The Big Ideas of 2008

How I Learned to Love the Wall

The security wall separating Israel and Palestine keeps the "beautiful" from having to look at the "hideous."

They're building a wall in Israel. A new wall: 25 feet high, 300 miles long, electric fencing, trenches, access roads for armored patrol vehicles, electronic fence sensors, electronic ground sensors, thermal imaging equipment, video cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, sniper towers, barbed wire, razor wire, landmines.

And if you think I'm against it, you're wrong. I think it's a good idea. Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of this new wall is not to prevent Arab terrorists from sneaking into the forbidden Jewish zones. Rather than a security barrier, the wall functions as a curtain, a dividing screen that separates the ugly from the beautiful.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the Arabs should not enjoy basic human rights. I'm not saying they should be denied access to food, medical care, transportation, education, employment, or water. I'm not saying they're not human beings. All I'm saying is we don't want to be forced to look at them every day. They're not visually pleasing, to use a crass understatement. We came to Israel to build a beautiful country, to inherit our old-new land, the land of milk and honey, lavish landscapes, manly men, and gorgeous girls – not a land populated by unkempt, unclean, unshaven slobs.

Not that they need to be banished. Not that they have to die. We just don't want to see them, that's all. Extreme poverty produces extreme hideousness, and extreme hideousness demands an appropriate concealing device. The wall is not imprisonment. It's not incarceration. It's an aesthetic quarantine.

Israel is a modern miracle. A young, sexy, bubbly nation in the heart of the filth and darkness of the Arab world. It seems only right that half the people who live in this beautiful democracy should be excluded from participating in it: the ugly half. For 50 years they've been cleaning toilets, washing dishes, sweeping streets, scrubbing floors. Which is fine, if that's what you want to do. But at the end of the day, please be kind enough to take a shower. We're talking basic social behavior here, elementary consideration for other human beings. And if you have no money to buy soap, or if you have no running water at home, or if your home has been demolished, we can offer you all the sympathy in the world, but please don't expect us to be eager to look at you. And the wall, in spite of the hypocritical objection of the European community, in spite of the anti-Semitic threats of the International Court, in spite of the ungrateful, backstabbing, double-crossing propaganda of a self-hating minority that condemns it as a crime, does the job. It keeps the Arabs out of sight.

The construction of the wall, therefore, should not only continue according to plan, regardless of the screams and shouts of the pseudo-compassionate world, but also expand. We should put up more walls, walls to hide away the sick, the tired, the obese, the elderly, the gentiles. Our Jewish concrete slabs are perfectly impenetrable, harder than metal, stronger than steel, mightier than any moral value. Just like our 2,000-year-old Wailing Wall, this new one is not temporary. It's not reversible. It's here to stay. The nations of the world can yell and protest all they want, but they would need a lot more than a bunch of trumpets to knock this one down.

84 comments on the article “How I Learned to Love the Wall”

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fortunately, considering where this article is posted you realize that it is satire. Unfortunately, you could read the same article in a major Israeli newspaper and most would consider it serious.

Ben Schiller

Since the creation of the wall the suicide attacks in Israel have dropped dramatically, but of course since Jews are trying to protect themselves from terrorists, Mr. Elbom claims it is because of beauty. Maybe it is; perhaps one thinks it is beautiful to be able to walk down Ben Yehuda Street without having to worry about them or their children dying. I think that is beautiful, but that is just me...


We are headed down a dark slippery slope. Internet, TV, shopping. What else could one want. There is no need to struggle. Survival is a thing of the past. We are being lead astray. The system is taking us down. The question is how do you want to go?


i agree with david and mike... though I realized partway into it that the article could not possibly be serious, it somehow falls short of effective satire as well...


The Western world has a natural wall that shields our sensitive eyes from the unsightly impoverished people of insert country name here. Sometimes we see through a hole in that wall when a charity commercial shows us what's on the other side.


LOL... Great satire. It reminds me of that scene in American Psycho when Christian Bale tells the unnamed homeless man that he smells before killing him.

I just want to point out to other readers that there are many Jewish Israelis that are left out of this young, sexy, bubbly nation, by choice or not. That's why Israel desperately needs the conflict to continue, to maintain solidarity in its Jewish population.


30 000 children starve to death every day, but this wall is what causes Adbusters to lose sleep at night. It's one thing to have some sort of logical criticism of Israel, but this is just petty demonization devoid of any substance... at all.


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