In one 24-hour period this week we witnessed three murderous attacks on Jews in three different locations in Israel.
On Sunday night, a man driving in the village of Taibe was stopped by a mob, dragged out of his car and nearly lynched. This wasn’t Ramallah or Shechem. It was central Israel. These weren’t Palestinians, but Israeli Arabs. The victim, who speaks a Russian-accented Hebrew, had only one way to describe his deliverance from near-certain death: “It was a miracle.”
On Monday afternoon, in Tel Aviv, a soldier was stabbed and critically wounded by an Arab from Shechem who tried to steal his weapon to commit further acts of terror. As of this writing, the soldier was fighting for his life.
A few hours later, a young woman, believed to be in her mid-20s, was stabbed to death while waiting at a bus stop outside Alon Shvut, a religious community in Gush Etzion. Two others were lightly wounded. The attack took place just 100 yards from where the three boys — Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrach, Hy”d — were kidnapped this past summer, setting off a wave of violence from which we’ve yet to recover.
Yerushalayim is under siege. Three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and 22-year-old Karen Yemima Mosquera, Hy”d, are run over and killed at a light-rail station that is but a stone’s throw from Ramat Eshkol and Sanhedria Hamurchevet.
Shalom Aharon Badani, Hy”d, a 17-year-old yeshivah bachur who is the grandson of Harav Shimon Badani, shlita, a member of the Shas Council of Torah Sages, is run over near Zvhill, a short walk to Jaffa Gate.
It is dangerous to go to the Kosel. It is dangerous to go to Har Hazeisim.
Yehudah Glick is shot at short range in the streets of Yerushalayim. He is the son of American immigrants, and yet there is no Western outrage. True, his views are incorrect and run counter to poskim. But that doesn’t justify attempted murder. Nor does it justify silence in the face of such a heinous crime.
A police officer is attacked by a 22-year-old knife-wielding Israeli Arab in Kafr Kana and shoots to kill. Only in Israel is self-defense against terrorism regarded as justification for further terrorism and rioting.
The government continues business as usual, even as its citizens in Yerushalayim, Tel Aviv, Gush Etzion and the north are afraid to stand at a bus stop for fear that the next car that approaches might drive straight into them.
The big news from the Cabinet this Sunday was Amir Peretz’s resignation. But whether he goes or stays is irrelevant. What is relevant now is doing something about terrorism.
And that starts with facing the reality that the third intifada is underway and Israel must fight as it did in the first two uprisings of 1987 and 2000. It means ripping the mask off PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Whether he incites to violence and honors terrorists by naming city squares after them because he wants to gain the support of the Palestinian street or because he truly believes in violence is irrelevant. Israel’s job isn’t to be his psychologist and try to understand his motivation; it is to prevent him from acting in a way that jeopardizes the Jews of Israel.
Recognition that this is an intifada and not just localized “disturbances” means changing Israel’s defense strategy. As Hamodia’s defense correspondent A. Pe’er points out in this week’s “Privileged Information” column, the problems in Yerushalayim cannot be handled by dispatching another thousand policemen to the capital and certainly not by putting cement barriers in front of light-rail stations. It requires troops. It requires a military presence that is capable of gathering intelligence on the terrorists, combatting them effectively and thereby deterring future attacks.
Ultimately, the safety of Jews is solely in the Hands of Hashem. However, one of the primary roles of a government is to provide security for its populace. The government of Israel has miserably failed to live up to its obligations in this regard and has only itself to blame for the current wave of violence. In ignoring the open challenge to Israeli sovereignty over places like Har Hazeisim and the Kosel, it emboldened the Palestinians, and led them to believe that they could exert control anywhere in Israel, without consequences.
It’s time to understand that the Palestinians are at war with Israel and if Israel doesn’t respond quickly and effectively it will, chalilah, find itself in a war with Israeli Arabs in the Triangle, the Negev and elsewhere.
The fire must be put out, now, before it spreads out of control.
That’s the task of the government and the security forces. As for the rest of us, it is incumbent upon us to feel the pain of others who are victimized, to daven for comfort for bereaved families and for a refuah shleimah for the wounded, and to beseech Hashem for peace, the genuine thing that we’ll see with the coming of Moshiach bimheirah