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Yoram Kaniuk
Don’t ever call me Nazi
Settlers who refer to IDF troops as Nazis to provoke civil war

The word “Nazi,” which is being hurled at both Jews and non-Jews these days, must be banned by law. Referring to someone as “Nazi” is an act that should prompt a long prison term.

 

The Jewish people cannot bear with the curses uttered by Judea and Samaria residents, who hurl the word “Nazi” at police officers and soldiers, as well as any other person, regardless of whether he is Jewish, German, or Arab. Those residing in the occupied territories would do well to learn some history. They should learn that those who refer to a Jewish policeman or soldier as “Nazi” are similar to those who deny the Holocaust.

 

We cannot have a situation whereby protestors hurl this term at the soldiers who protect them, in the presence of a Knesset member who confronts security forces, as was the case in the recent outpost evacuation. We cannot have them direct this term at all of us.

 

Many of us had relatives who perished in the Holocaust. However, it seems the children of Judea and Samaria residents don’t know what happened there. Many years ago, Menachem Begin said that Arafat is like Hitler in his bunker. The Shoah survivors who supported Begin earlier were stunned. After all, no Arab is Hitler, either in or outside a bunker. Not every murderer is a Nazi; neither is every enemy, and certainly not a Jewish policeman or soldier.

 

Once upon a time, a settler called me a “Nazi” as well. It happened a long time ago, when this term was new in the country. I attempted to explain to him that the Shoah indeed happened, and that 60 of my relatives died in one day, in one pit, in one forest in Galicia. In response, he called me a traitor.

 

Years have passed. For several years now, Israeli soldiers and police officers have been dubbed “Nazis.” If we had worthy army chiefs and defense ministers and police commissioners, they would have detained anyone who uses this term a long time ago. The law should have silenced this malady.

 

Detached from the State

Yet it appears that Israel’s defense ministers and police are also unfamiliar with the history of our people. They fail to realize the power of precedent inherent in this terrible nickname. Israelis must not desecrate the memory of the Holocaust and reject its reality with their despicable words.

 

There are more and more people among the settlers who have detached themselves from the State of Israel. They apparently know it will end with a civil war, because a day will come where we can no longer remain silent in the face of the wickedness we see in the territories. The killings. The razing of homes. The destruction of Arab trees. The worst thing may be the way they treat Israel’s citizens as enemies.

 

We are nearing the day where a civil war will break out. Especially after a retiring commander recently smeared Tel Avivians, classifying them as bad ones, as opposed to the wonderful settlers. After all, he doesn’t know how many thousands of Tel Avivians fought and died for the existence of this state. He is an ignoramus, yet he is no different than a defense minister who allows us and our sons to be dubbed “Nazis.”

 

It may be that we, the secular Israelis who served in the army and today wish to sit at a café or in a library, to learn and teach at the universities that are the foundation of our economy, appear to be geeks and nerds to the Shoah deniers in Judea and Samaria. Perhaps. Yet they have not encountered us with weapons in our hands, and we need to protect our children and our grandchildren from those who view us as Nazis. We have lost hope that their malice will vanish.

 

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