I feel uneasy about Jewish festivals. Hanukkah is one obvious example: it reminds Jews how futile it is to try to convert the Arabs into good Israelis. Jews basically offer Israeli Arabs a deal: forget your national aspirations, your peoplehood, and we will give you subsidies, education, a practically tax-free environment, job opportunities, and comfortable cities. That is exactly what Antioch offered to the Jews who, led by Maccabbee fundamentalists, revolted. Antioch promised Judean towns the status of polis, which would greatly reduce their tax burden. He offered gymnasiums and stadiums, major trade opportunities, and lower duties. Like the Arabs today, the Jews only had to renounce their bizarre habits. Like the Arabs today, in the time of the Maccabees most Jews agreed to Antioch’s terms: they were nice, liberal, moderate Jews. The voice of the majority did not matter then, nor would it matter now: devoted, radical fundamentalists, ugly in their refusal to live and let live, set the tune. Not forever: the ultra-Orthodox Hashmonean dynasty quickly degenerated into atheism and corruption. Not even the most religious people can stay the corrupting effects of power, as we can see with the ayatollahs. But Israeli Arabs are not in power: being constantly in opposition, their radicals are largely sheltered from corruption. Compare this to the corrupt environment of the West Bank, where Arab militants hold the power. Administrative autonomy for Israeli Arabs will go a long away toward creating their own leadership and corrupting it.

Or take Purim. We celebrate nothing less than the wholesale slaughter of tens of thousands of men, women, and children who, we believed, did not like us. Haman was executed and the evil decree against us effectively rescinded eleven months before Purim: we celebrate the slaughter of our enemies rather than deliverance. Now, the only thing wrong with this celebration is that ignorant Jewish leaders have transformed it into a toothless holiday. Just like Hanukkah celebrates the victory of fundamentalists in a brutal civil war, so Purim praises a slaughter by Jews of foreign civilians. We cannot celebrate Purim one day and go on about Arab human rights the day after.

Think of Pesach. We started it by publicly slaughtering the Egyptian god; we brought sacrifices of sheep. Israeli Jews who tolerate portraits of God in Orthodox churches of Jerusalem, who decry Jewish zealots for burning messianic literature—what do they have to do with our core holiday of religious intolerance? During Pesach we robbed the Egyptians; today we subsidize the Palestinians. We trusted God and went out against the mighty Egyptian army; today, Jews ignore the many miracles offered us, and visit Egyptian leaders more often than a good Muslim goes to Mecca. How can Knesset members celebrate Pesach after legislating the freedom to sell leavened bread during?

Luckily, most Jews do not celebrate Shavuot, the day when we received the Torah, for what could be more hypocritical than celebrating it while refusing almost every commandment?

And there is the pronounced absurdity of celebrating Sukkoth. Like every other commandment, it was only given for the Land of Israel. Jews who stay in flimsy tents in the chilly, rainy autumns of Europe and the American East Coast deserve psychiatric help on public account. Sukkoth was the happy festival of an agricultural society, of people who toiled hard and were satisfied literally with the fruits of their labor. Sukkoth is not something that Jewish doctors or lawyers have a right to celebrate.

Judaism has become an empty shell of its former self, and our holidays have been likewise emasculated.