While the book of Amos in the Hebrew scriptures is relatively short it has always been a favourite of many, in particular Martin Luther King Jr who often used it as a key prophetic text. I can still hear him intoning: “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream..
A less sophisticated bible man, though passionately prophetic, Bernie Sanders used it when he went into the lions den at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty College.
Here I make the connection with two modern Amoses, Gideon Levy. and Amos Gvirtz.
Like Amos (circa 750 BCE) Levy would make no claim to be a prophet but an honest scribe he surely is. In light of the abysmal state of the rabbinate in Israel particularly in the occupied and illegal territories, Levy like the biblical prophets of antiquity regularly excoriates his country’s leadership for its rampant injustice against the indigenous Palestinians.
Like Amos, Levy is native born from Tel Aviv, a man who exposed to such overwhelming cruelty could no longer hold his tongue. What he discovered when he walked into the occupied territories sent him into a paroxysm of fury. Not an overtly religious man, Levy to me seemed more like Jeremiah than Amos.Year after year in the pages of that wonderful Israeli daily Haaretz he seemed to channel his landsman Jeremiah who similarly felt ,”something like a burning fire shut up in my bones.”(20:9).
Amos was from the small town Tekoa south of Bethlehem. Today modern Tekoa is an illegal Israeli community confiscated in 1975 from Palestine. The biblical Amos denied that he was a prophet. He states it unequivocally in 7:14:”I am no prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I a a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore trees.”Scripture scholars identify these as fig trees
If you know anything about Palestine figs and olives are centuries old staples .See my posts of Feb 1 and Feb.3 for Levy’s Amos-like anger.
Who are the human scum who last Friday drove all-terrain vehicles down to the magnificent olive grove owned by Abed al Hai Na’asan, in the West Bank village of Al-Mughayyir, chose the oldest and biggest row, and with electric saws felled 25 trees, one after another?