It was the chronicles of a story foretold: The terrorism of radical Israeli elements against Arabs reached into the Green Line not too long ago, and it was a matter of time before it hit again. Here’s a reminder: In August 2005, four Arabs were murdered and dozens were wounded by Jewish terrorist Eden Natan Zada, the resident of Tapuach in the occupied West Bank. Early Monday, the al-Nur mosque in the Upper Galilee village of Tuba Zangaria was torched.
The terrorists who carried out this despicable act made sure to perpetrate it at a proper timing: These days, the Palestinians in Israel mark the anniversary of the killing of 13 young Arabs in Black October of 2000 by security forces. We can assume that the criminals hoped, for the umpteenth time, to reignite the fire between the Palestinians in Israel and the establishment, which is quick to pull the trigger when dealing with Arabs.
The arson is a direct result of the reckless campaign of incitement against the Palestinian residents of Israel, with the government’s active participation. The Jewish State’s law book has turned into one of the darkest books, as in the current Knesset we’ve seen the Netanyahu-Lieberman government endorsing a great number of racist laws meant to limit Arabs in the country - as democracy is apparently reserved for Jews.
There is not enough room here to include the super-racist statements by Foreign Minister Lieberman, who I had the dubious honor of knowing personally during my studies at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, when he worked as a doorman at one of the city’s pubs.
As is usually the case in Israel, we see almost wall-to-wall consensus that this state must be the nation-state of the Jewish people. Any rookie politician also knows that this demand has become populist, and therefore would miss no opportunity to convey this message. The messages regarding a state for Jews only are perceived in some circles – which are not insignificant – as an indirect call for legitimizing acts against anyone who isn’t Jewish, including terror acts such as the torching of Muslim holy sites, a crime that deserves full condemnation.
Rabbis poison atmosphere
Indeed, the prime minister expressed his profound shock over the mosque arson and ordered the Shin Bet chief to put extra effort into nabbing the perpetrators. In this context we should note that Mr. Netanyahu himself asserted not too long ago the Israel’s Arabs are a ticking demographic time bomb. Former Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin, who served under Netanyahu, also asserted that his organization would persecute radical camps among Israel’s Arabs, as he characterized it, who refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish and democratic state (in the interest of full disclosure, the writer of this piece meets Diskin’s criteria.)
And while we’re at it, we may wonder how the Shin Bet, which is able to resolve grave security and subversive affairs among Israeli Arabs, fails to detain the terrorists hiding behind what is known as price tag.
The atmosphere between Jews and Arabs is poisoned, and the rabbis play a significant role in it. Indeed, it is difficult to fathom how rabbis legitimize anti-Arab acts and distribute books that sanction the murder of Arabs. This is the place to mention that Rabbi Shuel Eliyahu, the rabbi of Safed (which is located near Tuba,) has not quit his incitement against Arabs and occasionally reemerges in our lives: At one time he demanded that Arabs be expelled from the Safed College, and on another occasion he urged his followers not to rent apartments to Arabs, because this is what the Torah says, according to him.
These messages, which seemingly do not include a call for violence, are translated by radicals into the language of despicable acts.
Are we en route to another October? I find it hard to answer the question, yet deep in my heart I hope that we shall remain only with the wounds that have not healed since October 2000.
Zohir Andreus is the chief editor of Israeli Arab newspaper Ma-Alhadath