As a child growing up in Israel, the Holocaust was omnipresent. Reminders of it existed all around, randomly as well as by design. The makolet was run by an aging couple with numbers on their arms. In 1977 it seemed that ‘Never Again’ was Begin’s election slogan. Hanoch Levin had already included this classic line in a well-known, but despised play: ‘…as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and the mother of a soldier to be, I hereby light this torch in the name of (fill in the blank).’ [Thank you Hanoch Levin) If you don’t understand why that’s funny and offensive, it’s that the constant repetition of the Holocaust while prepping kids to die in endless warfare. Levin saw the irony. Most people saw the tragedy.

It got worse each spring, as the journey from Holocaust Day, thought Memorial Day for Those Who Fell In the Battles of Israel, (yom hazikaron lanoflim b’ma’archot yisrael) and culminating in Independence Day. Woe to the child sick at home in those weeks! There was only one station (Channel 1) and in the morning it played the Open University education programs, which seemed to be Holocaust clips. An MTV for Holocaust education. These were mostly historic reels showing Hitler foaming at the mouth or piles of shoes and hair.

I wonder what daytime television will be like when the Palestinians get a state, and what the calendar will look like. Will the Palestinian Open University show grainy images of windswept refugee camps in 1950’s Lebanon? Will they show trails of refugees driven out of from Lod and Ramleh? Maybe the editors will insert a photograph of a handsome, smiling Yitzhak Rabin, the man in charge of that operation, known as Tochnit Dalet. The sound track will include the prophetic yet tinny voice of Ben-Gurion as he declares Israeli independence. The most painful image for refugees and their descendants might be the circles of people dancing in the squares in celebration of what was to come.

No, there is no comparing the Holocaust and the Naqba. None. Please do not think of the Holocaust and the Naqba in the same sentence. However, it is reasonable to think about how societies turn history into statist rituals, how they take the raw material of history and transform it into powerful myths. Some people will say that much like sausage, this is an ugly, indelicate process. Best to focus on the end result.

I’m watching, fascinated and hungry for the final product. How will it taste? As good as Zionist sausage? As satisfying? Or just as awful? I bet a lot of it will be as unpleasant and meaningless for a Palestinian kid home sick as the stuff I watched in the 70’s.