The Lion King and Zionism
Attending matinees with children can be highly educational. Take The Lion King that we went to see the other day. If there’s anyone left who hasn’t seen the cartoon, the story is simple and solid, think Richard III meeting Mowgli. Once upon a time there lived a Lion King, a strong and noble leader of his pride. But his mean and mangy younger brother would hang out with lowly jackals, envious of his ruling brother and waiting for his time to strike, when the maned monarch would die and he would inherit the throne. However, one day the Lion Queen gave birth to a cub. Vicious Uncle lured his nephew to a dangerous spot where buffaloes roamed. At the last moment the King saved his son, but at the cost of his own life, as his blood brother pushed him under the buffalos’ hooves. To top it all, the mean uncle told the cub that the King’s death was his – the cub’s – fault. Consumed with guilt, the heir fled for the jungle to search for his identity. Meanwhile, the plotter uncle, backed by the jackals, grabbed the crown.
And now, standing on the rock of the throne, the usurping lion addressed a crowd of vile hyenas and a bunch of downcast lion widows: “I proclaim a new era! From now on jackals and lions will live together!”
This is where I awoke from a nap with a start. I realized that this was not about African lions; this was about the lions of Judea – the People of Israel.
Indeed, there used to be plenty of Lion Kings at the dawn of Zionism: majestic Herzl, roaring Jabotinsky, thick-maned Ben Gurion, noble Begin, and sharp-clawed Shamir. They were not the best of friends among themselves, but their fierce roar and their spiritual stride kept away the jackals and let the cubs – the revived nation of Israel – grow up in safety as they evolved into real lions of Judah on their legitimate pride territory. Yet the kings had relatives, too – brothers who were mangy in their souls, lagging in charisma, yet skilled in intrigue.
The plotters won the support of the jackals - eternal neighbors and enemies of the Jewish pride. Jackals were numerous, mean, cruel, and incapable of building a prosperous life for themselves. But at the critical moment when the Lions of Judah needed help, their tirelessly intriguing Jewish brothers pushed the spirit and the leaders of their own people under the hooves of the madding crowd called “world public opinion”. The lions of the Left climbed the throne and proclaimed “the new era when lions and jackals will live side by side on the Judea pride’s territory”. This bold lie met with the howling approval from the TV rocks and trees of the jungle, beginning with the White House lawn.
Not only did the lions of the Left usurp the throne and bring their jackal lackeys into the heartland of the pride, but they also neutralized the rightful heir to the throne – the young Israelis. They inculcated the young cubs with a guilt complex – allegedly the lions “occupied” their own territory – and so the cubs went to hang out abroad, from India to California. Accompanied by hamsters and wild boars, they hummed their own version of the stage musical’s hit song Hakuna Matata glorifying living in the present and taking it easy; they shrugged off their duty and heritage and went on a diet of spiders, worms, and grass.
In the meantime, just like in the musical, the promised paradise of happy lions and jackals’ cohabitation turned into a nightmare: a dying savannah, strewn with the bones – the leftovers of the peace process. Only the red-haired (better say, orange) Lioness of the Judea, lonely but defiant, never submitted to the treacherous uncle and was now calling on the legitimate heir to claim his rights, to engage in a fight with hyenas and traitors and save the nation.
Yet – again, just like in a musical – she failed to inspire the young lion. The guilt complex sowed by his fratricidal uncle was too strong. “I’m to blame for my father’s death,” the adult heir droned on; “there’s no way back for me.” “We are to blame for the death of Zionism,” the young secular Israelis drone on end, reiterating the poisonous lie; “because we occupied the territories.”
In the musical, the cub was finally inspired by a funny elderly monkey. It showed him a magic puddle where he saw his father the King who reminded him that the only way to find yourself is by performing your duty – to your country, to your ancestors, to your Mission.
The fairy tale has a happy ending: the young lion comes back, chases away the jackals, marries the rebellious ginger lioness and in short order produces an heir. The new King did not bother to taint his claws with his intriguer uncle’s blood; the traitor was eaten by his former jackal friends...
I don’t have the slightest doubt that life will imitate art and the revived Zionist tale will have the same ending, including the end of the Left at the hands of the Arabs. The question is: how many more bones have to fall on the ground of Judah's pride before the King's cub will wake up from the Oslo's Hakuna Matata? And who will play the funny old monkey? If no one claims that part, we - the columnists - should keep showing the cub the magic puddle of Jordan river repeating: Chazak ve Amatz, "Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Almighty has sworn to their fathers to give them…"
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