Recently, the top story on nearly every Israeli news site was the possible involvement of a teenage relative of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane in the arson attack last month on a mosque in the Palestinian village of Yasuf. With the well-known family name splashed across the home page of most major websites, not surprisingly this story generated lots of interest and reactions.
As I browsed from site to site, both in Hebrew and in English, I was amazed at some of the reactions that were simply seething with hatred. Never mind the fact that the kid denied all involvement in the incident, that he claimed he had an alibi as to where he was at the time of the attack, that according to his lawyer he had a clean record, or that he was being investigated without a family member present despite being a minor - his family name alone was enough for him to be considered guilty in the eyes of many.
Where was the sympathy, the compassion for a teenager whose mother and father were both murdered in a terrorist attack nearly 10 years ago? How can it be that the hatred his family name evokes is stronger than the attribute of compassion, supposedly one of the defining characteristics of the Jewish people?
For many there was a sickening feeling when this story made the news, a feeling of déjà vu. In light of the recent freeze on building in Judea and Samaria and the near warlike preparation to enforce the freeze, it appeared that this was simply another well-planned attempt to create incitement against a particular population. Forget about the lack of evidence or simple human compassion for an orphaned kid - his family name and the powerful antagonism it elicits appeared to be too hard to resist.
Public apology in orderAlthough no one knows for certain what is being planned for the future of the Jews living in Judea and Samaria, the gut feeling of many is that it is something in the direction of what was done to the Jews formerly living in Gaza. Of course following the Lebanon War, the Gaza War, and the overall horrendous treatment of the Jews who formerly lived in Gaza, removing even some Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria will not be an easy sell to the Israeli public. For this reason it appears that the incitement card is once again being employed.
The more they are made to look extreme, the easier the sell to the Israeli public.
Although such a tactic is horrible enough in and of itself since we’re talking about turning Jew against Jew, it is beyond despicable to drag the Kahane teen into this just because his family name happens to be very, very useful.
As it turned out, he was released after seven hours of investigation for both lack of any evidence and for verification of his alibi, a chain of events which only strengthened the belief amongst many that this was in fact an attempt to create incitement. Whatever the case, those responsible for arresting him and those who spewed hatred towards him should do some soul searching and offer this kid and his family a public apology.
When will we finally learn that such internal hatred only brings upon us more and more calamities?