What at first appeared to be individual mischievous acts, and later became methodical “hooliganism,” is increasingly taking the shape of a threatening phenomenon: The desecration of an Arab cemetery and the torching of mosques, schools, fields and vehicles.
The perpetrators of these crimes refer to them as “price tag,” an infuriating term in terms of both morality and logic.
A “price” is exacted, if at all, from those who deserve it. Here, the perpetrators are not even targeting anonymous Arabs to avenge the acts of other Arabs; rather, we see Jews hurting Arabs who are not accused of anything only in order to “pay back” other Jews; that is, Jews in uniform who beat them up or razed their homes.
The “price tag” lawbreakers won’t like this truth, yet with their acts they are hitting the nadir of their worst Arab enemies, whose revenge is blind even within their own people, where it’s enough for the victim to belong to a certain tribe or clan. Questions of justice and morality, such as the victim’s innocence, are irrelevant.
Yet who thought that young Jews would adopt this despicable method and settle their scores with authorities through burned down mosques?
When condemning the “price tag” low point aimed at innocents, we must stay away from sophisticated PLO-style statements: That is, bogus condemnations while assigning blame to the victim. Mahmoud Abbas, for example, does not denounce Arab terror on moral grounds, but rather, because it undermines Arab interests. That is, it doesn’t pay off. His predecessor, Arafat, would add a big “but” to any condemnation: The acts must be understood against the backdrop of the occupation – in short, he was showing understanding.
Here, the “price tag” tactic also does not “pay off”, as it taints the settlement enterprise - which is as just and moral as it gets – more than radical leftist smearing could ever do. Nonetheless, the public outcry must discount any such cost-benefit considerations. We must not show restraint, we must not get used to it, and we must not tolerate a wicked tactic of hurting people who had done no wrong, regardless of who these people are.
We must also not justify the “price tag” actions indirectly, against the backdrop of the oppression of settlers by the military administration, which no longer applies to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria but is being strictly applied mostly against Jews. It would be appropriate to counter this twisted reality, but not with the twisted logic of the price tag method.
The defense minister’s cruelty towards Jews does not justify a “response” directed at Arabs. If we lose our humanity along the way, one day we’ll be asking what’s the point of it all.
Meanwhile, alongside reports of the desecration of an ancient cemetery, we also heard that someone vandalized the vehicle of Ze’ev Hever (Zambish.) Oddly, this act may somewhat mitigate the verdict of these price tag perpetrators, as people who target the greatest builder in the Land of Israel these
days may be more disturbed than they are wicked, and may require treatment more than punishment.
It’s hard to believe that we can convince the involved parties with words, yet nonetheless, we must not remain silent in the face of an injustice. “Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.” (Leviticus 19:17)