However, I did have a small issue with the lyrics:
High in the sky
a warrior eagle
in triumphant flight;
a wing blue,
the color of the sky;
a wing blue,
the color of the sea...
It is the flag of my homeland,
born from the sun, given to me by God;
it is the flag of my homeland,
born from the sun, given to me by God.
I was nine years old, and I already knew I was an atheist. The other children in my class didn't have the same problem. The overwhelming majority were Catholic; a boy and a girl, who were cousins, were Jewish; and another boy was Protestant: they all had a God to pray to. I didn't, and I particularly regretted that, as a proud son of the city were the Argentinian flag was created, I had to mention God in the song devoted to it. It was my first taste of religious coercion.
But at least I wasn't forced to sing that I belonged to any particular faith.
How difficult it must be for Israeli Arabs, who have to sing a national anthem in which they must say they're Jewish -- and that is only the tip of the iceberg of religious coercion in Israel. Of course, no one is implying that it approaches the level of enforcement of totalitarian Muslim states like Saudi Arabia. But it steers clear from Western standards.
In some places, modesty patrols make sure that women don't go around immodestly dressed. Cars are stoned if they travel on certain roads on Saturday. Women are harassed if they sit next to men on buses that serve ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. Christian monks, nuns and priests are spat on on a regular basis.
The usual Zionist defense is that these abuses are not officially sanctioned by the State. That would be a good defense save for the fact that Israel is a country of many states within the State, which more or less do as they please without the forces of order interfering much. One example are the settlers, who build illegally like crazy essentially unstopped by the police and the army. Another example are criminal mobs, which operate with remarkable freedom, engaging in extortion, drive-by shootings and other typical underworld activities. The religious establishment is yet another example.
Religion controls all personal and family affairs in Israel, from marriage to inheritance to burial. Interfaith marriage, thus, doesn't exist. Israel apologists are quick to point out that if a Jew and a Muslim want to marry, they can always travel to Cyprus and have a civil marriage there, which is accepted by the State. But is the trip paid for by the State? Circumventing religion, while not impossible, makes life much harder.
Zionists counter that, while coercion may have a symbolic place, it does not practically affect the daily affairs of people. Well, that's simply not true. If you own a restaurant, you've got to display a kashrut certificate that states that you comply with Jewish dietary laws. The rabbis can grant it or revoke it -- and use this power to enforce behaviors completely unrelated to food rituals.
For instance, see what can happen to you if you put up a Christmas tree, or Christmas decorations in your restaurant (h/t Didi Remez):
While hotels, restaurants and clubs put up fir trees, Santa Claus dolls and red hats for the Christmas celebration and New Year parties that will take place in the next two weeks, the chief rabbinate recommends not displaying symbols of the Christian holidays. Moreover, the rabbinical “Lobby for Jewish Values” recently began to take action against restaurants and hotels that intend to put up Christian symbols. “We are considering making public those business establishments that put up Christian symbols for the Christian holidays and will call to boycott them,” said the lobby’s chairman, Ofer Cohen.
Every year, the Jerusalem Rabbinate also acts to ensure that fir trees not adorn places of entertainment. A source in the Kashrut Department said that this is done every year in consent, and that businesses that don’t comply can find their kashrut certificate revoked.
Jude signs on shops anyone?
Haaretz further reports on the loon Lobby behind this persecution:
According to the Israeli media, the fliers distributed by the Lobby for Jewish Values contain the following call to arms:
"The people of Israel have given their soul over the years in order to maintain the values of the Torah of Israel and the Jewish identity. You should also continue to follow this path of the Jewish people's tradition and not give in to the clownish atmosphere of the end of the civil year. And certainly not help those businesses that sell or put up the foolish symbols of Christianity."
Of course, you always have the option of opening a restaurant in Cyprus.
So if I get this straight, "the Jewish right to self-determination" means the right to impose on non-Jews, or even on liberal Jews, absurd restrictions based on the superstitions of the Jewish religion, and to publicly insult the Christian religion in a variety of ways. If this trend continues, I see a future for yellow-badge makers in Israel.