What would have happened if Israel had lost in 1967? That's what "Tobi the German" asked former IDF pilot turned "boycott and disinvest" activist Jonathan Shapira. You won't believe his answer!
A Jewish pilot with a mission: Catch the Jews!
The Following is an excerpt from "Catch The Jew!" by Tuvia Tenenbom
I HAVE BEEN WALKING HOURS ON END, ALMOST EVERY DAY SINCE I ARRIVED in this country, going where the people are and trying to reconnect with the land I left so long ago. Perhaps it’s time I sit down and have people come to me, just like a native. I choose to do this in Tel Aviv, the cultural center of Israel.
Right by Rabin Square in the center of Tel Aviv there is a bookstore-slash-coffee shop called Tolaat Sfarim (Book Worm). I take a table, order boiling “opposite coffee” (café latte), and get ready to meet some Jews.
I start the day with Jonathan Shapira, the hero of the 10% – What Makes a Hero film I saw at the Cinematheque. Jonathan is also the brother of Itamar (of Lifta and Yad Vashem), and I hope he’ll enlighten me today.
“I was the model Zionist kid, he who read aloud names of the fallen in Israel’s wars or of those who died in the Holocaust. My dream was to be in the Air Force, just like all the good kids of Israel. I finished my army training and became a pilot in 1993, and luckily I was in a rescue helicopter squadron. I risked my life to bring injured soldiers to hospitals. I felt I was doing a clean and good job.”
These days Jonathan is no longer an Israeli army pilot. “Now I’m working occasionally in the USA, as a helicopter pilot on special flights for post-storm clean-up. I wish I could do the same thing here, in Israel, but here they wouldn’t give me such a job.”
Jonathan has an MA in conflict resolution, a degree he earned at a university in Austria. For a second I entertain the thought of talking to him about Tyrol, but immediately give it up. Talking about Tyrol in a bookstore somehow doesn’t look right.
I look at his figure and wonder how he’d look in Lederhosen, but I don’t think he’d go to the Western Wall. The man has changed. How did a man who risked his life for the Zionist cause turn into an Austrian conflict resolution person?
“I still risk my life here, but on the side of the oppressed and not of the oppressors.”
Jonathan uses harsh words when talking about Israel: “Everything I was taught was based on deception and self-deception.”
What made you change? What was the critical moment that turned you around?
Jonathan speaks softly, quietly, in measured tones and with comforting warmth. His change took place, go figure, during a peace initiative geared to spread love between Arab and Jew, when this Jew started to hate other Jews.
The initiative, taking place at the peace-chasing Arab-Jewish village of Neve Shalom, featured a Palestinian man talking about his sister being paralyzed from the neck downward, victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Deeply touched by this man’s speech, Jonathan started to reevaluate everything he had believed in. Up to that moment, he tells me cynically, he was like the average leftist, “shooting and crying,” holding a gun in his hand while talking peace with his mouth, but at that moment he changed.
How a story of a paralyzed Palestinian girl could touch him so deeply, he who has flown many Jews to hospitals with severed limbs or lifeless, is not clear to me. But according to him, the notion of his army causing that Palestinian’s injuries “drove me crazy.”
If luck had had it that the Palestinians had won the war, how do you think they would have treated your children? Jonathan doesn’t like this question and immediately goes on the offensive: “This is a classic right-wing argument!”
I tell him that this is not an answer. Does he have a better one?
Well, he goes on at length talking to me about history this and history that. Not good enough for me, and I try to bring him to the present, to be pragmatic with me.
What would have happened if Israel had lost in 1967? How do you think the Arabs would have treated the Jews?
“I have no idea.”
What do you imagine would have happened?
“I don’t know.”
Of course he knows. He has seen many enlightening samples from his cockpit.
"Catch The Jew!" by Tuvia Tenenbom is an an undercover investigative report on the international agenda to find fault with Jews and Israel and to poke fun at Israelis as well while he's at it!. To read the rest of Tuvia Tenenbom's interview with Israel's most lovable post-Zionist and to order "Catch the Jew!" click here.