My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
[T]here is an almost fascistic tone to the rhetoric of some on the political right which can stretch from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party to younger members of the governing Likud, the prime minister’s party, and also to some in its Mizrachi base, that is, those who descend from Islamic countries and poorer sectors of the population. They certainly are soft on the thugs of the settler movement who try to intimidate both Palestinian Arabs and Israeli peaceniks. And they are adept at manipulating administrative law through the bureaucracies and the courts to burden Arab life, both in Israel and the territories. There is also a certain militaristic cast to their ways. Moreover, they are sure that, if they don’t win this political battle and that, the apocalypse is just around the corner. This is the ugliest part of Israeli political life. – Marty Peretz, TNR.BACK TO TOP