Where to begin this discussion? Hard to say.
It is easier to know where to end it.
Yes, a Jew should not drive on Shabbat or do shopping or get his car washed on Shabbat. In an era when there is no Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple), that matter is between G-d and Man. Nowadays, most Jews who desecrate Shabbat do not grasp the depth of their transgression. Many of those “Jews” are not even Jewish. It falls on all who embrace the blessings of Shabbat to educate those who do not get it. Many do not understand because they are Judaically ignorant. Others do not take Judaism seriously. Others aggressively defy Judaism, like the apostates who operate and dine at restaurants on Tisha B’Av or those who defiantly bring bread into hospitals on Pesach.
Shabbat desecration should not be invoked in the context of the latest Huwara massacre. If it were about Shabbat desecration, the two martyred schlemazels — victims of an aspect of bad luck — would not be any worse off than Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, Aharon Barak, and their ilk who defy the core of Judaism in even more pronounced ways.
And yes, a Jew does not belong in Huwara or in any Arab village. It is not a way to save money. It is not a place to wash cars or fill up on groceries. There is a major “disconnect” between reality and any Jew who would promenade around Huwara for hours . . . or minutes. It is even crazier when the Jew has spent so much for petrol (gasoline) to drive on Shabbat all the way up from Ashdod just to save some money and spend time with “all his Arab friends.” Makes no sense.
The victim father reportedly was proud of his many friends in Huwara. His spouse elaborated: “He sent me a picture of his friends there (in Huwara). He would always go there with the kids, and I was also there a few times. He has friends there, everyone in Huwara knew him. . . . Yesterday, he went with his son to fix something there. After the repairs, they took the car to be cleaned and walked around for a few hours until they shot them. It’s a huge tragedy, he would always help and support. He had a big heart.”
What can one say? A big heart, but seichel (commonsense)? “Everyone in Huwara knew him,” but he apparently did not know everyone in Huwara.
And yet this man, this “gambler” on whom luck ultimately stopped smiling before he knew when to walk away, when to run, cannot be the focus of blame, only pity. Unlike the innocents who have been murdered trying to drive through Huwara as fast as possible, knowing how much they desperately await that bypass road that Merav Michaeli stopped, this pitiful fool put himself and his son fatally in harm’s way, somehow confusing Huwara with Disneyland. Still, if his tragedy has enlightened others to stay away from them and their villages, his soul brings that merit.
Anger must be directed primarily at one address: the Government of Israel.
The primary purpose of government is to protect its citizenry from danger: an army to defend from enemies afar, and police to defend against insurrectionists and anarchists at home. This government, like its pitiful Bennet-Lapid-Abbas predecessor, has failed again. It is the continuing curse of Oslo, the religious and nationalist voters who split into so many small parties that Knesset seats and thousands of Jewish votes were lost beneath the threshold while secular traitors sold out Raful Eitan’s nationalist voters for a limo, an office, and an enhanced lifetime pension.
There is something deeply hollow in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s endless warnings, even when actualized, that the Arab murderer should know he will be caught and brought to justice.
Big deal. So what?
First, the Arab knows that is probable. Second, he knows that, if convicted and imprisoned, he probably will be freed later in a prisoner exchange. Third, before killing the Jew, he already has prepared to die. Fourth — and most important — it is utterly unacceptable to imagine that “justice is done” by capturing-convicting-imprisoning — or even neutralizing and killing — an Arab for every Jew killed. Each Jewish martyr is a universe, a holy and irreplaceable innocent soul. Their sons and daughters now are orphaned for life. Their spouses widowed. Their parents emptied of life. There is no consolation adequate in the mere capture or even killing of the Arab murderer. When Netanyahu later announces “Now justice has been done,” someone has to wake him up and say: “No, Bibi, justice has not been done.” A good line for Yair to retweet.
This will not stop until it stops. A tautology? Not at all. Rather, the only solution is to stop treating each terror murder as an isolated game of wack-a-mole, catching the bad guy. Rather, this must be stopped systemically.
Jews in Israel have encountered this before. Arab murderers ran amok in places like Yerushalayim, Hevron, Shechem, and elsewhere in years like 1920-21, 1929, and 1936-39. There was a duly constituted police force, and the British did some policing, but not what the Yishuv needed. Therefore, in time, an unauthorized Jewish self-defense group, the Haganah, arose to supplement inadequate policing. Soon after, many came to see that a defensive operation with no counter-attack offense still fell short. They formed the Irgun. Afterward, others felt even more was needed; they formed the Lechi. Israel exists only because G-d willed it, but He waits for Jews to act like Maccabees. Israel today is because Jews did what had to be done.
Messy? OK. And how did American patriots oust their British? They poured steaming vats of bubbling hot tar on British officers and sympathizers, tossed feathers onto the steaming liquid as it cooled, and watched the victims die the most painful imaginable deaths, while crowds stood around laughing that the burning corpses looked like chickens.
The Irgun and Lechi were despised and condemned by many of the Labor socialist Ashkenazi elite in their time. Ultimately, that era’s “Jewish terror” is acknowledged to have been on the right side of history. Irgun leader Menachem Begin was elected prime minister of Israel. Next came Lechi leader Yitzchak Shamir. Jewish Terrorism 101.
There is now a duly constituted Jewish government in Israel. That government, terrified by what “The World” will say, fails to protect Jews completely from Arabs running amok. Under Naftali Bennett, Merav Michaeli stopped construction of the Huwara bypass road. That is accessory to murder. Bennett enabled her, even as he enabled Yair Lapid to give away Israeli natural gas fields to Hezbollah without so much as a Knesset vote.
It is criminal that Israel tolerates a two-tier “justice” system that sees law-abiding children and adults who demonstrate against the catastrophic 2005 abandonment of Gush Katif’s 8,500 Jews arrested and imprisoned — even without charges or trial — but fails to arrest leftist anarchists and insurrection agitators who block Ayalon Highway and hound duly elected government officials at their homes, their vacations, and their trips abroad.
If the duly constituted law-enforcement authorities cannot fulfill their job of protecting Jews in Israel, no one may sit in judgment of those in the storm’s epicenter who feel they must take the law into their own hands. That is why Begin’s Irgun and Shamir’s Lechi came into being. Yes, anyone who breaks any law must be prepared to pay a price. Civil society relies on laws and their enforcement. But the law must be administered fairly and evenly. Police are not infallible. Many are liars and corrupt. It is outrageous that Jews are arrested on preventative bases, held almost indefinitely in prison without being charged, and are isolated and sleep-deprived and tortured into confessions that might be admissible by the Spanish Inquisition and Stalin’s NKVD but would be thrown out immediately by any civilized society’s courts.
No one in the halakhic world defends true terror, like randomly killing Arabs or destroying their property without cause, motivated purely by random hate of the Other. Those who commit such acts of random hate should be punished.
However, Israel is in a life-death battle. It takes courage and more to live in the outposts, in the northern Samaria region, and such. No one who does not have to drive daily through Huwara has any right to judge those who do.
When Jewish shepherds grazing their sheep are beset by murderous Arabs hurling rocks, no fair person can judge the shepherd who defends his life by shooting back to kill. What kind of immoral society then grabs that shepherd out of his hospital bed, locks him up while still recovering from brain surgery, and demands court acquiescence to his endless incarceration? That is not justice; it is state terror.
Arabs who kill Jews must face the death penalty. If killed while being captured, their bodies should be held indefinitely in morgue freezers with a pig inside the drawer, until all Jewish prisoners are released by Hamas and their ilk. If the murderers survive capture, they should be tried rapidly and, if convicted and upheld on rapid appeal, promptly executed. Their property should not be blown up but handed over to the victims — all their property, real estate and liquid assets, complete confiscation. Each executed terrorist should be buried in a grave with a pig. And there is more:
For these purposes, a “Family Member” includes the terrorist’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents if still in circulation, brothers and sisters (if married, with their respective spouses and offspring), all uncles, all aunts, and all cousins (if married, with their respective spouses and offspring). All the murderer’s “Family Members” should have their Identity Certificates immediately suspended and lose all government social-welfare benefits (including but not limited to stipends for children, healthcare benefits, maternity benefits, benefits for seniors, old-age pensions, disability pensions, unemployment benefits, and low-income support). Next, they all should be expelled from the country within 60 days.
At that point, all houses and possessions belonging to all “Family Members” should be seized under eminent domain and then liquidated (sold for cash), with the assets turned over to (i) families of terror victims, (ii) NGOs that support terror victims and their families, and (iii) pro bono law firms and organizations that sue terror-sponsoring countries and terror groups for damages. Jews should be permitted to bid at auction for those properties.
Furthermore, all taxes collected in Israel for the Abu Mazen junta first must be allocated to pay terror-victim plaintiffs all court judgments assigning damages to them. There also must be a 99 percent excise tax on all “Pay to Slay” remittances made by the Abu Mazen junta to anyone in Israeli custody. And no money withheld under this law ever may be transferred later to the Abu Mazen junta, even if the “PA” totters on financial collapse, unless a minimum of 100 Knesset members vote otherwise.
Finally, each terror attack must be met with immediate destruction of 20 illegally built Arab houses, whether in Galilee or the Negev or in lands liberated in 1967, and the legalization of a new Jewish community somewhere in Judea-Samaria.
And, really, Jews should stay out of Arab villages. Those nests of hate are the world center of the Apartheid that the Left claims to revile so much. And they are a living testament and warning to every Israeli of what would happen if any madman ever actually would give them a country of their own on Israel’s eastern doorstep, on liberated Jewish land.
To receive Rav Fischer’s Weekly Extensive Torah Commentaries or to attend any or all of Rav Fischer’s weekly 60-minute live Zoom classes on the Weekly Torah Portion, the Biblical Prophets, the Mishnah, Rambam Mishneh Torah, or Advanced Judaic Texts, send an email to: [email protected]
Rav Fischer’s recent hour-long interview on a range of pressing contemporary Jewish issues, ranging from the “Palestine” Fraud to incorrigible Jewish leftists and their like-minded reform rabbis to the weakness of pro-Israel campus Jews who root their advocacy in Victimology instead of Jewish strength, can be found here.