The new bus lines are not, as the misleading headlines suggest, only for Arab Palestinians, the restriction they have is that they only stop at Arab towns in the territories, where – few would disagree – Jews with or without special identification would not dare go for fear – a legitimate one – of physical violence. The fact remains that any Israeli citizens, Jewish, Christian or Zoroastrians, who live in the “Jewish” towns, were able to and did use the pre-existing bus lines.
Now that we have some actual facts in front of us, let’s go back to the issue of borders. The primary responsibility of any sovereign nation is the protection of its citizens. Israel, you may have noticed, has been under relentless attack from its Arab neighbors since it was re-born in 1948.
And let’s add into the mix the fact that one of the most “effective” forms of terrorism during the uprisings was the use of suicide bombers on Israeli buses. Hundreds of Israelis were killed and thousands were injured in a few dozen different bus bombings, all of which were perpetrated by Israel-hating Arabs from Israel’s neighborhood. And those were just the attacks that took place on buses or in bus stations. Those numbers don’t include the many times that number of Israelis murdered or wounded by terrorists who infiltrated Israel via its buses for the exclusive purpose of murdering or assisting in the murder of Jews.
Yisrael Medad, a citizen of Shilo and occasional spokesperson for the Yesha communities, told The Jewish Press that the issue is purely this: for someone with a blue identification card (i.e. a citizen of Israel), there is no problem. And there are plenty of non-Jewish citizens of Israel – at least 20 percent, in fact.
Anyone with an orange identification card (i.e. not a citizen of Israel), however, must go through security procedures in order to get on to a bus going into the sovereign state of Israel. Whether that happens when everyone is boarding the bus, or it happens when the bus arrives at a checkpoint, it must happen for security reasons and if an orange card holder – whether from Tahiti or Tulkarem – does not have the requisite evidence, they can’t get on the bus. This is the case with any entry into Israel: Ben Gurion if by air, or border crossings if by road.
Medad also pointed out there have been repeated efforts by agitators to paint Israel as an Apartheid state with an Apartheid transportation system – none of which has been based on reality. Not so long ago a stunt was attempted by what some clever public relations specialists dubbed the “freedom riders.”
“WEST BANK” “FREEDOM RIDERS”
On November 15, 2011, six Arab Palestinians boarded a bus at the psagot junction in Shomron (“West Bank”) amid great media fanfare. They called themselves the “West Bank Freedom Riders.” The media gullibly latched on to the label, and watched, flashed their cameras and gleefully scribbled their stories of racial segregation. When the six refused to show their identification documents at the Chizma checkpoint entrance to Jerusalem, they finally were forcibly removed and temporarily detained.
But here’s the rub: the real freedom riders, the people who actually risked life and limb – and sometimes lost both – to help overcome Jim Crow racism in Mississippi and Alabama and places like that were seeking equal rights for American citizens, not trying to extend privileges reserved for citizens – ones who present no security risk – to non-citizens.
What’s more, as Medad pointed out to The Jewish Press, the six Arabs were not denied the opportunity to ride the bus, they were simply not allowed past a checkpoint into Jerusalem because they refused to show identification. Anyone refusing to show identification would have been treated the same way.
One of the many ironies in this latest attack on Israel’s morality is that the efforts, like mushrooms in the dark, have grown and mutated. For a long time there was a repeated insistence that there are “Jews Only” roads in Israel. Amira Hass, of the hard left Haaretz, was one of the primary dispensers of that tall tale. Of course there are no “Jews only” roads in Israel, just as there are no Jews only buses or even ‘Palestinian only’ buses in Israel. But if you tell a big lie often enough, well, Goebbels was the master and look where that took us.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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