Another Jew was killed today. She was a young Jewish girl. Her name was Hadar Buchris. She was stabbed in the head as she stood waiting at a bus stop. She was murdered as the family and friends of Ezra Schwartz were still in the midst of eulogizing the American student who was murdered only days ago. She is merely the latest in a growing list of victims of a terror wave that comes not from Hamas generals, but from the “ordinary.” The attackers range from family men to schoolgirls, along with the occasional taxi driver or restaurant employee, and the likes. These “ordinary” terrorists are subsequently given hero status in their hometowns by their “ordinary” friends and family members where they are praised as the pride of their “ordinary” villages.
And so we have Ashraqat Qatnani, the 16 year-old “ordinary” Palestinian Arab who attempted to stab a young teenager in Samaria on Sunday, but was killed in the process. Following the attack, her “ordinary” father told the press that his daughter “went to go attack [Jews] and fulfill her national and moral duty. I’m so proud of her.”
And so we have Raid Halil bin Mahmoud, a 36 year-old “ordinary” father of five who was recently granted a permit to work legally in Israel after a background check showed he had no prior criminal record. He began working at a restaurant in Jaffa until, a mere few days later, he decided to murder two Jews inside a synagogue in southern Tel Aviv. Mahmoud’s “ordinary” mother appeared on television, calling her son a “source of pride for Hebron and Palestine.”
Mahmoud, along with so many other “ordinary” terrorists, lacked a criminal background. It is important to note that criminal records only contain crimes committed in the past and that every murderer was not so until he decided to murder, just as every criminal was innocent until he decided to commit a crime. The question is whether there is be a better way of detecting who is more likely than others to murder Jews. Well, maybe we should start by seeing which people support these murderers.
While Israel is busy tracking Hamas operatives and monitoring Hezbollah fighters, the “ordinary” terrorists are hardly deterred. The latest wave of “ordinary” Israeli Arabs who have been caught joining the ISIS terror group in Syria is but one aspect. To combat the “ordinary” terror, Israel has shut down radio stations they believe to be promoting violence and even banned a terror-supporting movement. But, at the same time, Israel refuses to listen to the “ordinary” Arab citizens and their elected representatives.
Nearly two weeks ago, United Arab List (UAL) Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi compared Israel to Nazi Germany in a repulsive speech delivered in Amsterdam. Of course, she had already called for an intifada and defended those who murder our children by stating that “they are not terrorists” but individuals using legitimate means to achieve freedom. UAL Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka, just a few weeks ago, while defying orders against visiting the Temple Mount, denied Israel’s right to rule entirely. During a confrontation with officers, Zahalka shouted, “Go to hell, you crazy criminals! This is my house. You’re not wanted here! You’re all fascists; you’re all racists!” Earlier this year, UAL Knesset Member Aymen Odeh, a “moderate,” denied the Jewish right to Israel by stating that the Arabs are “the natives here and suddenly Jews came with their 2,000-year-old story.” He also claimed in October that Israel had a hidden agenda to deport Arab citizens. When asked about the terror being perpetrated against Jews, Odeh stated, “I cannot tell the nation how to conduct their struggle, where and which target to throw the rock. I do not put red lines on the Arab Palestinian nation.”
These are the representatives of the “ordinary” Israeli Arab community in Israel, elected by the “ordinary” Israeli Arab citizens. The most moderate of outspoken Israeli Arab leaders make our most extreme on the right seem like hippies. We must begin to see the Israeli Arab citizens for who they are and what they seek. We must understand their full identification with the Palestinian people and their violent actions. We must begin to listen to their voices. They are clear. They are open. And we are their enemy. We are all legitimate targets in their eyes, whether we be anti-Zionist rabbis, pro-Zionist teens, women, children, etc.
But we should not accuse the entire Israeli Arab population of keeping silent as their representatives endorse terror and Jews are murdered on a daily basis, for just this past week Israeli Arabs came out in large numbers throughout various Israeli Arab cities to protest the terrible situation. Well, not exactly. They actually came out to protest Israel’s banning of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, which was banned due to links to terrorist groups and inciting the recent wave of deadly violence. The demonstrators expressed support for the Northern Branch leader Sheikh Raed Salah, carrying banners reading, “We are all Raed Salah,” and “The Islamic Movement is stronger than the laws of the occupying state [Israel].”
It is crucial to understand just who this man is and what kind of figure these “ordinary” Israeli Arabs support. Over the years, Salah had been involved in fundraising for terror groups, incitement, attacking police, and voicing the most vicious anti-Semitism, including a modern-day accusation of Jews using non-Jewish blood on Passover. But it took recent statements to finally ban the northern branch of the movement. “We have a package of plans ready to be unleashed immediately,” Salah said during a recent sermon. He continued, “May the streets of Jerusalem be purified with the blood of the innocent, who shed it in order to separate from their souls the soldiers of the Israel occupation.” This is a movement, not in Gaza, but in Israel proper. Its members are not ISIS commanders, but both “ordinary” Israeli Arab citizens and political figures.
The Israeli Arab protest of the banning of the organization was actually the second one in one week. Last Thursday, after the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel (an umbrella organization representing Arab Israelis on a national level) called for action, the Israeli Arab sector held a general strike, with “ordinary” schools, municipalities and communities participating.
As usual, we refuse to see. Israelis continue to hire “ordinary” Arabs to work throughout the country, despite the security risk. Israelis continue to accept their “fate” which results from a policy of shared roads with Arabs, despite the countless incidents that occur on those very roads due to such a policy. The scene of blood-stained synagogues, vehicles and streets is becoming the norm and the lack of leadership on part of the Jewish community is tragic. Instead of calling for a community-wide ban on Arab labor in Jewish areas; instead of calling for an end to a sharing of roads that have been hit over and over by terror; instead of calling for capital punishment for any Arabs convicted of any form of terror; instead of calling for a trial for all those Knesset Members who encourage the murder of our children; we call for Abbas to calm the situation. We call on imams, priests and everyone else in the world to condemn the attacks. We are good at condemning others; less so at looking at ourselves.
And so another Jew was killed today. How many more must die at the hands of the “ordinary” before we have the strength to face reality and make demands that may not be popular, but will ultimately spare another needless tragedy?