The car after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at it
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann condemns Jewish fundamentalism and calls for an end to the distinction between Jewish and Palestinian terror. He asserts that responsibility for neutralizing the extremism lies with the prime minister and the government ministers
The chairman of the extreme rightwing organization “Lehava” recently argued that the violent youths responsible for the Arab lynch in Zion Square “raised Jewish honour.” Jewish fundamentalism, which incites youths from poor neighbourhoods to throw a Molotov cocktail, is more established than people think. Just like the arms race between countries, it seems like these extremists have started a race of fear and terror against their Palestinian counterparts. Terror is always shocking, but it is especially twisted when it comes from the side with political power – from the side of the regime on the West Bank which works for its own agenda at the expense of Palestinian rights and the welfare of Israelis.
Other residents of Gush Etzion will doubtless claim that the real terror comes from the Palestinian side. History teaches us, and the rightwing Jabotinsky shows it, that every people has rebelled against foreign rulers, usually violently. Even if violence is morally unacceptable, a government in which a certain group has no representation, a government where a group is pushed aside and discriminated against because of its origins, will never have legitimacy and will always be opposed. The question is: what kind of opposition.
Fortunately, in recent years more and more Palestinians have adopted the strategy of non-violent civil struggle against the military government on the West Bank. This struggle, which is mostly conducted in cooperation with Israelis, has become strengthened as the main model, as against the path of terror, the competition of fear and killing – who will come out on top, his hands covered with blood and injustice.
The inequality between us and the Arabs
The throwing of the Molotov cocktail is an escalation of activities that happen all the time: the cutting down and burning of olive trees, stone-throwing, the setting fire to mosques, etc. Such actions fuel extremist forces in the conflict. I know of tens of places in the territories with similar stories, for example near the outpost of Itamar, on the road from Awarta to the settlement of Kedumim near Yizhar and Gilad Farm, in the area of Susya, etc. We passed on the information to the police and the civil administration, including instances where serious injuries were caused to Palestinians. The response was usually slow and showed a manifest lack of interest. These are reactions of those who have lost human sensitivity to others who are not Jewish.
The attitude of the security forces contributes to the anger at the military regime: When stones are thrown by Jewish extremists, they close the road to Palestinian vehicles in order to “protect” them, while allowing Jews to continue travelling. When the police are called when Palestinians are being attacked, it is Arabs who are arrested, and the Jews involved are allowed to get away. During the last year, ten mosques in the West Bank were torched and no one was arrested. Again and again there is discriminatory treatment of those we control, as subjects without rights.
The extremist settlers are constantly actively preventing any positive development in the area as they do harm in the most sensitive places. Most of the extremists have a destructive, Kahanist ideology. They view the struggle as all-out war, and do not recognize individual moral responsibility, only that of the group, a self-fulfilling prophecy. As it is written: “Swiftly your children are coming; Those who ravaged and ruined you shall leave you…” (Isaiah, 49. 17)
It is within our ability to deal with this phenomenon, but it will not happen without pressure on the government, which has allowed this poison to spread in society. The prime minister and the government ministers are now rolling their eyes but the responsibility lies with them. Can we expect them to do something today before it is too late?
(The article was originally published on the Walla! website)
If you found this story important/shocking/touching, and you want to help us to change the situation, please donate here and strengthen the Jewish voices that see in every human being the image of God.