Egged bus line 790 of Egged from Tel Aviv to Eilat was pelted with stones on Route 25 at 2 in the morning Tuesday. Police began searching for the perpetrators but no one has yet been arrested.
The driver, Nimrod Harari recalled: “This night ride is a very pleasant ride – four and a half hours of fun. The bus was full of passengers, all in a good mood on the way to their vacation. On Route 25, between Be’er Sheva and Dimona, all the passengers are asleep, and all at once, the windows on the bus are broken. I feel a crazy wind gust, I turn on the lights, I ask the passengers if everything is OK. We see stones inside the bus – luckily no one was hurt, but broken glass dropped on the passengers. A bus can overturn in such a situation and whoever threw those stones probably didn’t mean only to cause damage to property. But miracles happen on Chanukah and God protects us.”
That was not the only attack on Israelis driving in the Negev early Tuesday morning. On the same road and at about the same time, two more incidents of stone-throwing took place, targeting two taxis. Thank God, those two attacks also ended without casualties.
Meanwhile, same night, another unusual event took place in the same area down south: a military drone belonging to an elite unit was located in a Bedouin compound after it had been stolen. At this stage it’s not clear what criminal activities were committed using the drone, but here’s a clue: the drone was discovered during an operation of local police, the Border Police, and the K9 unit, and next to the stolen drone the force discovered upwards of 40 kg of drugs. One suspect, 27, was arrested.
Then, early Wednesday morning, a bus driver was attacked with tear gas by Bedouins in the town of Lakia in the Negev. According to police, officers arrived at the scene, conducted searches, and opened an investigation. The driver did not need medical attention.
The Israel Bus Drivers’ Association estimates that in 2020 there were approximately 7,000 cases of physical violence during members’ work shifts – that’s roughly 20 cases of violence every single day. Most Israelis are aware by now that in sectors outside the big cities there is no governance. The periphery in Israel, especially in the Arab sector, is governed by crime families and protection rackets. In central and northern Israel, the violence remains within the Arab villages and towns. But down south, in the Negev, possibly because of their unique lifestyle, Bedouin violence not only leaks out into the Jewish areas, it is directed at Jews.
The Bus Drivers’ Association believes that to the Bedouin, the buses are a symbol of Israeli rule – never mind that many of the drivers who suffer those attacks are Arabs themselves.
Enter Haaretz Television critic and pundit at large Rogel Alper, whose message du jour Wednesday morning appears to be: Governance? We don’t need no stinking governance (והרי החדשות מפי הפשיזם: ישראל מאבדת את ריבונותה בנגב).
According to Rogel, the frequent reports on Israeli media about those attacks on the road are part of the right-wing’s effort to retake the government. I kid you not – his headline loosely translates as “And Now the News from Fascism’s Mouthpiece: Israel is Losing its Sovereignty in the Negev.”
According to Rogel, the right-wing media publish several reports every week “stating unequivocally that Israel is losing its sovereignty in the Negev, and some even claim that it has been lost there already. They conclude that the entire Zionist enterprise is in danger and that this is the end of the Jewish state.”
Here’s something quaint: Rogel ridicules those primitive right-wing reporters who call the Bedouin’s behavior an intifada, and dare to suggest that their motives are not criminal but nationalistic. With that load of 1970s social worker cliches, he obscures the fact that it doesn’t really matter if the Bedouin are out to murder Jewish passengers because they’re poor or patriotic – the fact that they do it undisturbed night after night means the loss of governance.
Rogel then ridicules right-wing media for pointing out that the Palestinian Authority is trying to take over Area C through massive, illegal construction, the purpose of which is to suffocate the settlements and connect through the mountain ridge to the Bedouin in the Negev. That, to him, is a ridiculous notion.
Like many on the left and certainly in his own newspaper (whose publisher, Amos Shoken, just blamed the parents of the baby Shalhevet Paz for her murder in March 2001 by an Arab sharpshooter in Hebron – because Jews shouldn’t live in Hebron), Rogel believes that the main takeaway from the attacks on Israeli sovereignty everywhere is that the right has to have them to pave its way back to dominion.
“Like any fascist movement, the Israeli right also needs a permanent revolution, a constant existential threat, an eternal bitter enemy on the outside, as well as traitors on the inside who collaborate with the enemies of the people.” He explains, with the patience of a true patrician lending his wisdom to the commoners who didn’t read Das Kapital and 1984: “Where Haaretz readers see another case of Bedouin violence in the south, the fascist right sees the road map back to power, the key to gripping it, the essence of its vision: war.”
And now, everyone – a shower.