Uri Orbach
Photo: Tomer Barzide

Jewish tolerance limited

Arab Israelis may discover that tolerance to anti-Jewish sentiments could disappear

Matan Vilnai was not being nice recently when he said that the Arabs could bring a holocaust upon themselves if they keep on shooting at us. It would have been better had he chosen the word “disaster.” Effie Eitam was also not being nice when he threatened that we will expel Arab citizens of Israel who have been out of control at protest rallies and in the Knesset. The citizenship rights of Israeli Arabs are not conditioned on anything.


However, it should be noted that the words uttered by both Vilnai and Eitam did not cause great shock around here. This is not because most of the Jewish public thinks we should expel the Arabs, bur rather, because most Jews are simply fed up with the conduct of the Palestinians in Gaza, and most Jews are unwilling to tolerate Arab Israelis joining the waves of hate on occasion.


Jewish citizens are unwilling to tolerate a moment of silence for “victims on both sides” at a northern college. Jewish citizens are also unwilling to tolerate an Arab lecturer at the bombarded Sapir College who tells an IDF reservist to leave the classroom because he is wearing an army uniform. We happen to like our IDF uniform.


Jewish citizens, and this includes even absolute leftists, are unwilling to tolerate “death to the Jews” chants at a demonstration led by Knesset members. Our tolerance certainly has a limit, and if Knesset Member Zahalka thinks that one can be both a citizen with equal rights and an Israel hater he is making a grave mistake.


Arab Israeli leaders think that the Jews have completely lost their national feelings, but they are wrong. We, the Jews, have no intention to commit suicide and lose our Jewish State in the name of our democratic values.


Growing anger

The silly statement uttered by Vilnai and the threatening declaration uttered by Effie Eitam were not wise, yet they express growing frustration and anger in the face of out of control Palestinians. The images of the Arabs who committed a pogrom against a vehicle carrying city inspectors in east Jerusalem made it clear who we are dealing with here.


The Jewish public may be a little tired and is not always alert, but the vast majority realizes that a protest of hatred like we saw in the northern town of Umm al-Fahm constitutes a true threat to our wellbeing and not some sort of freedom of expression exercise that we are kind enough to allow on occasion.


The fact that Vilnai’s and Eitam’s recent statements were received with relative quiet is a very bad sign for the Palestinians, both within and beyond the Green Line. Those who think that Jewish citizens have no national feelings towards their state may one day discover that we have nationalistic feelings. Those who think that the Jews don’t care about their honor, and flag, and sovereignty, will not bring a holocaust or expulsion upon themselves, but they will discover that Israel’s Jewish citizens are not suckers, and that we know how to enlist for a cause.


I hope that this question will never face a test, but if it gets to that, heaven forbid, it will suddenly turn out that grave danger overrides tolerance.


פרסום ראשון: 03.11.08, 00:33
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