that I’ve been trying to make sense of, and think that people on the left need to make sense of. It is not coincidence that folks like Alterman and Tabenkin were such avid supporters of settling the occupied territories in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Relatedly, I find arresting Miriam Levinger’s commitment to what she believed. The image of her throwing her baby up to a kid at the top of a wall, it’s so odd and powerful and shocking. Also, I find arresting how Miriam Levinger brings together a great conservatism about gender, with what is actually a pretty radical feminism.

      If you listen again to what I said, I think you’ll find that I actually said nothing admiring about her politics, or about anything else, actually. Though I admit that among the many complicated and conflicting feelings I feel towards that woman, one of them *is* respect. About that, I guess I disagree with you that leftists should hold no respect for anyone whom they think bear some responsibility for the miseries of millions of Palestinians. As someone who himself bears some responsibility for the miseries of millions of Palestinians (it was I who was guarding Beit Hadassah on that cold February, and a dozen other months besides), I don’t feel like I have the moral standing to say that someone like Miriam Levinger deserves only scorn, and no respect.

      Thanks for writing, Itamar. I mean, thank you for taking us seriously enough to write when you think we (well, I, in any case, as Miriam hated what I said about Levinger, too) made a terrible moral miscalculation. What an act of kindness and, yes, respect, that is. I am grateful.

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