Since Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel were kidnapped Thursday, the internet and punditocracy have been alive with pointed fingers – at the boys, for not being aware enough while hitchiking, at a “settler” culture of which hitchhiking is a central feature, and especially at the boys’ parents.
“What sort of parent lets a 16-year-old hitchike?”, goes the argument in more editorials and Facebook comments that one would care to mention.
As usual, Women in Green founder Nadia Matar presents a voice of reason and conviction. In a public email distributed on a community-wide email list Tuesday, Matar says simply that life in Judea and Samaria is impossible without “tremping” – hitchhiking – as anyone who lives in Judea and Samaria with teenagers can attest. It’s a tough point to argue – bus service to the yishuvim is infrequent, and often scheduled at inconvenient times.
Even more critical to understand, however, is that hitchhiking is far from the only “dangerous” activity in which Israeli teens routinely take part.
“If we demand our kids to stop hitchiking because of what happened, why don’t we tell people to stop taking buses? You may recall that the Arabs blew up buses by the dozens just a few years ago. And remember Private Eden Attias? He was an IDF soldier stabbed to death by an Arab last November… on a bus near Afula
“Have we lost our mind? Should we stop taking buses?
In addition to the notion that people should avoid buses because of the supposed “danger”, Matar continues to suggest people stop walking down the street to go to a job interview? It’s a dangerous business, Israeli streets, and you wouldn’t want to wind up like Shelly Dadon, the young woman who was killed in November on her way to a job interview.
That’s two Jews in six months, murdered by Arabs in Afula. Perhaps we should pull up stakes and pull out of Afula? And remember another teenager by the name of Gilad Shalit? He, and our other MIAs, were all kidnapped not while hitchhiking but serving in the army. Perhaps the answer to that dangerous activity is to fold up the IDF
Instead of running from every “dangerous” situation, Matar proposes asking only two relevant questions;
- How come the Arabs still have the audacity to carry out terror attacks against Jews- whether it is kidnapping, killing, stone throwing etc…
- What should Israel do to deter the Arabs once and for all from harming Jews?
“There are many answers to these questions-,” she writes, “all related to once and for all getting rid of the Oslo mentality and returning Israel to the path of Zionism and Jewish sovereignty over its land.
“Until such time as our leaders understand that point, we, Am Yisrael, must continue to live as a free people in our land. We must continue to build, settle, plant, walk and drive and take buses in Eretz Yisrael and yes, also to continue to hitchike.