Recognizing the Enemy

The Arab violence that Jews in Israel are being subjected to shows signs of spiraling out of control. What began as terrifying knifings all over the country has “graduated” to weapons being fired into crowds, as we saw at the Be’er Sheva Central Bus Station Sunday night. At the same time, Hamas is encouraging its forces in Yehudah and Shomron to carry out suicide attacks, the likes of which Israel experienced in the Second Intifada, which claimed 1,000 lives.

The Palestinian Authority is playing a two-faced game. On the one hand, it is continuing security cooperation. On the other, it is inciting to violence by lying about an Israeli plan to upset the status quo on Har HaBayis and releasing films accusing Israelis of gunning down Palestinian youngsters. “Israeli secular militants execute Palestinian children in the street,” it says, against a backdrop of dramatic music and grieving parents.

Officials like Jibril Rajoub hail those responsible for the knifing attacks as heroes. “I am proud of them and congratulate anyone who committed them [attacks],” he told interviewers, though he advised against buses exploding in Tel Aviv because this would only upset the world.

Perhaps the most dramatic development is the attitude of more and more Israeli Arabs who have joined the battle against Israel. Driven by religious and nationalistic fervor, they have cast their lots with the enemy — including Islamic State and Palestinian terror organizations.

For too long, the government of Israel has buried its head in the sand regarding the nature of the enemy.

For instance, it has agreed to a policy of “family reunification,” which allows Gazans who are married to Israeli Arabs to receive Israeli citizenship. Not surprisingly, many of the Israeli Arabs who have committed terror attacks are the products of such marriages.

What began as a “humanitarian” gesture on Israel’s part afforded radical terror groups in Gaza with an opportunity to plant the seeds of their murderous agenda in towns throughout Israel.

The same is true of Israel’s repeated release of murderous terrorists. It is one thing to release killers after a comprehensive peace has been signed, in the spirit of reconciliation. But it makes no sense to release experienced killers when the enemy is publicly stating its intention to continue attacks.

In failing to recognize the nature of the enemy — not just Hamas, but Palestinians in Yehudah and Shomron and Israeli Arabs — the government was setting the stage for a wave of terror attacks, including the kidnapping and murder of the three boys last summer, Hy”d.

But the greatest example of ignoring reality has been the government’s failure to respond to the wave of terror attacks that began almost three years ago. Hamodia’s military correspondent A. Pe’er filed the following report in June 2013 which revealed the extent of the intifada back then:

“We are seeing hundreds of terrorist incidents. This includes rock-throwings, knifings, rioting, giant demonstrations. Damages to the tune of millions of shekels. The war is being waged full force, but it’s being felt mainly by the half a million residents of Yehudah and Shomron and Yerushalayim residents living near Arab areas.

“The facts and figures are being kept in the safe of the IDF and security forces, and they are shocking. Nearly 1,000 terror incidents a month. Some 50 to 80 Molotov cocktails thrown, 15–20 roadside bombs. There are gunshots and knifings and all the rest.

“What the Palestinian Authority is terming ‘popular resistance’ is not a nonviolent protest. It is a massive, violent movement… the Palestinian Authority is providing money and logistics in its battle…”

Pe’er exposed the nature of the enemy two and a half years ago. But the government and the general media chose to ignore the evidence. Had the security forces been taken seriously then, maybe Israel wouldn’t be forced to deal with the current, even more dangerous, crisis.

The time has come for the government to understand the nature of the enemy. No more “family reunification,” no more prisoner releases, no more passive responses to terrorism.

Lior Ackerman, a former senior Shin Bet official, notes that Palestinians are not scared of the security forces. “In the last few years, Israel has not carried out even one offensive move against terrorist organizations, Hamas in Gaza, Hizbullah or other Islamic organizations in Israel,” he writes in The Jerusalem Post. “Unfortunately, all Israeli actions are proportionate and are only carried out in retaliation for any attack.”

We know that “im Hashem lo yishmor ir, shav shakad shomer.” We are begging for Hashem’s mercy. The time has come that the government will go on the offensive, not just against Palestinian groups but also against Israeli Arabs who are siding with the enemy. The majority of Israeli Arabs are not interested in violence, but there is a need to recognize the nature of the enemy and fight it full force to restore security, b’ezrat Hashem.