“And This Is the Way WE Do It!!
“A hero of Israel lived among us,” said Binyamin Regional Council head Yisrael Gantz, speaking at the funeral of Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz, who was badly wounded during anti-terrorism operations in Jenin last Friday, and died shortly thereafter. “We were privileged to live alongside a brave family man, a man of Torah, a modest hero.”
Raz was a long-time commando with the elite anti-terrorism unit Yamam. He served as a medic, as well as a combat soldier, and often risked his life to save others. In over 20 years, he took part in hundreds of operations to stop terror.
A founding member of the community of Kida in the Binyamin Regional Council in the Shomron, he leaves behind a wife, and six children.
Raz was buried on Sunday in the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.
His funeral procession was slated to move from Kida to Jerusalem. Heads of a number of the communities in Gush Shilo (a bloc of communities in the Shilo area of Binyamin) spread the word about an opportunity for residents to honor him as the procession went by.
On short notice, over two-thousand people, most of whom did not know Raz personally, came out to stand in a human chain along the road. They understood his bravery, and his sacrifice, and wished to salute him. And they did so with dignity.
In the end, this is what will sustain us: brave soldiers such as Noam Raz and the very decent ordinary people of Israel.
I wrote in my last posting about the funeral of Shireen Abu-Akleh, which was accompanied by Muslim Arab violence. Perhaps you imagined this was an exception, an anomaly, with the violence spurred by a specific set of circumstances.
Ah, but, sadly, this is not the case. There was a funeral on Monday for Palestinian Arab Walid al-Sharif, held on the Temple Mount. In a recent incident, Al-Sharif had been throwing rocks at police on the Mount, and then, according to the police, was injured when he fell – presumably from a height – as he attempted to escape capture. He died of his injuries in the hospital on Saturday.
Rioting broke out in the course of the funeral, and subsequently at night it spread to various locales in eastern Jerusalem and specifically in the Old City. Rioters included Palestinian Arabs from PA areas and Israeli Arabs.
Police said the funeral had been turned into “an unconstrained demonstration of violence.” The Arabs attacked police by throwing rocks, concrete blocks and bottles; fireworks were launched. In eastern Jerusalem there was an attempt to ram Border Police with a car. Passersby were injured; there was damage to vehicles in the area and to infrastructure. Fifteen Arabs were arrested.
This link contains several videos of the violence (see especially the second and third videos):
You look at the videos and you might well think you were viewing a war scene. And indeed that’s what it was. Rioters referred to al-Sharif as a “martyr.” In point of fact, he was a member of Hamas. Hamas has called for an escalation of “comprehensive resistance,” including clashes with police that involve “more steadfastness…and open confrontation.”
Incredibly, there is more:
“Family members of a patient who was evacuated in critical condition to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem rioted in the intensive care unit after being notified of his death.
“Dozens of family members of the victim, residents of eastern Jerusalem, broke doors and windows, destroyed the nurses’ stand and beat the staff members.
“Hospital security guards and police officers who were called to the scene were able to restore order.”
What we are seeing is a propensity for violence built into the Muslim Arab culture here. The expression of that violence is growing because of the weakness and the policies of the current government.
Please follow through with me until the end:
In my last posting, I shared the assessment of Maor Tzemach – chair of the NGO Your Jerusalem – that the PA, in fomenting rioting at the funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh, was trying to whip up anti-Israel sentiment among Arabs with Israeli citizenship. And I want to return to this thought now, because I believe this is one of the biggest problems Israel faces today – a problem we cannot afford to minimize or ignore: Anti-Israel sentiment among Arabs who are citizens.
Sunday (May 15) was “Nakba Day.” Nakba means “catastrophe.” After 74 years, the majority of Israeli Arabs still consider the founding of the State of Israel to be a catastrophe. This is in spite of the fact that Arabs in Israel have better lives than the Arabs of any of our surrounding neighbors, and certainly better than the lives of those living under the Palestinian Authority. This is with regard to both standard of living and civil rights.
The picture shows a Nakba demonstration on the campus of Tel Aviv University:
Had, Heaven forbid, the Arabs won the War of Independence, every Jew in the land would have been killed or banished. But we Jews told the Arabs who remained during the war that they could have citizenship. (See note below for more)
And still many resent the fact that Jews have a state; what is more, research indicates that the Israeli Arab population is being increasingly radicalized. Both the PA and Hamas call on their “nationalism.” In the war with Hamas last May, there was a fifth column inside of the country, with serious rioting in the mixed cities such as Lod and Ramle. On Sunday, the anniversary of that rioting was celebrated in Lod – with a procession that culminated in rioting. (Surprise!)
In a recent poll, 75% of Israeli Arabs said they did not believe Jews had a right to a state of their own. And 23% said they would support an Arab invasion.
There is a great deal of work to be done.
Note: The myth is that Israel expelled most of the Arabs, which represents the true “nakba.” But the fact is that most of those who left did so voluntarily or at the bidding of their leaders, who assured them they would be able to return soon. That myth has been perpetuated over the years by UNRA, which has maintained Arabs who left Israel and their descendants as refugees rather than helping them to resettle.
All over the world, in times of war and unrest, people become refugees. And then they settle in new situations and get on with their lives. Yet, here, the children and grandchildren of people who left Israel in 1948 – 74 years ago – are still being referred to as “refugees.”
Part of the work that needs to be done is the dismantling of UNRWA.
But there is another sort of action that is crying out for attention:
According to Israel Hayom, in a closed meeting of the Blue & White Party, Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, who heads the party, responded to a WhatsApp that had gone viral (although the author remained unknown).
It was a threat – or perhaps I should call it a boast – from Arabs who were claiming that they were taking over the country, with regard to the Negev in the south and the Galil in the north.
Concerning the Negev, the message was this:
“Keep cursing; you have no chance against Allah. Slowly but surely we are taking bites out of your state. What will you do? This is Palestinian territory in actuality, and the moment one tractor comes – we will use the left-wing organizations such as ‘Peace Now’ and ‘B’Tselem,’ who will go to the country’s true ruler [the High Court of Justice] to issue an injunction. We will send children and teenagers to throw stones and barricade themselves in until you scatter away like mice.”
And the concluding paragraph:
“The government tells you the Galilee and Negev are Jewish; I tell you that in reality, this is Palestinian territory. Any new business in the Negev is paying us a protection tax, every neighborhood that is built won’t be built without paying protection.”
Gantz’s response was, in my view, both stupid and frightening. Instead of assuring everyone that actions will be taken to make certain that this never happens, he said:
“This isn’t far from the reality. I believe that in a few more years we’ll be in a situation where the Jewish state will be between Gedera and Hadera [i.e. only in the center of the country]. We are a few years away from this.”
Then a spokesman for the defense minister put out a statement: “Without getting into what was said in a closed-door meeting, the defense minister has said many times that Israel must be looked at through the vision of decades forward and that a [special] authority must be established to help. Israel must prepare for half of its population to live in the Negev and Galilee…”
In other words, Gantz’s solution to boasts by Bedouin Arabs that they are in control of the Negev was to say large numbers of Jews must move there.
But he has it absolutely backwards! It is the responsibility of the government and the Defense Ministry in particular to secure the Negev, so it is not under threat from Bedouin. Then and only then will large numbers of Jews be reassured and move there.
There has been lawlessness in the Negev for years, with lack of law enforcement and a sort of laissez-faire attitude with regard to the practice of polygamy, the protection racket, rules of the road, and much more. Binyamin Netanyahu does not get a pass on this situation.
But it is worse with this government, as its continuation depends upon having Ra’am in the coalition. Mansour Abbas has been a fierce advocate of the Bedouin, and offers proteczia. The Bedouin have been provided with funds, and will have their illegal housing hooked up to the electric grid.
Recently Ra’am made noises about leaving. But after a meeting between Mansour Abbas and Yair Lapid, it was announced that three new villages would be established for the Bedouin in the Negev.
The government has been under the impression – or has embraced the convenient delusion – that providing these perks would bring quiet in the Negev. But that is not how it works!! This is left-wing thinking.
An Arab asks for a finger, and you say, sure, I can do without one. And then he says, that was good, but I really need the whole hand. And you shrug and say, if it keeps things quiet, I can manage with one hand. After which he says, not enough, I want the arm up to the elbow.
The Arabs see concessions, and they see weakness.
“One can see these events as the start of Israel’s second war of independence, but they are in essence just the latest mutation of our existential struggle to exist here in a Jewish-Zionist state. Some Arab Israelis, with overt Hamas encouragement, are now trying to conquer us from within. In this struggle, there can be no compromise and no displays of weakness of any kind. These only feed the fire, which must be extinguished immediately.”
Now, after all of the perks have been provided, the Bedouin feel more empowered than ever, and are more prone to violence than ever. In the fall there were major riots over the planting of trees on State land because the Arabs claimed it as their land.
Note the threat in the WhatsApp to send children to throw stones.
And most especially, note the repeated claim that it is Palestinian land. There is major incitement at work here.
This situation cannot be tolerated. This government must go. And it must be replaced by a right-wing government that is not beholden to the Islamic Movement and is prepared to enforce the law in the Negev!
Beginning immediately, it is time for the people of Israel – the good people I wrote about above – to cry out and demand a change in the situation. The longer it stays this way, the weaker the government becomes.
As Shragai has written, we must extinguish the fire immediately.