I’ve been humming and hawing for the past week or so regarding the issue of us treating our Jewish terrorists differently from Arab terrorists. I have not been doing this aloud, but just letting some uncomfortable questions reverberate within my psyche.
Should we be shooting to kill when a Jewish man goes on a rampage and knifes 4 Arabs on the streets of Dimona? Should we be demolishing the houses of the families of Jews found guilty of terrorism against “Palestinian” Arabs? And if we answer these questions in the negative does that mean that we are racist as the accusation goes?
I have not been upset by the killing of Arab terrorists who dared to attack us in the streets. However, I was abhorred by the video of the unnecessary killing of Fadi Alloun as the crowd that was chasing him chanted cries that called for his death. He was no longer a threat to anyone and could have been apprehended without killing him. At least, that is what the video showed. A police investigation may prove otherwise. While I would rather terrorists be killed at the scene than be kept alive in our hospitals and prisons at our expense, fodder for woe-begotten exchanges at some later date, I also want us to maintain the rule of law and for our police and citizenry to function in accordance with it.
Never one to shy from reaching difficult conclusions, conclusions that may put my beloved people in a bad light, I published my thoughts on the Alloun killing and drew some sharp anger because of it. I was accused of sympathising with the enemy. Never mind. That is part and parcel of putting your thoughts into words and uploading them for all the world to see.
But finally everything became clear.
I will NOT apologize for killing “Palestinian” Arab terrorists and demolishing their houses and doing whatever else it takes to stop them from attacking us and I know we will never reach the level of wickedness demonstrated by the lynch in Ramallah. In the year 2000, two Jewish men, who had no evil intent but had simply lost their way and found themselves in that city, were torn apart limb by limb, their eyes gouged, hopefully after they were dead, and the blood on their assassins’ hands held high to the resounding cheers of the crowd outside the window. This is an image etched in the minds and hearts of Israelis old enough to have watched the news in those days.
If the Duma arson was committed by Jews, and we have not yet been told if that is so, then that is a wake-up call for us. The chilling lynching in Be’er Sheva of Eritrean Hafton Zarhum, an innocent wrongly believed to have been a terrorist, is a wake-up call for us. We cannot let ourselves slide down that steep slope into depravity. Therefore, we must hang onto the rule of law tooth and nail. But that does not mean that we do not shoot-to-kill the terrorist who sneaks up behind us knife-in-hand, or who drives into people waiting for a bus, or who throws deadly rocks and stones at our cars.
No less important than how we treat the “other” is how we treat our own. The Arabs in the Palestinian Authority, whether in Judea and Samaria or in Gaza, torture, maim and kill opponents who are members of their national “family”. These can be political opponents or even just gay people.
Perhaps one of the light moments, for me, during the war against Hamas in summer 2014 was a video in which Hamas thugs were forcing citizens to go out to demonstrate against Fatah and one old woman exclaimed
“You are worse than the Jews”.
And the painful moments included, not only what they were doing to us, but also seeing what they were doing to their own – and rejoicing in it. Throwing people off roofs, shooting them in the back as they were on their knees in rows along a wall, and breaking their bones as in the the hard to watch video of a public screening of a TV programme (at the end you can clearly hear the audience clap at this barbarity).
So no, regardless of how heinous their acts, I will NOT apologize for NOT killing Jewish terrorists or extremists, for NOT demolishing their houses; and I WILL support doing whatever else it takes within the law, for us to stop our own extremists from vigilante crimes, whether these comprise murder or uprooting trees.
And when Arabs accuse us of racism for treating Jews differently from Arabs, I will keep in mind that that is because they cannot understand how we Jews can treat the opponents within us differently from how they treat theirs. They judge us according to their own values and then use the differences against us.
A corollary to this that takes on particular significance today is whether or not the Arab citizens of Israel will choose to be considered as “within us” or as “enemies from without”. NOW is a critical moment for them. As we Jews grow clearer regarding the nature of the enemy we are facing, I think we are finally growing less tolerant of Israeli Arab leaders’ abuse of democracy and freedom of speech. On which side of the fence will Arab Israelis put themselves? The choice is theirs. We will act in accordance with the law and in accordance with how they define themselves. I will not apologize for our actions if an Arab Israeli decides to stand against us rather than with us. And if he or she screams out “Allahu Akbar” while wielding a knife or gun or rock with murderous intent against Jews, then it must be understood that at that very moment the Israeli will not be able to distinguish him or her from a citizen of the PA and will shoot to kill.
Sheri Oz is a retired psychotherapist living in Israel for 38 years. Always interested in politics and international affairs, she now has time to study and write about it to her heart’s satisfaction. She writes on her own site, Israel Diaries.