Photo Credit: Ayal Margolin / Flash 90
Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, April 4, 2023.

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai was in boiling-hot water Tuesday night, under attack from every conceivable direction, following a leaked exchange between himself and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, but it turns out that the controversial things the commissioner said about the Arab mentality are completely supported by the Torah.

The gist of the exchange appears in the excerpt below, courtesy of News12:

News12 transcript of the Shabtai & ben Gvir conversation. / Screenshot

Minister Ben Gvir says: “Another murder and another murder – it’s getting out of hand. We must have a strong national Guard.”

Commissioner Shabtai: “Minister, nothing can be done. They murder each other. It’s their nature. It’s the Arabs’ mentality.”

Minister Ben Gvir: “Commissioner, it can be stopped. We must prevent the murder of both Arabs and Jews.”

There’s plenty of unappealing stuff packed in the above short exchange, including, as several anonymous senior police officials told reporters, the fact that Ben Gvir entrapped his commissioner and swiftly leaked the unhappy results to the media. Apparently, it was all part of the skirmishes between the minister and his police commissioner over establishing a national guard. Both men want the guard, and both men want to command it.

Needless to say, the commissioner’s statement about how Arabs are killing each other because, you know, it’s their nature, did not go over well with anyone, including Ben Gvir, who stripped his commissioner bare in front of a national firing squad and winked.

Hadash-Ta’al chairman MK Ayman Odeh attacked Shabtai vehemently: “Anywhere in the world, a racist commissioner like him would be fired in an instant. Shabtai – resign. The number of Palestinians killed in Israel is 7 times higher than the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan, as a result of the crime. This is not the nature of the Palestinians, it is the nature of the racist establishment.”

Odeh’s co-leader, MK Ahmed Tibi, responded: “A shameful and racist statement by the commissioner. Racist and violent police. And one clown who supervises them, and what interests him is the spin he will pull on the Commissioner. Arab citizens will continue to die. They have no police to watch over them. Children will continue to be slaughtered. The murder of Arabs is the last thing that bothers the Minister. The Arab is discriminated against both in life and in death.”

And so on.

Now, you may think what you want about Commissioner Shabtai, but his statement, racist or astute or both, is supported by the Book of Genesis, Chapter 16.

The Arab nation was born after Hagar, Sara’s maid, ran away to the desert, where an angel of God met her and ordered her to return and submit to her mistress. Her reward, he promises, would be that God “will greatly increase your offspring, and they shall be too numerous to count.”

The angel also reveals to her that she is pregnant from Abraham, “and shall bear a son. You shall call him Ishmael, for God has paid heed to your suffering.”

“Yishma El” literally means God will hear.

At that point, the angel tries to tame Hagar’s expectations regarding her future son. He is not going to be a big Tzadik. In fact, “He shall be a wild donkey of a person, his hand shall be raised against everyone else, and everyone else’s hand shall be raised against him. He shall dwell with all his kin.” (Gen. 16:12).

The Torah’s description of the father of all the Arabs Ishmael could be read as a cogent analysis of events in the Middle East since the 7th century. The children of Ishmael have been clashing with the entire human race, and have remained one nation, Arabs, regardless of all the many attempts to divide them into separate countries. Also: they are not going away, ever, because God listens to them.

Or, as Commissioner Shabtai put it so eloquently: “Minister, nothing can be done. They murder each other. It’s their nature. It’s the Arabs’ mentality.”

I would only beg to differ with one part of the commissioner’s statement, the “nothing can be done” part. Joshua, our leader who conquered the Land of Israel, warned us before his passing: “Know for certain that God will not continue to drive these nations out before you; they shall become a snare and a trap for you, a scourge to your sides and thorns in your eyes until you perish from this good land that God has given you.” (Joshua 23:13)

The gentiles among whom we dwell, Arabs and everyone else, are here to test us. They provoke strife between factions of our nation, they attack us time and again, they throw fear in our hearts, they challenge our morals, they lie without hesitation about everything, they fabricate history, they make us a target for global rage, they impede our ties with our allies, and they conspire to annihilate us – not only because they hate us, but because we are here, on our land, where God expects us to behave like human beings despite the madness.

Joshua’s warning came true twice, and we perished from this good land. But, thank God, here we are again, it’s our third attempt to get it right. It’s been pointed out that Israel remained united and independent only twice in our history, and each time for about 80 years: under Kings David and Solomon; and under the Hasmoneans. To remind you, Israel has now been united and independent for 75 years, and the strains on our unity are depressingly visible.

We must get it together, we must rediscover our unity, or risk losing our home a third time, God forbid.


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