“Price tag” vandals struck the small Arab neighborhood of Sharafat between Gilo and the Malcha Mall and Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem Tuesday night, slashed tires of approximately 30 cars and scribbled graffiti on walls.
They sprayed slogans of “No co-existence” and “Arabs=thieves” in the neighborhood.
Yediot Acharonot reported that a security camera showed three masked men carrying backpacks and entering the area around 3 a.m.
Sharafat residents were enraged at the vandalism, which prevented many of them from leaving driving to work because of slashed tires.
Police are investigating, but they have not been able to win a conviction and barely an indictment in hundreds of previous incidents.
The term “price tag’ refers to Jews who take out their anger against Arab terror and more frequently against government anti-nationalist policies by attacking Arab property.
When the fad of crime started, nationalist leaders and rabbis blamed it on undercover agents working for the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and trying to incite hatred of Jews living on outposts in Judea and Samaria.
Many of the attacks have been carried out at churches and monasteries, and when it became overwhelmingly clear that nationalists were involved, their leaders often dismissed the vandals as a tiny minority whose actions may be illegal but pale in comparison with Arab terror.
Be that as it may, on what Talmudic passage do the rabbis base their dismissal of indiscriminate violence as minor pranks and remain silent?
One leading nationalist rabbi, a peaceful Torah scholar who never would encourage violence, told The Jewish Press several months ago he doesn’t believe that Jewish settlers would do such a thing. Sure, there may be a few hotheads, but all of the reports are false or the incidents are instigated by the Shin Bet, in his view.
Last month, several leading national religious rabbis circulated a petition condemning the price tag attacks, but that was the beginning and end of the “campaign” against violence.
But the petition left open huge room for understanding the frustration of attackers.
“There is a wonderful community of thousands of Jews in Judea and Samaria who are loyal to the State of Israel,” the petition said. “This community is often subject to attack by Arab thieves, vandals, and terrorists.
“We truly empathize with the plight of this community. However, we ask the youth and young adults not to allow them to become sucked into acts of revenge and criminal activities as a result,” the petition said.
“The so-called ‘price tag’ attacks are against Jewish law and ethics. They are illegal and cause a desecration of G-d’s Name. Beyond this, the attacks damage the standing of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and stain the names of a large number of law-abiding people.”
“We ask?” That is the best the rabbis can do? “Oh, poor victimized hothead, please be a bit nice because your acts in the name of God may give us a bad image.”
The kind of soft-glove language in the petition is not the way to communicate with young wild idiots who understand nothing but force.
The petition that states that rabbis “empathize” with attackers and sympathize with their being victims is a cop-out of responsibility.
Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun, unarguably one of the most passive and political compromising national religious rabbis, has been one of the few leaders to label the Jewish vandals for what they are. “Whoever does something like this cannot be included in a minyan or called to the Torah,” he stated.
That is the language these criminals understand.
But no group of rabbis in any of the regional councils of Judea and Samaria has taken the initiative to corner the price tag vandals and threatened them with ex-communication.
It is not so easy. One rabbi told The Jewish Press last week that a small group of hotheads in one particular outpost won’t listen to any normal national religious leader. “They are in a cult and they won’t listen to me,” he said.
However, not all of the blame and responsibility has to fall on the rabbis. The vandals usually live adjacent to larger communities, and there is no reason that they cannot place economic sanctions on them and take other measures to help put the vandals behind bars or convince them they are criminals in violation of Jewish and secular law.
Pressure also could come from Yesha, the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, but they have no time for such positive action because they are too busy making fools out of themselves by making fun of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and detaching themselves from the rest of Israel.Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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