Tidbits From Israel

By Ron Jager

The murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder, allegedly by Jews, shamed the Jewish people everywhere and was immediately denounced by the full spectrum of Israel’s political and religious leadership, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres, and the chief rabbis. Although this was an isolated act said to be perpetrated by deranged persons, the people of Israel expressed remorse and genuine shame that those alleged to be responsible for it came from among us.

The killing occurred as the nation was in deep mourning over the discovery of our three boys, kidnapped and shot dead in cold blood by Palestinian Arab terrorists. In response to the murder of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, we heard the inspiring words and comments of the families, who asked the people of Israel to remain strong and sanctify the memory of their boys by perpetuating the values they represented–unity of Am Yisrael, humility, goodness, and a sincere commitment to live a moral life. Town squares throughout the cities of Israel were spontaneously filled with subdued and saddened young men and women who lit memorial candles to pay final respects and reflect on the tragic deaths.

In contrast, in response to the despicable murder of Mohammed Abu Khder, we heard MK Ahmed Tibi, a veteran Israeli Arab member of the Knesset, give the green light to the violent and criminal rioting that broke out throughout Arab communities in Israel in recent days by stating again and again, “From now on all citizens of Israel are made responsible for the criminal assassination of Mohammed.”

During the past few days, the entrances to Arab cities and villages have become battlegrounds, with thousands of young Arab rioters, many masked, combating police forces attempting to restore order. These Arab rioters have attacked innocent Jewish passersby with rocks, Molotov cocktails, and metal bars, and they wantonly destroyed infrastructure such as train stations and electrical lines. The national leadership of the Arab community in Israel has lined up unanimously and called for the Arabs of Israel to continue their violent behavior under the perverted pretense of “free speech and the right to demonstrate.”

Hamas, after several months of relatively few rocket launchings at Israel–an Orwellian statement if there ever was one–entered on the scene in full force, launching from Gaza over 100 rockets at Israeli civilian targets, with over 30 in the space of 10 minutes at one point.

Through the prism of Western media coverage and reactions by President Obama and political leaders from Europe, it has become painfully clear how the bigotry of low expectations of Arabs, who are depicted as incapable of measuring up to the norms of international morality, plays itself out here in the Middle East. It seems as if the world accepts the legitimacy of barbaric behavior of Palestinian Arab terrorists as the necessary price Jews must pay for not forfeiting their rights to live in Israel.

The use of the legally inapplicable term “occupation” as responsible for all the violence directed against Israel–as if it began in 1967–has become the all-encompassing codeword that justifies low expectations of moral behavior by Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. Perpetuating this myth only reinforces the continuing violence that has not only rocked Israel in recent days, but is spreading murder and mayhem in all of the Middle East.

Low-intensity genocide is being conducted systematically in Syria and Iraq. Christians are persecuted, hounded, and murdered throughout the Islamic countries in the Middle East and Africa. In the past three years, hundreds of thousands of Arab civilians have lost their lives throughout the Middle East due to civil wars and the violent emergence of new political leadership in different countries. The objective observer searches in vain for international outrage and indignation, but other than the occasional politically correct lip service of sympathy, condemnation is rare. Rockets can rain with impunity on Israeli men, women, and children, launched by an elected terrorist organization that has obtained vast stores of lethal weaponry and vows publicly to destroy a member state of the United Nations.

This absence of moral indignation can only be explained by the perception of Western leaders and the Western media that there can be no expectations that the Arab world will embrace the idea of the sanctity of life.

Among the Jewish population there are probably walking time bombs just waiting for the right opportunity to fulfill their primal need to hurt others. They, however, are on the margins and beyond the pale, enjoying no public reinforcement of their violent intents. But on the Palestinian Arab side, our neighbors operate in an entirely different mode. Palestinian Arab baby-killers of Jews are admired, squares are dedicated in their names, and study materials in the Arab schools glorify their missions. Rockets are launched from schools and hospitals with not a word of protest from Palestinian Arab residents at putting their children in danger of retaliatory fire.

For those who have joined me for day tours of the Shomron, as we drive through the village of Hawarra I always take the time to point out the pictures of suicide bombers and terrorists, including those that butchered the sleeping Fogel family, hung permanently on light poles throughout the village and presenting role models for the local population.

Let us not forget that after our three boys were kidnapped and found murdered, Palestinian Arabs distributed sweets in Gaza and Ramallah to express their support and joy at this murderous behavior by their brethren.

The world’s reluctance to expose and explicitly condemn the savagery so prevalent among Arab societies–while focusing with a magnifying glass on Israel’s defensive actions, demanding that she maintain an unsustainable level of respecting human rights even when it conflicts with the basic right to self-defense–only perpetuates the bigotry of our low expectations of Arab society. v

Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a field mental-health officer and as commander of the central psychiatric military clinic for reserve soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty in 2005, he has been providing consultancy services to NGOs, implementing psychological trauma treatment programs in Israel. Ron currently serves as a strategic adviser to the chief foreign envoy of Judea and Samaria. To contact him, e-mail medconf@netvision.net.il or visit www.ronjager.com.

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