Note to readers: This column was translated into English from the Makor Rishon newspaper. The column was written after a recent Israeli government attempt to destroy the Ramat Gilad neighborhood and the violence that ensued.
It is wrong to throw rocks at IDF soldiers. We must do all that we can to uproot this phenomenon. But the mad witch-hunt that raged recently has nothing to do with concern for and loyalty to the IDF.
Every Friday for years, leftist demonstrators would gather near the Arab village of Bil’in. They would routinely throw rocks at the soldiers there. One border policeman lost his eye as a result. Other soldiers were seriously injured. But it did not interest the media. Nobody stuck a microphone into the face of Amos Oz or any other leftist “high priest” to ask how those weeds had grown up in their garden. The wife of the border policeman who lost his eye didn’t get any air time, the general did not pontificate about hatred (the likes of which he had never seen), the chief of staff did not give interviews, nobody declared that the anarchists are a terror organization, and the prime minister did not convene an emergency Knesset committee meeting. None of that happened.
Why not? Because the protesters in Bil’in come from the same social and ideological milieu as the media. Why create a scandal against themselves? Why make people feel disgust for your own ideology?
In other words, the mad witch-hunt raging now in Israel has nothing to do with honesty. The hands holding the microphones are truly not clean, and those who have rushed to condemn the rock throwing at IDF soldiers played into the media’s hands and fanned the flames. We are experiencing untamed political incitement under the guise of patriotism. I am willing to bet that the settlers have a much higher percentage of sons in the army than Israel’s broadcasters, and they surely are as concerned for their welfare as are the talking heads.
It would be easy to stop the “price tag operations” if we would really want to face the truth: The youth of Judea, Samaria and Gaza have grown up into a reality in which the state and the army persecute them and destroy their homes. In other words, the state and the army have effectively turned themselves into the enemy. These youths have grown up into a reality in which they have no human rights, a reality in which Peace Now, the state’s attorney and the High Court urge the IDF and the police to attack them, a reality in which the media insult and abuse them and the rabbis condemn them, a reality that pushes them far into a corner where they can try to defend themselves. This is the reality of our 14-year-olds. What is Israeli society so surprised about?
We must keep in mind that the rock attack on the soldiers took place in the backdrop of the bulldozers on their way to destroy Ramat Gilad, a neighborhood built on private Jewish property, and authorized by former prime minister Ariel Sharon as part of a master plan to build 185 housing units there. The agricultural lands in the neighborhood have been worked for 29 years. No Arab has ever challenged Jewish ownership of the lands. According to the Ottoman law, which still applies today in Judea and Samaria, everything about the neighborhood is strictly kosher. Nevertheless, new bylaws have been put into place, relevant only to Jews to make the neighborhood “illegal.” Defense Minister Ehud Barak wasted no time to send in the bulldozers.
It is a crime to throw rocks at soldiers. But it is even worse to destroy Jewish homes in the Land of Israel, to drive families out of their homes, and to decimate synagogues. A smalltime criminal works against the law. But a big-time criminal works within the law. Usually, he wears a uniform. The government can quickly enact the legislation necessary to legalize the outposts and restore the political commissars of the “justice system” to their natural size. If no major crimes will be perpetrated in the name of the law, there won’t be any small crimes either, and peace and truth will reign once more.
About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.
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