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February 22, 2017 / 26 Shevat, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘highway’

Arab Motorists Slow Down Fast Highway Protesting Demolitions of Illegal Construction

25 Tevet 5777 – January 23, 2017

Serious traffic jams were recorded Monday morning on Israel’s fast toll highway Rt. 6, near the Niztanei Oz interchange close to Netanya, the result of a demonstration of the Islamic Movement against recent home demolitions in the Bedouin town of Umm el-Hiran in the Negev as well as in nearby Arab Qalansawe. According to Israeli media, dozens of vehicles bearing the Palestinian Authority flag were moving slowly down all three lanes.

Walla cited Israeli motorists who were yelling at traffic police: “Who’s ever heard of such a thing? Police motorcycles are accompanying caravans with Palestinian flags on Israel’s main highway?”

“Instead of police writing them tickets and removing those flags from the vehicles, they are providing them with an entourage,” another driver complained.

Anti-demolition rally in Wadi Ara

Anti-demolition rally in Wadi Ara

On Saturday, Police would not arrest activists of the northern faction of the Islamic movement who organized a rally of an estimated 4,500 in Wadi Ara, on another vital highway connecting Israel’s coastal highway outside Hadera with the inland city of Afula, leading to Tveria and Tsfat. The rally was organized by the faction’s leader Raed Salah who had been recently released from prison.

Hundreds of additional vehicles left Bedouin enclaves Umm al-Hiran and Rahat on their way to Jerusalem to protest government’s refusal to release the body of the Bedouin driver who rammed and killed a policeman last week.

Trans-Israel Highway Extension Reaches Northern Negev

5 Kislev 5777 – December 4, 2016

The long-awaited extension of the Highway 6 Cross-Israel Highway has reached the northern Negev at last.

A new section of Highway 6 opened last week between the Shoket Interchange and the Shoket West Interchange in the Negev, broadening access to Highway 60 south of Be’er Sheva, and communities such as Omer and Meitar.

The extension also feeds out on to Highway 31, which has been upgraded from a narrow two-lane country road into a straightened-out, four-lane highway.

(If only someone would stop stealing the copper wire and LED bulbs from the street lights long that super-long stretch of dark night along the isolated segments of the highway, where Bedouin villages are nestled back among the hills ….)

Eventually, the plans for Highway 6 are set to include an extension to reach Nevatim, the recently completed IDF Training Base city. The 13-kilometer stretch between the Shoket and Nevatim Interchanges are next on the list.

Some of the road is a toll road, and some of it is free. The toll road begins from the Sorek Interchange, and continuing north.

The speed limit has just been raised to 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour).

At present, the entire length of the highway spans 175 kilometers, north to south, including 18 interchanges to Shoket West, totalling a journey of 90 minutes.

Israeli Arab Stone Throwers Damage Buses on Highway to Jerusalem

16 Tishri 5777 – October 17, 2016

For the second time in recent days, stone throwing Israeli Arabs on Monday night inflicted damages on a bus going through the Ginaton Junction, where Route 40 and Highway 443 to Jerusalem meet

Another bus windshield was smashed in a stone throwing attack on a bus Monday night, near the Haredi City of Beitar Ilit. The driver was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Show Me Your Driver’s License… [video]

20 Tammuz 5776 – July 26, 2016

Police officer Roni Shreiberman pulled over an ATV vehicle driving down an Israeli highway on Monday, only to discover that it was a toy ATV being driven by 2 very, very young Bedouin children.

The policeman was trying to get them to tell him where they are from, as a passing driver yells out to check their driver’s license.

Abandoned Car on Highway 5 Was Checked for Explosives But Found to be Stolen Vehicle

18 Iyyar 5776 – May 25, 2016

When a car ignored an order to stop and instead careened through a checkpoint on the cross-Samaria Highway Wednesday afternoon, security personnel immediately contacted regional police Wednesday afternoon.

But upon seeing the vehicle stop meters away and its occupants exit the car and dash away, the officers also summoned the bomb squad to the scene, just to be sure.

In the current environment, you can’t be too careful, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The incident took place near the Jewish community of Oranit, located just a few minutes away from Highway 6 and about 10 minutes northeast of Petach Tikva.

The highway was closed in both directions as sappers began to check the car for explosives. Happily, there’s good news: the vehicle was stolen and the papers found inside were fake.

The highway has since been reopened to traffic.

All’s well that ends well. Police arrested a suspect in connection with the theft within the hour, and transferred the detainee to security personnel for questioning.

No injuries were reported.

New Jerusalem Entrance Highway to Be Named for Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

10 Heshvan 5774 – October 14, 2013

A new highway planned for the entrance to Jerusalem and to bring motorists through the Har Nof neighborhood will be named after Rabbi Ovadia Yosef whose home was located there.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said Highway 16, to be named in memory of the rabbi, will connect with the entrance to Begin Highway near Sha’arei Tzedek Hospital.

“Road 16 will symbolically link two great men: Menachem Begin and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef through the two main entrances to the city,” he said.

Two of Four Killed in Bus-Truck Crash Were Soldiers

29 Av 5773 – August 4, 2013

At least two of four people killed in a bus-truck crash on Israel’s high-speed Highway 6 (Kvish 6) Sunday have been identified as soldier Cps. Chai Ben Naim of Rishon LeTzion, near Tel Aviv, and First Sergeant Kfir Dahari of Yavne, south of Rishon LeTzion.

The names of the other two victims have not been released.

The truck was disabled on the shoulder of the north-south highway, and police are investigating if the truck was jutting on to the highway and are questioning the bus driver why he did not notice the truck before ramming into it.

The bus was destroyed, and 30 other people were injured. Police have taken away the licenses of both drivers.

Palestinian Authority Death Wish Shuns Superhighways and Trains

19 Av 5773 – July 25, 2013

The Palestinian Authority has proved its death wish again by it fierce reaction to IDF approval of a grandiose plan, years away for reality, that would provide trains service to Arab cities in Judea and Samaria and propel economic growth but with the “price tag” of also being beneficial to Jews.

“This [plan] shows not only Israel’s short-term illegal activities in terms of settlement expansion, but its long term planning and execution of colonial projects that aim at nothing less than ending the two-state solution,” PA spokesman Husam Zomlot said.

If there is one area in which  chairman Mahmoud Abbas excels it is cutting off his own nose to spite his face, or more accurately the face of nearly more than 1.5 million Arabs living in Judea and Samaria.

Several years ago, Israel considered building its “Kvish 6” (Highway 6) north-south superhighway toll road east of the current route so that it would bring Arabs and Jews in Judea and Samaria closer to metropolitan Tel Aviv. It also would have cemented an Israeli presence in the region.

The highway, which now extends a short distance from Haifa all the way to the suburbs of Be’er  Sheva, has been a boon to industry and housing, enabling Israelis to cut driving times in half. New industry has brought thousands of jobs to areas that were formerly undeveloped.

Ramallah, Jenin, Shechem, and Hevron could have enjoyed the benefits, but the Israeli government was scared that the Palestinian Authority might eventually rake in all the cards and create a Judenrein country in Judea and Samaria. Investors, many of whom were more interested in capitalism than Zionism, encouraged the current route that stays out of Judea and Samaria.

When the city of Jerusalem built its light rail system to include northern Jerusalem, which the Palestinian Authority claims will be part of its state one day, chairman Mahmoud Abbas went bonkers because it challenged PA soverisgnty over the capital.

The light rail system allows Arabs, as well as Jews, to ride into the city and work and shop without the miserable traffic jams in the capital, where homes and offices crowds over two lane roads that leave little room for widening.

Now comes the Transportation Ministry’s railroad plan, announced earlier this year and given the nod by the military.

It would include more approximately 300 miles of track along 11 rail lines, running from Hevron, approximately 15 miles south of Jerusalem, linking the Jordan Valley to the east and running northward to include Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jenin and Shechem.

Just think of the boon for Arab workers and industries, which would be able to receive raw materials near their factories and ship finished product by rail to the ports of Haifa and Ashdod.

The long-term for the railway system is for it to run from Ramallah to the Allenby Bridge, on the border with Jordan, and to connect rail lines to Gaza and Arab countries.

Just think how that could unify Ramallah and Gaza by bringing them together.

But the Palestinian Authority  does not think like that.

They say, “Just think of what those trains would do for the Jews. It would reach the illegal colonial settlement of Maaleh Adumim [a city of approximately 40,000 east of Jerusalem]. It would benefit those settlers in Gush Edition, some of whom are sitting on property that was occupied  before the reestablishment of Israel by  – Jews. Oh well, let’s forget about that little fact.

“Anything that helps a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is immoral. It defeats the two-state solution.” That refers to the two state, living side by side in peace and harmony, where Arabs lives in Israel and do not let Jews live in Judea and Samaria.

The Palestinian Authority has not learned its lesson from being left out of Highway 6. Earlier this week, Israel said that a proposed Highway 9 will link Hadera, located southwest of Haifa and northeast of Tel Aviv, with communities to the east.

The official WAFA news agency stated, “The establishment of ‘Road 9’ will destroy the two-state solution and prevent the establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state. The planned ‘Road 9’ will link the coastal Israeli city of Hadera with illegal settlements in Jenin and the Jordan Valley.”

Waze Defeats Google

13 Sivan 5773 – May 21, 2013

Israel’s Waze user-run navigation service easily beat out Google’s app Tuesday night when the Israel Electric Corp. closed down the high-speed Ayalon Highway that runs through Tel Aviv.

Drivers using the Google app, which uses Android devices that broadcast information of traffic, found themselves being directed to the Ayalon even though it was closed, the Globes business website reported.

On the other hand, Waze, which operates on drivers’ reports, directed motorists to alternate routes.

The website noted that Waze learned its lesson from a disastrous mix-up four months when its system directed drivers to the Ayalon, which had been closed due to flooding. Waze later made it possible for drivers to report blocked roads, which saved the day on Tuesday.

Highway Construction Uncovers Spectacular 1500-Year-old Mosaic

4 Sivan 5773 – May 12, 2013

Excavations on the route of a new superhighway north of Be’er Sheva have uncovered a spectacular 1,500-year-old mosaic in the field of a kibbutz, providing vacationers for those with an extended Shavuot holiday to view the latest discovery.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Cross-Israel Highway Company, which operates “Kvish 6,” or Highway 6,  is opening  the excavation free of Charge on Thursday morning until noon, when schools and man Yom Ha’atzmaut government offices are closed as an extra day off following Shavuot. The Jewish holiday, also known as Pentecost, is celebrated only one day in Israel but two days outside the country.

The colorful dating to the Byzantine period between the 4th and 6th centuries was exposed in recent weeks in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Kama, located approximately 15 miles north of Be’er Sheva and 50 miles south of Tel Aviv.

During the Byzantine period Jewish and Christian settlements in the region were located next to each other. A synagogue and ritual bath (mikveh) were exposed in two nearby ancient Jewish communities

Before road builders can start getting ready to pave the extension of the highway from north of Beit Kama to a junction only 10 miles north of Be’er Sheva, excavations are carried out to determine if there are historical treasures underground. The archaeological site covers 1.5 acres on kibbutz farmland.

Several astounding finds already have been declared by the IAA, but the mosaic is one of the most spectacular of its kind in the country.

The main building at the site was a large hall 12 meters long by 8.5 meters wide and its ceiling was apparently covered with roof tiles. The hall’s impressive opening and the breathtaking mosaic that adorns its floor suggest that the structure was a public building.

The well-preserved mosaic is decorated with geometric patterns and its corners are enhanced with amphorae – jars used to transport wine – a pair of peacocks, and a pair of doves pecking at grapes on a tendril. These are common designs that are known from this period; however, what makes this mosaic unique is the large number of motifs that were incorporated in one carpet.

Pools and a system of channels and pipes between them used to convey water were discovered in front of the building. Steps were exposed in one of the pools and its walls were treated with colored plaster, known as fresco.

Archaeologists in the Antiquities Authority are still trying to determine the purpose of the impressive public building and the pools whose construction required considerable economic resources.

The site seems to have consisted of a large estate that included a church, residential buildings and storerooms, a large cistern, a public building and pools surrounded by farmland. Presumably one of the structures served as an inn for travelers who visited the place.

The Other Caped Crusader

17 Kislev 5773 – November 30, 2012

I quit my full-time job eight months ago without another one to fall back on. In hindsight, it wasn’t one of my better decisions, but it was time for me to move forward. I was in a position that never quite suited me – like an ill-fitting pair of shoes that’s one size too small and rubs across the toes. Sure, a nagging thought called a recession cropped up from time-to-time before I resigned, but I was confident I would only be on the market for a few weeks, max. Armed with a new LinkedIn profile and a heaping dose of faith, I bid farewell to my boss and colleagues of six years to embark on my new journey.

The job hunt went well at first, until I realized my journey had taken me down a metaphorical six-lane highway, ejected me from the car, and thrown me down an embankment. I lay among the debris, moaning. I managed to crawl back up, only to lie down in the middle of the highway as traffic barreled down on me. And I stayed there – unemployed – for months. I began arguing with God. “How could you do this to me?” I howled. “I’m a good person. I don’t deserve this.” I was greeted with silence.

Echoes of the poem “Footprints” ran through my mind: “You promised me Lord that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?” More silence.

I rolled over on the now jam-packed highway to confirm that my super-hero cape –emblazoned with the word “righteous” on the back – was still firmly affixed to my neck. It was. I could not make any sense as to why God had not yet sent me a rental car to get me back on my journey. I reasoned perhaps He was waiting for some additional prayers. “Fine,” I thought. “Let’s get this over with.”

“Please God,” I began. “Please send me a new job. I have always been a good servant to You. I am honest and ethical and I call my mother almost every day.” Silence. I needed a different tack. “The emotional and financial toll of my unemployment on my family is heartbreaking,” I pleaded. “They shouldn’t suffer because You haven’t sent me a new job.”

There was an angry silence – but this time, it was mine.

That was it. All bets were off. I was fuming. I had no choice but to officially declare war on God. I would not speak to Him unless spoken to – and since that seemed rather unlikely given the chilly reception I had been receiving – I decided from that moment forward, we would maintain separate lives and living quarters. I stopped davening. I stopped hoping. I cursed my fate and my belief system, angry at being punished. I began an accounting of all the things that had gone wrong in my life and found God sorely lacking. But I was not ready to admit defeat. I would not let God off the hook for abandoning me in my time of need.

And from the rubble that was now my life, a calm voice – one of reason – suddenly emerged. “You can’t lie down across a six-lane highway and expect to be saved,” God said. “But the cape,” I said, my voice trailing off. “What about the cape? Did you see it? I’m a righteous individual, a good person,” I argued. “I know I haven’t given much to charity lately, but what do you expect when you refuse to send me a new job?”

“Roll over,” God said. I did. “The other side,” God instructed. And there it was on my cape. “Self” was inscribed just before the word “righteous.”

I was embarrassed. There it was for all to see – like the Scarlet Letter. I had been self-righteous and pompous and I had to own my mistakes. “I sinned against you,” I told God. “I failed in my journey of faith.”

It’s About Time! [Video]

5 Kislev 5773 – November 19, 2012

Here’s a video of a settler who was stopped once too many by “non violent” foreign anarchists and Arabs blocking the highway. Her solution was simple – and I must tell you, as a cab driver in NY City back in the 1980s I had to utilize the same reasonable approach to law and order.

All I can say is that if anyone, of any sex, creed, color and ethnicity, tries to block my car with my family in it “peacefully,” in a group of youths who could be wielding rocks – I’m not sticking around to soothe his gripes. One foot on the gas, both hands on the wheel, no looking back.

Pass it on. It might just be that Israelis are finally removing the diaspora brain chip. That’s a reason for a celebration!

Of course, I’m not promoting violence here, I don’t think folks should go out of their way to ram into protesters. But if you’re surrounded by a mob and fear for your safety — put your foot to the pedal and the pedal to the metal.

By the way, all the protesters got off the road after that.

Palestinians and Foreign Provocateurs Block Road 443

1 Heshvan 5773 – October 16, 2012

Some 30 Palestinians and foreign provocateurs blocked traffic on road 443 on Tuesday afternoon.  Road 443 is a main highway that connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv via the city of Modiin.

Police and Border Police cleared out the protesters and traffic continued on its way.

Palestinians Attack Jewish Youth on Hike

6 Av 5772 – July 24, 2012

On Tuesday evening, three Palestinians attacked an Israeli youth who was hiking along the Meir Spring near Neve Tzuf. The youth did not require medical treatment.

IDF forces arrived at the scene, as well as some Neve Tzuf residents.

Concurrently, 20 Palestinians came out from their village of Neve Salach and began throwing stones at the highway and at the IDF forces.

The Israeli citizens then left and the IDF bgean using tear gas on the Arab rioters.

Social Protesters Blocking Main Tel Aviv Highway

3 Av 5772 – July 21, 2012

Social Protesters are currently blocking the Ayalon Highway in both directions. They are blocking the highway near the Shalom Junction. Firemen are stationed at the protest, apparently just in case anyone else tries to light them self on fire.

Israel’s Transportation Revolution is Underway

27 Tammuz 5772 – July 17, 2012

The Ministry of Transport published last week a primarily web-based campaign showing the impending changes, transformations and expansions undertaken in air, sea, and land transportation in the country. The Ministry of Transport, headed by Minister Israel Katz, has been working intensively in recent years to develop and implement far-reaching programs that could affect every Israeli citizen’s life. Videos distributed by the Ministry of Transport online show the expected investment of about 100 billion Shekels over the next six to eight years. The Ministry’s publicized objective is the promotion of national transportation that will leverage economic development, connect the periphery to the major cities, and place Israel among the most advanced countries in terms of transportation.

It is no secret that  transportation development has suffered neglect and lack of promotion in the past two decades. Until recently, roads have not been revamped, the train’s route was not developed, and traffic jams across the country intensified due to an increase in the number of private vehicles. Today, most citizens own at least one car, and in many cases two, a situation demanding immediate solutions. Lately, however, Israel has witnessed developments everywhere. Across the country, from north to south, there are new roads, interchanges have been built, railroads placed and more.

In Jerusalem, the Ministry promises to construct a new entrance. The road will be called “Route 16” and will reach downtown. The road will contain mostly tunnels and should relieve traffic congestion. The busy highway 1 linking Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will become a two-track road which should, according to transportation officials, solve the heavy load on this road.

Also, a special railway line of about 57 km should  be open by the year 2017, which will connect Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by only 28 minutes travel.

In the North, one of the major projects that the Ministry of Transport presented is the establishment of the Golani Junction interchange – a huge project that began this year and is scheduled to be concluded in 2013. The junction will connect in the future to a network of highways and to Highway 6, which will allow a smoother trip with no traffic lights from the north of the country to its center.

Another project is the extension of  Highway 6, Israel’s most significant highway. Today it ends in the north at the Ein Tut intersection near Yokneam. In the future it will be expanded to Shlomi, taking the highway even further North. As for the southern segment of the highway, The Ministry of Transport promised to expand the highway  to the outskirts of Be’erSheva, which will further connect the south to central Israel.

A more grandiose project is the “Ha’Emek Train” – a flagship project of the Ministry which has set to develop the Valley Railroad, establishing a fast connection along the Haifa – Nazareth – Beit Shean rout. This project is scheduled to be ended by 2016. Minister Katz briefly introduced the project’s future benefits for the entire region: “The Jordanians are interested in promoting such a project, which will allow them to export and import cargo by train, arriving at the port of Haifa.”

In the center of the country, the Ministry of Transport presented the light rail which should constitute in the near future an extensive transportation network in the greater Tel Aviv area. The first line to be built is the Red Line, which will connect Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Petach Tikva, Bnei Brak and Bat Yam. The 11-billion-Shekel project will include additional lines, and will be completed gradually by 2017.

Furthermore, the ministry is establishing in the Sharon area a transportation system of special buses called BRT lines, which will have its separate lanes. The BRT lines  are intended to transport large numbers of passengers. The network is scheduled to be opened in 2014.

In the south of the country, modern rail lines should connect the Tel Aviv metropolitan area to the south of the country, including Eilat, and will allow passengers on the train to get from Tel Aviv to Eilat in two hours. At Timna,  a new international airport will replace the existing one in Eilat. The new airport will be called “Ramon Airport,” named after Ilan Ramon, an Air Force pilot and the first Israeli astronaut, and Assaf Ramon, Ilan’s son who was also an air force pilot and who was recently killed in a training accident. The Ministry of Transport did not supply an exact date of completion for this project.

An American Odyssey (Part 11)

22 Tammuz 5772 – July 11, 2012

We left Reno, Nevada, early Sunday morning and decided to take the scenic route to Salt Lake City, rather than travel by super highway, but Route 50 turned out to be not very scenic as we crossed Nevada and Utah. We stopped at a roadside table at noon, where the men heated and ate LaBriute meals while the women enjoyed their cottage cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, fruit and vegetables. We have followed this pattern of meals ever since the women decided not to eat the packaged meals.

Three times during our return trip (eastward to Florida), we lost an hour when we entered a new time zone, as we did when we entered Utah. We had planned to spend two days traveling to Salt Lake, but, with little to see on the way, we drove straight there in one day. On the way, we stopped in Utah at another Maverik service station and enjoyed the delicious kosher frozen yogurt in the food shop. My brother, Avi, used his Internet access to order us two rooms at a Quality Inn motel. We arrived late and were happy to find very comfortable accommodations.

We spent the next morning at the Mormon Family History Library. We were very careful to give them as little family information as possible because the Mormons are rumored to use their list of Jews to baptize them after death. We were hesitant to use their facilities but they are very up-to-date technologically and have all of the latest software. It was an interesting experience and the workers there were courteous and helpful. We were careful to wear yarmulkes rather than caps so that there would be no question as to who we were.

We toured the Utah State Capitol building and then drove to the Salt Lake and Island. We drove to the Olympic Park built for the 2002 winter Olympic Games. I “flew” down on the extreme zipline and all four of us took the tour of the park. It was a very interesting visit.

Dov on the extreme zipline in Salt Lake City.

Our next stop was Rawlings, Wyoming, where we found reasonable accommodations for the evening. The very high price of fuel has severely impacted the tourism industry and we found that we had little trouble finding accommodations without advance booking. We left Rawlings the next morning and drove to Laramie where we toured the former state prison. We joined a guided tour and learned the interesting history of the prison and its outlaws. Butch Cassidy and other outlaws were housed in tiny cells and most probably worked making brooms, the main industry at the prison. We also visited the museum in Cheyenne and several other tourist sites.

That afternoon we crossed into our 13th state, Colorado, on our way to Denver. After checking into our Denver motel we drove to the East Side Kosher Deli and enjoyed a delicious meal. I loved the spare ribs and the prices were reasonable. We loaded up our cooler with packaged meats and cold cuts for the coming days. That evening we experienced our first rain (a thunder storm) of the trip. We have been very fortunate with pleasant weather for the past few weeks while we visited 13 States and drove more than 7,000 miles.

We started our next morning at the Mizel Museum of Jewish Art. It is a lovely museum and we especially enjoyed the “4,000 Years of Journey” exhibition. I hope to dedicate a separate article to the colorful exhibits of this beautiful museum and to its dedicated staff. My wife, Barbara, wrote in her diary, “What a great museum!” We were a bit surprised by the very few visitors that we encountered in the museum while we were there.

Next State: Nebraska

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com.

The Bible and the US Constitution Protect the KKK’s Right To ‘Adopt-A-Highway’

13 Tammuz 5772 – July 2, 2012

Conspicuously wearing my kippah, I walked out of a TJ Maxx in Cincinnati Ohio, where I was visiting family, when a car full of skinheads sped up to me with arms stretched out the window in a Hitler salute chanting “Sieg heil!” I sternly retorted: “I condemn and despise your hateful ideology but support your right to free expression!” If these Neo-Nazi skinheads thought Jewish people were strange, I’m sure my response confirmed it.

The Georgia Department of Transportation rejected the Ku Klux Klan’s application to adopt a highway because of the group’s hateful ideology. The American Civil Liberties Union is now defending the Klan. Despite the KKK’s despicable and hateful ideology, the First Amendment protects their free speech, and therefore their right to participate in Georgia state’s Adopt-a-Highway program.

At face value, Jewish law does not appear to support pure free speech. It does, however, recognize and espouse the benefits of rigorous debate. The interpretation of Jewish law is in fact created through heated debate, for example, between the schools of Hillel and Shamai. The Jewish approach tends not towards regulating different opinions, but rather promoting the “marketplace of ideas,” believing that is where the truth of matter will be revealed.

Laws prohibiting the government from regulating hate speech, excluding of course obscenity, defamation, and incitement to riot, are generally unconstitutional in the United States. U.S. Supreme Court opinions dating back to Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire 315 U.S. 568 (1942) affirm that speech directed at a specific individual meant to inflict injury or “incite an immediate” threat (i.e., yelling “fire” in a theater) is not protected under the First Amendment. However, unless you can show that the words pose a direct and immediate threat, hate speech is still generally protected.

The more difficult question is where do we draw the line when it comes to hate speech that is not designed to incite but is an expression of a hateful ideology? Should society regulate speech such as a sign bearing the insignia of the Georgia KKK on an interstate highway?

In Jewish law the punishment for hate speech (e.g. Lashon Hora) is a heavenly dermatological disease called tzaraat. In Numbers 12:10 Miriam is afflicted with the disease for criticizing the Ethiopian race of Moses wife. Interestingly, nature and the divine, not the justice system, afflict an offender with tzaraat (Artscroll Tanach, Leviticus 13, commentary, page 272). Those afflicted with tzaraat were marginalized from society, in designated camps, as part of their atonement (Leviticus 13:45-46). The inherent message is that we don’t need to ban or censor hateful speech, because the real solution is marginalizing hateful ideology through truthfulness. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said it best: “Freedom of speech carries with it certain obligations. One of those is to condemn false speech. The best answer to false speech is not censorship, it is truthfulness.”

Racist, homophobic, and hateful organizations like the Ku Klux Klan undermine their ideology more than promote it. Allowing them to speak in public helps expose them for who they are. The best way to respond and defeat those ideologies is by exposing them.

By attempting to suppress their speech we only make them stronger. Racist ideologies thrive in countries like Austria, France, and the United Kingdom, where hate speech is restricted. For instance, the Netherlands islamophobic and racist Party for Freedom received almost 1.5 million votes in the 2010 election. Those guilty of hate speech often garner media attention, become martyrs, and use speech suppression as a recruitment tool.

In 2004 when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the KKK had a free speech right to adopt a highway, the Missouri legislature used the opportunity to effectively and constitutionally combat the hate speech:

Lawmakers named that section of roadway the Rosa Parks Highway, as the New York Times reports. When a different white supremacist group adopted another highway segment, Missouri lawmakers renamed that road for Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish theologian who escaped Nazi Germany for the U.S. where he became a civil rights activist.

The best way to delegitimize racist and bigoted viewpoints is through the marketplace of ideas, not through government regulations infringing on the First Amendment.

Arab Rioters Attack Israeli Vehicle in Benjamin Region

16 Iyyar 5772 – May 8, 2012

Palestinians rioters at around 11 p.m. Monday blocked with stones the Benjamin-crossing highway near the settlement of Neve Tzuf in south-west Samaria. An Israeli vehicle with four Tel Aviv residents hit the barrier and was damaged.

The event took place at the Abud bypass, in front of the village of Deir Abu Mashal, about 500 meters from the point where a resident of Neve Tzuf was injured last week when her vehicle was stoned by Arab rioters in broad daylight. The wounded woman was treated at the scene and did not need to be evacuated, but her car suffered serious damage.

Security forces from the settlement of Neve Tzuf and IDF forces reached the scene Monday night and began searching for the attackers.

Neve Tzuf was established on the ruins of a Talmud-era village, in November, 1977, by 40 families of both National Religious and secular Israelis. The murder of a Jewish resident at the settlement’s gate—a unique event back then—caused a mass desertion of the place, with only seven families choosing to stay.

Today some 250 families (close to 1,000 residents) live in Neve Tzuf, which is situated 35 minutes from Jerusalem and 45 minutes from Tel Aviv. The community is religious, with 55% Ashkenazi, 33% Sephardi, and 15% Yemenite.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-rioters-attack-israeli-vehicle-in-benjamin-region/2012/05/08/

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