Beit Shemesh extremist Haredim, the ones who libeled Israel last year by spitting on a national religious girl, went crazy Wednesday after police arrested a Haredi couple for telling a woman to go to back of the bus.
The only injury was Israel’s image, once again blackened by a small but growing number of extremists who have tried to make life miserable for secular and modern Orthodox Jews of the city, west of Jerusalem.
Involuntary gender segregation on public buses is illegal in Israel. Nevertheless, a Haredi couple demanded that a woman passenger move back to the back, prompting a call to police.
The couple was detained, setting off a riot that led to two more arrests of men who blocked a bus from moving. Other rioters smashed the windows of four buses.
One of the drivers told the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot’s website, “One of [the Haredim] took out a hammer and began shattering the windows. There were many women and children onboard. I tried to drive forward a little to scare them. After a few seconds they moved and we continued on our way.”
One passenger reported that women and children, on summer vacation, were on the bus as it was being attacked. In December, 2011, a member of a radical Haredi sect, an offshoot of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group, spat on a national religious girl for “immodest dress” as she was walking to school. The family, originally from the United States, has since moved out of the city.
The incident set off a massive protest of religious and non-religious Jews, including American-born Rabbi Dov Lipman, who then was a Beit Shemesh councilman and now is a Knesset Member in Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.
However, radical Haredim responded to the protest by throwing stones at city workers removing signs calling for the separation of the sexes on city streets. When Haredi activists put up new signs to replace them, the police who returned to remove them Monday encountered rioting by about 300 Haredi men who threw stones at police and burned trash cans.
Beit Shemesh, with its mixed religious and non-religious population and its mushrooming ultra-Orthodox satellite, Ramat Beit Shemesh, is home to more than 80,000 residents, including hundreds of new immigrant families from North America and Britain.
During the past several years, dozens of Neturei Karta-affiliated families, who could no longer afford Jerusalem’s soaring real estate prices, have moved into a new Beit Shemesh housing complex, adjacent to the neighborhood populated by Orthodox American and British immigrants.
Upon their arrival, the radicals attempted to intimidate both religious and non-religious residents by attempting to impose a strict “dress code” in and around their enclave.
Wednesday’s riot may boomerang against the extremist Haredim and hurt the re-election chances of Beit Shemesh Mayor Rabbi Moshe Abutbul, who is affiliated with the Shas Haredi party. The national religious community is campaigning against him, and the latest riot will draw more voters to their camp and back a Jewish Home party candidate.
When we think of warfare, most of us think of tanks roaring across the desert, dogfights in the air, infantry battles, or even guerrilla war, in which shadowy figures strike and then melt away. But when enemy populations are closely intermingled, then warfare can also comprise what we normally think of as crime. So when one population deliberately targets another in order to damage morale, to increase insecurity and even to drive them out, and when they do it for nationalistic motives, it can be more than a nuisance — it can be war.
This kind of warfare is traditional in the Middle East, where simple banditry is often more than that. I’ve written about how thefts and vandalism in the Galilee and the Negev have given rise to vigilante groups to protect farmers from wholesale loss of animals, machinery and crops to Bedouin and Palestinian thieves.
But today a far worse situation has arisen in Judea and Samaria where attempted murder — and sometimes the attempts are successful — is a daily occurrence. Although one often hears that terrorism in Israel has become far less frequent recently, this is simply not true. It is just much less likely to make the news if it occurs in Judea and Samaria, or if it happens to that less-than-human being, a ‘settler’.
There are multiple reasons for this. Palestinian Arab ideology encourages them to see themselves as oppressed, so anything they do is “justified.” Parents often encourage their children to act out their feelings of victimization, or at least accept their behavior, even when it’s violent. Official Palestinian media and schools continually glorify all forms of ‘resistance’, even murder.
The Israeli police are in general ineffective and outnumbered. The IDF operates with strict rules of engagement, and anyway is the not the best tool — after all, armies are, or should be, designed to kill people — to deal with theft, arson, vandalism and harassment (which, nevertheless, often turns into murder).
And then there is most of the Israeli and international media, which seem to believe that if a ‘settler’ gets hurt, it’s his or her own fault for living in a place where, “Palestinians want the land for their future state.” According to them, the solution to the problem is “peace” and a “two-state solution.”
Anyone with sense enough to listen to what the Palestinian Arabs themselves say knows that they consider Haifa, Acco, Yafo, Lod, etc. Arab land too. I suspect that if the Jews abandoned everything but downtown Tel Aviv, the violence would follow them there.
These reports are translated and publicized by Yehudit Tayar for Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron with the clearance and confirmation of the IDF. Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron is a voluntary emergency medical organization with over 500 volunteer doctors, paramedics, medics who are on call 24/7 and work along with the IDF, 669 IAF Airborne Rescue, the security officers and personal throughout Yesha and the Jordan Valley, and with MDA [Magen David Adom]. …
From the reports which we received here is a partial summary of the hundreds of attempts to murder innocent Jews during the past week;
3 IDF soldiers, 9 civilians, and 3 policemen were injured:
• Civilian injured from rocks a Sinjal, child injured moderately from bottle thrown on bus at the Mt. of Olives, young civilian injured from rocks near Ofra, 5 children moderately from rocks between El Hadar and Efat,
• IDF soldier moderately [injured] from rocks near the Tunnel Road, IDF soldier moderately in his head from rocks near T Junction in Etzion, IDF soldier moderately at El Fuar, Border policeman moderately from rocks at Abu Dis, 2 policemen moderately at the Temple Mt., Fireman moderately injured from rocks at Issawiya during attempt to extinguish a fire at Opharin Base.
We received reports of at least 143 Molotov Cocktail attacks:
100 at Azoria, 6 Abu Dis, 9 Shuafat Refugee Camp, 1 at bus at El Arub, 5 at car and 1 at security vehicle near Ofra, 4 Kever Rachel, 3 at security force at Tunnel Road checkpost, 4 at security force El Fuar, 3 at security force at Parsa Junction,1 thrown by rioters at Shuafat which caused a fire to break out near Pisgat Ze’ev, 1 at Ophrit Base, 2 at the security fence near Ja’ama. [Molotov cocktails, of course, are gasoline bombs that can and have burned people to death or scarred them for life -- ed]
10 explosive devices at Azaria
5 Arab rioters attacked a yeshiva student on his way to the Kotel (Western Wall)
3 PA policemen were apprehended who were involved in the murder of Ben Zion Livnat HY”D, after they had beenreleased from prison by the PA after serving short sentences.
Arab with improvised weapon caught in his car at Bene Naim
This week also there were scores of attempted murder of innocent men, women and children by Arabs attacking with rocks thrown on the roads at the cars as they drove in their vehicles:
A partial list of the places where the attacks occurred:
160 turn – Hevron, Policeman checkpost – Hevron, Adoriam Junction Southern Hevron Hills, El Fuar, near the Tunnel Road checkpost, Har Homa-Tekoa Highway, near the Spring by Hevron, El Arub, H Junction, T Junction by Tekoa, Arab Tekoa, between Efrat and El Hadar, Halhul, luben A-Shrakia, Postmans Junction Benjamin Region, Ras Karkar, Wadi Haramia, Sin’jil, Dir Abu Mishal, Nebe Zalah, near Ofra, Abud bypass, near Na’alin, Betliu, El Moyar, near Ba’al Hazor, Shokba, Abu Dis, Azaria, the Temple Mt., A’Zaim checkpost, Ras hamis, Issowiya, at the almond grove in Yitzhar, between Ariel and Nofei Nechemia, a rock barricade between Tapuah and Migdalim, Pundok, Gat Junction, this week also Beduin damaged property near Retamim. [This is the kind of attack that killed Asher Palmer and his son in 2011 andcritically inured a young girl this March -- ed].
Here is a short video to give you a taste of what “stoning” is like:
In a groundbreaking decision, a military court found a Palestinian man guilty of murder for throwing a rock at an Israeli car, causing it to crash and killing the driver and his infant son.
The court at Ofer military prison on Tuesday found Wa’al al-Araji, 25, from Halhul, to be directly responsible for the deaths in 2011 of Asher Palmer and his 1-year-old son Yehonatan.
Palmer was driving from his home in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba towards Jerusalem when Araji and accomplices drove towards them in the opposite direction in another vehicle. As the two cars passed each other, Araji hurled a rock that smashed through the windshield, knocking Palmer unconscious. The car swerved off the road, killing its occupants.
The decision was unusual in that the Military Advocate generally does not seek a murder charge against stone-throwing Palestinians, even when their actions cause fatalities. However, the panel of three judges said that, in this particular case, there can be no doubt that the accused intended to kill and had practiced perpetrating similar — although less deadly — attacks in the past.
Every single day, hundreds of rocks, blocks, stones, etc. are thrown at Jewish vehicles in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Arab towns or neighborhoods inside the Green Line. Sometimes photographers are informed in advance that there will be exciting opportunities to view the heroic resistance to occupation. Throwing ‘stones’ (sometimes as big as a person’s head) is what Palestinian Arab adolescents do for entertainment. Even the great Columbia University ‘scholar’ Edward Said symbolically threw a stone across the Lebanese border at Israeli soldiers.
Sentence hasn’t been pronounced yet, but al-Araji faces the possibility of a life sentence. Unfortunately Israel does not apply the death penalty to terrorists, who are sent to prison where they are permitted to take correspondence courses and enjoy other benefits until they are released in exchange for hostages taken by other terrorists.
While in prison, he will be paid a salary by the Palestinian Authority, which, when he gets out, will treat him like a hero, a ‘political prisoner’ like Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi or Mahatma Gandhi. Don’t be surprised — consider the treatment received by mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi, responsible for the Sbarro’s Pizza bombing in which 15 lives were snuffed out (including 8 children).
The release of prisoners has been an important demand made by the PLO, and at times has even been given by Mahmoud Abbas as a precondition for negotiations with Israel. It is an integral part of the Arab narrative that what they do — what we call ‘terrorism’ — is justified, akin to self-defense, a legitimate ‘resistance to occupation’.
At least, that’s the Western translation of their narrative, often dressed up in neo-colonial theory in which the ‘colonized’ are justified in resisting the ‘colonizers’ by any means (academics particularly eat this nonsense up).
Probably in Arab minds it is more like “they took our land and our honor, and we will get it back by killing them, especially the children they value so much.” That might be a little raw for Western sensibilities.