Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90
President Isaac Herzog lights the Chanukah candle in Hebron. Nov. 28, 2021

Recently in Israel, there was a minor debate about Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s choice of visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs to light the first light of Hanukkah.

For the Palestinians, this was nothing less than an “act of war.”

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According to Palestinian Media Watch, the Palestinian Authority declared that the president “broke into the Ibrahimi Mosque and defiled it,” an act tantamount to a “declaration of war.”

Most Israelis who even heard about the PA’s incitement, probably met it with a shrug or amusement.

However, the terminology the Palestinians use should be considered more carefully because it is the language of war. It is not only used to incite and recruit the next terrorist, it is preparing Palestinians for a long drawn out war where Israel is the instigator.

This is why every time an Israeli Jewish citizen visits a Jewish holy site it is considered an act of war.

When Jews ascend to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, they are considered “storming the mosque”, when in fact none go even close to any Muslim religious structure. They merely stroll around the general Temple Mount tableau, in a carefully orchestrated way so as not to offend any Muslims, while being watched hawkeyed by Israeli police to ensure they do not pray, drink from the water fountains, or stay too long in any one spot. They are given a very short amount of time and anyone breaking any of the largely unknown rules are rushed off the Temple Mount and interrogated by Israeli security personnel.

Storming it certainly isn’t.

However, to Palestinian religious and political leaders, the mere presence of a Jew is a “defilement” and an invasion.

This is not just limited to Jewish holy sites but to the whole of the Land of Israel. The Palestinians see Jewish sovereignty in its indigenous and ancestral land as an invasion. For them, everything is seen as part of an ongoing and just war.

To perpetuate this feeling among the people that they are always at war with the Jewish State, a constant barrage of Antisemitism is disseminated through religious, educational and popular leaders.

Imad Hamato, Professor of Quranic Studies, University of Palestine, Gaza and host of weekly PA TV program on Islam, once said: “”Humanity will never live in comfort as long as the Jews are causing devastating corruption throughout the land. Humanity will never live in peace or fortune or tranquility as long as they are corrupting the land… As Allah says: ”Every time they kindled the fire of war [against you], Allah extinguished it.”

In other words, this is not just a holy war against the Jews, but a service to humanity to extinguish the Jewish People as a whole.

The incitement filters down to children who are supposed to carry the torch of genocidal war for future generations. The program “Giants of Endurance” broadcast by official Palestinian Authority (PA) TV for terrorists in Israeli prisons recently aired a song sung by what ostensibly seemed like a sweet little girl.

However, the words were anything but sweet.

The daughter of a prisoner Husam Al-Dik recited in chilling verse: “O Palestine, the days of Saladin will return. If you only knew, the victory that you will have is the victory of Hattin. A Jew defiled Jerusalem and behaved tyrannically and violently. He gathered the world’s dogs inside you and [placed] a military camp on your land. Resistance is a weapon and a rock, you will never lose. Resistance is a weapon and a rock, Allahu Akbar.”

This is a clear call for a genocidal war, and we are seeing the results.

The amount of terrorist attacks against Jews has gone up in recent weeks. Stabbing attacks, car ramming’s and rock throwing is increasing just as the song and the general incitement warns.

Nevertheless, we should stop using terms like incitement, because they do not capture the seriousness of the language. The language used is more than just racism, hatred or incitement, it is the language of war.

Note the language used by the little girl. We focus on how she describes Jews,and their anti-Semitic intent, when we should be focusing on the bigger picture which is the use of the military terms, like victory.

This term is one we ignore too often in Israel, because it is seen as an unfashionable one, best relegated to the history books.

This is our biggest mistake. It is not just a word or meaning that we should take note of, but one we should be adopting ourselves.

We do not understand or grasp that we are still at war, simply because the other side has never given up its war aims, and that is the destruction of Jewish sovereignty, by any means.

They do it at the United Nations by passing resolutions disconnecting Jewish history and therefore Jewish legitimacy. They do it through public diplomacy and financial means in the anti-Semitic BDS movement.

However, their self-declared favorite tool remains violence.

An ongoing and everlasting war. A war until victory, when one side defeats the other. A war to be passed down the generations.

This is a war because the Palestinians continue to make it one. Unfortunately, there is only one side still fighting for ultimate victory.

This has to change.

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The writer is an IDF Military Commander (Res) and CEO of Mivtachi Israel, an organization of former senior IDF Officers.