Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Documents mistakenly removed from a Jerusalem psychiatric facility disclose that the State of Israel has undergone regular and intensive psychotherapy since the election of Ariel Sharon as Prime Minister in 2001. The documents – including a case summary and session notes – show that Dr. Dorit Oz, a psychiatrist at the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center, initially treated Israel on an outpatient basis, then admitted the nation as a hospital inpatient. Israel remains at the facility and no release date is scheduled. The Thai sex worker who carrried off the documents to conceal a lubricant does not read Hebrew and was unaware of their classified status. An English translation of selected excerpts appears below.

Case Summary

Israel is a 61-year old male. His chronological age is inconsistent with his developmental age, which is transfixed in pre-adolescence. He has a pre-natal and early childhood history of extraordinary trauma, which he still experiences and acts out daily. He fantasizes he’s a warrior deity, unchanged over thousands of years. He is highly anxious and frequently destructive.


Axis I: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (Chronic); Intermittent Explosive Disorder.
Axis II: Schizoid Personality Disorder;
Paranoid Personality Disorder.

Fear of loss of control torments Israel, and his aggressive behavior provides catharsis. When his feelings of vulnerability become unbearable, he imposes the destruction he fears others would impose on him. Although he characterizes his perceived foes as foolish and weak, he behaves as if they were implacable and more robust than he, lashing out in a manner others call disproportionate. This dynamic only reinforces his construct of a hostile universe in which his aggression is necessary and justified (and, paradoxically, nuanced).

Israel consistently states that he has no real friends, though he reports functional associations based on mutual self-interest. However, it’s extremely important to him to “get the best of” every interaction. It is correspondingly intolerable to feel he has “lost” an exchange and he will act compulsively until a perceived advantage is clearly regained.

Despite his oft-expressed contempt, Israel is obsessively preoccupied with the opinions of others and goes to extraordinary lengths to shape those opinions favorably. This preoccupation seems associated with a dread of his own imperfection. Israel renders his aggressive and destructive behavior tolerable to himself (and, by extension, to a fantasized other) by casting it as the action of a perfect being and absolute victim. Reference to the dissonance between action and perception is dismissed as anti-semitism.

Israel is starting to understand he’s “stuck” – that his feelings of isolation will persist until he risks reaching out to his nemeses. But he remains certain that outreach – whether by him or to him - is weakness. He can’t yet see this as an expression of self-loathing. Rather, he views compromise as self-loathing. Yet he heatedly insists he wants peace, which he describes as a fortress others approach with dread.

Israel has an ambivalent relationship with his concept of God. He professes a duty to revere and obey God and feels chosen by Him. Yet he’s furious with God over the Holocaust, pogroms, expulsions, etc., and is unsure whether these travails show God forsook him, is testing him, or merely letting the chips fall where they may. Since Israel considers his presence on intensely disputed land a gift from God, perpetual conflict is apparently a condition of the gift. This is good, Israel asserts, because conflict makes accommodation unnecessary. “And thank God for the US Congress,” he says.

Israel’s sexuality is ambiguous. Compulsive and earthy virility vies with a stifling, shame-based revulsion toward eroticism. Functionally, he cohabits with the Palestinians, whom he alternatively regards as a treacherous but exotic concubine and a sullen, ungrateful wife. He rages that they “take up all my time” and that his life would be a virtual paradise if they’d “just leave.” Yet his life is organized around controlling and disciplining them, and they provide a ready outlet for his aggression. Quiet interludes make him especially anxious, and he inevitably resumes intimacy through belligerent overtures.

Session Notes

14/6/2009. Probed Israel’s feelings about Palestinian endurance - whether it resonates as strength, whether he feels weak when he can’t drive them away. He became agitated, asserting his strength was vastly superior. When asked if that strength derives from his weaponry or his personality, he asserted that advanced weaponry merely provides efficiency, that he can easily prevail without it. Opines that only the strongest Jews survived history of hardship. Asked whether that was also true for Palestinians, he denied awareness of their hardship.

15/6/2009. Cursing the Palestinians again. “People who aren’t wanted should just go somewhere else.” When asked if Jews should therefore leave the Middle East, he became agitated. Complained bitterly of absence of empathy from everyone (except Geert Wilders), which he attributes solely to anti-semitism. He rejects suggestion that his aggression is at least as visible as his Jewish identity. He states others can see nothing else but Jewish identity. When asked if he, too, can see nothing else, he became agitated and said there’s nothing else to see.

16/6/2009. Israel highly anxious today - concerned there won’t be enough space for his “stuff.” Elaborates more schemes to convince Americans his stuff needs more room. When urged to consider whether fears re stuff are a distraction from deeper issues, he declares he must spread farther inland so Palestinians can’t push him into the sea. Associates to Palestinian wombs producing tidal wave that drowns him. Says haredi wombs must work day and night in “natural growth” counterattack.

17/6/2009. Israel sat without speaking for several minutes. Eventually said he was fooling me, that “facts on the ground” were being established during the silence & I hadn’t noticed. Told him I was aware of the settlements, roads & infrastructure. He became agitated, said he’s always several moves ahead & too crafty to be understood. I asked if that feels lonely. He said it’s very powerful. I suggested a strategy of distraction & subterfuge didn’t project power, but rather self-doubt & shame. He responded he wants me to pass through a metal detector before next session.

18/6/2009. Explored grandiosity today. Israel insists for umpteenth time he’s “chosen,” as proven by disproportionate attention devoted to a small nation. Fiercely rejects suggestion he’s overcompensating for feelings of inferiority, rooted in historic rejection. Also dismisses observation that such attention is perversely associated with belligerence and narcissism, plus proximity to oil resource. Paradoxically, he also complains of “too much” attention, insisting others over-scrutinize him and hypocritically ignore malignancies elsewhere. Claims he’s unfairly treated as a “special case,” but demands exemption from universal norms because of his special history and sensitivities. Stormed out of session early - said I implied he’s a “drama queen.”

19/6/2009. More on grandiosity. Israel again describes his conflicts as extraordinarily complex and beyond the understanding of others. Asked to explain how his perceived complexity differed from, say, central Africa or Kosovo or Sri Lanka or western China, he asserted that the question revealed insufficient depth to understand the answer. Pressed to identify any universal elements in his predicament, he responded that the only universal is anti-semitism. When I posited that his insistence on the complexity of his troubles rendered them insoluble, he became agitated and said I was accusing him of self-persecution.

21/6/2009. Israel was unusually subdued today. He’s sensing his model of ethnic separation denies him approval from the nations he views as most “advanced.” He comments that his tribalism is doubly problematic, inviting comparisons both with “underdeveloped groups” and repugnant historical antecedents (Third Reich, Apartheid South Africa, etc.). Suddenly agitated, he lashed out at “post-modern phonies” who repress their innate loathing of the Other, and at the “primitives” he feels he must cultivate in unsavory alliances. Asked if his desire for an ethnic enclave could survive modernity, Israel predicted modernity wouldn’t survive the inevitable apocalypse. Pressed to consider the centrality of apocalypse to his sense of self, he abruptly left to warn a delegation of Christian Zionists about Iran.

23/6/2009. Israel continues to experience all Arab resistance to his will as “terror.” When urged to consider the purpose of this heightened response to all adverse stimuli, he became agitated. Wouldn’t allow me to discuss the defensive function of the exaggerated fright response among mammals. Denies any feelings of fear - but discourses on terror as intended to undermine his resolve. “That’s the difference between force and terror. Force controls the situation your way. Terror disintegrates you and makes you think about giving in.” He opines that force is masculine, terror is feminine and repulsive.

24/6/2009. Israel ranting today that every Palestinian deserves collective punishment. Asked him to recall his sense that the Jewish experience has been itself collective punishment. He became agitated. Suggested to him that collective punishment is an abdication of responsibility, an expression of infantile rage. He insists it’s a mature geo-political tactic, but ineffective when Arabs are too dumb to slaughter their own leaders or go away. Then why continue, I asked. He destroyed a box of facial tissue.

28/6/2009. Discussed boundary anxiety. Israel still plagued by burden of deciding how much Jewish space is sufficient. Asked him whether Jewish space must necessarily be exclusive Jewish space. He became agitated. Asked him to calm down for once and consider whether anything - literally anything - would ease his turmoil. Israel became uncharacteristically pensive, then blurted that _____

NOTE: additional pages from Dr. Oz’s notes apparently remain inside the institution.

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