Photo: Reuters
Scene of Tel Aviv attack. The result of a national struggle
Photo: Reuters
Yoaz Hendel

It's government's responsibility to fight radicalization

Op-ed: Most Israeli Arabs want to live in peace and be part of the State of Israel, but they have no political power or support to fight the 'Wild West' taking place around them. The prime minister has no one else to blame for this situation but himself.

The current intifada has been going on for three months. Whoever needed the deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv to understand is happening outside the city, is in need of self-examination.



Welcome to the State of Israel, a state where governability is conditional. It has clear geographical borders, religion, race and gender. In Tel Aviv, one can't close off a balcony without the municipality's approval; outside, it’s a jungle.


The Tel Aviv attack is the result of a national struggle. Unfortunately, it has no historical borders in 1967, and therefore it has no solution through negotiations. On Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the assailant as a murderer rather than as a terrorist. Channel 2 used the same term, and was attacked immediately afterwards by some people on Channel 20.


This is the entire problem within a linguistic debate: Dealing with nonsense, focusing on nonsense, looking for signs of patriotism instead of looking the problem in the eye. Let's toss the political correctness aside for a moment.


Netanyahu is right about the existence of a state within a state. But it's his responsibility, not the Arab sector's. He is the sovereign (Photo: EPA)
Netanyahu is right about the existence of a state within a state. But it's his responsibility, not the Arab sector's. He is the sovereign (Photo: EPA)


Even if the murderer is unstable, and I doubt it, he was aiming to murder Jews. Had he just been aiming to kill, he would have gone out of his house and killed the neighbors. He did it because he heard things on the street or in his surrounding, because he read books or was convinced that the State of Israel in which he lives is his enemy.


The majority want to live in peace, integrate into the State of Israel, be part of it. That's true. But they have no political power and voice today. They have no support to fight against what is going on around them.


The truth is that outside Tel Aviv, there is a serious problem in the Arab sector. The numbers show that the crime rate in violence offenses among Israel's Arabs is double and sometimes triple their part in the general population. Seventy-nine percent of shooting incidents in Israel take place in the Arab sector. Protection rackets, car thefts, honor killings and endless data which show that Israel has a problem. Add that to the illegal construction (about 5,000 buildings a year in the Negev and the Galilee) and agricultural crime which makes farmers give up - and you'll get the lack of governability which we have suddenly been reminded of.


In Israel, there are two states for two people. One sovereign, progressive and enlightened state, where the law is enforced regardless of religion, race or gender, and another state which is sometimes reminiscent of the Wild West.


Who is responsible for this situation? Only we are. Long years of disregard. The prime minister and interior minister have no one else to blame. They were here two and three years ago too. Even six years ago. This isn't a new problem.


Last week, the government made an important decision to invest budgets in the Arab sector. It was accompanied by all the right words about creating governability and civil service. If we seek to create an egalitarian process, we need duties alongside rights. After all, that's the first lesson in political science: Invest, nurture, commit. If the Israeli Arabs' leadership is radical, the State must decide not to wait for the Messiah. Where does all this stand after last week's declarations, after Saturday evening's declarations? In the air.


I have been writing about the lack of governability in the Negev and in the Galilee for several years now. I live in a small moshav in the Jerusalem mountains. No one has to tell me about the agricultural thefts outside the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, about the feeling of chaos. I am part of this story, an activist in the executive committee of the HaShomer HaChadash organization, which was founded to help farmers protect their lands in the Galilee and the Negev. It's part of Lev BaGalil, which aims to convince the government to invest in the Galilee.


These organizations were established because it's easy to ignore. The weapon used by the terrorist in Tel Aviv is completely legal. The terrorist is an Israeli citizen. His family is part of the sector. Don’t tell me things will be different starting tomorrow.


We have no other choice but to live together - Arabs and Jews. Coexistence in a Jewish and democratic state. There are no other patents apart from investing in law enforcement, in duties such as national service and investing in budgets. The majority of the Arab sector wants to integrate into this state. It's the best place in the Middle East to be a Muslim, a Christian or a Jew.


The responsibility for fighting radicalization and encouraging the Israelization process lies on the government's shoulders. Netanyahu was right about the existence of a state within a state. But it's his responsibility, not the Arab sector's. He is the sovereign.


פרסום ראשון: 01.04.16, 18:57
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