An incident at a junior high school in Hod Hasharon on Friday morning catapulted the issue of societal violence to the top of the news, just below coverage of the coming Knesset elections.

A teacher was attacked by the father of a student whose cell phone had been confiscated because he was talking on it in class. After the beating, which resulted in the teacher’s requiring medical attention, the father was arrested. On Saturday, he was remanded. On Sunday, he was indicted for assault.

The entire country came out against the brutality. Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar telephoned the teacher to express his horror and wish him a speedy recovery. Education Ministry Director-General Dalit Stauber and Secondary School Teachers Association chairman Ran Erez visited the school to discuss the event with the faculty. The National Student Council released a statement of condemnation. And the national Teachers Union announced that it would hold anti-violence workshops in schools everywhere.

Indeed, everyone – from children and parents to the police force and the government – responded appropriately to the inexcusable act. The only sector that has put its usual nauseating spin on this clear-cut case is the press.

This is not to say that the Israeli media have presented the assault on the teacher in a positive light. On the contrary, all print and broadcast commentary has been critical of the “worrisome increase in violence that has been plaguing our society.”

The following questions have been raised by concerned pundits and their sympathetic interviewers:

What will happen to the violent parent when his case goes before the courts? Will he be acquitted or receive a light sentence, making a mockery of his arrest?

To what can we attribute the rise in such cases against public servants, including social workers, hospital staff, police officers, and even judges? Is this due to the “corruptive effects of the ‘Occupation’?” Is it the fault of the Internet? Television? The movies? Where – oh, where – has Israeli society gone wrong?

Herein lies the customary inability of the Left to do three key things. One is to put news items in perspective. Another is to make the connection between its ideology and the ills about which it loves to moan and groan. The third is never to view itself as an integral part of the “society-gone-wrong” which it claims to be bent on correcting.

On the first issue, we could say that we are lucky that what occurred in Israeli suburbia was nothing like the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut last month. A violent father beat up a teacher. It was awful, but not actually common.

Furthermore, with all its ailments, Israel is a miraculous country. The fact that it has any energy whatsoever to concentrate on internal problems while under constant external threat is a testament to its health, not its sickness.

As for the second issue, it is the Left that is responsible for the utter lack of respect given teachers in Israel, who are called by their first names and subject to the scrutiny of parents and lawyers. It is the Left that promotes the idea that poverty and discrimination lead to crime. It is the Left that champions what has emerged as the most liberal judiciary in the world. Yes, it is the Left that has undermined the notions of discipline and hierarchy, both required for a productive education system. In the presence of the above, a pupil wouldn’t dare talk on his cell phone in class, nor would his father contradict the teacher, let alone batter him, for forbidding it; and – in the event that such egregious behavior did occur – the police wouldn’t have to worry about a judge taking the family’s circumstances into account when making his ruling.

Then there’s the third and most blatant way in which the Left exercises its cultural hegemony, while remaining above the fray. By controlling the public discourse, it is able to place politically motivated blame where it chooses. To say that this never includes self-examination would be giving understatement a bad name.

Sadly, half the parties running in the Jan. 22 election share the same dim view of Israeli society as the members of the media who support them.

The good news, if the polls are to be trusted, is that the voters are not being swayed. Though most Israelis are happy to accuse the government of ineptitude when anything goes wrong – including ingrown toenails and poor weather – they have an even greater aversion to and disdain for the media.

This is the epitome of “poetic justice” – a concept the boy in Hod Hasharon might have been taught, had his teacher managed to get through the lesson uninterrupted and unharmed.

Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’”

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