As always, when there is a terror attack, I begin with that. And how deplorable it is, that I must do so again: And that once again, it is an attack on Route 60 in Huwara.
David Stern, 41, and his wife Rachel, 37, of Itamar in Samaria, were attacked on Sunday afternoon not far from where the Yaniv brothers were killed just three weeks ago. Both dual US-Israeli citizens, they were on their way to Jerusalem for a Torah lecture. While reports varied, apparently their children were not in the car with them.
David is a former US marine and a martial arts expert who teaches self-defense, including to First Responders. You see him here with Rachel and their four children.
The terrorist approached their car and shot into it with an improvised Carlo submachine gun.
David was severely wounded in his head, but in spite of this was able to reach his gun and return fire. He hit the terrorist, who dropped his weapon and fled on foot; security forces then apprehended him.
David, who is truly, a hero, then managed to apply a tourniquet to his wounds to staunch the flow of blood. His condition is serious, but doctors have reported that they have managed to stabilize hm so that his life is no longer at risk. They say his survival is miraculous.
Rachel was hospitalized with traumatic shock but was not wounded.
Reports are coming out from various individuals about what a marvelous human being David Stern is. It has long bewildered me, that it is so often very special people are hit.
Please pray for the complete recovery of Alexander Dovid Dov ben Sarah.
The terrorist, 28, is from the PA village of Madama near Shechem (Nablus).
Sadly, there is someone else very special who has now succumbed to his wounds from a terror attack.
Or Eshkar, 32, died today (Monday), 11 days after being shot by a terrorist outside a cafe on the corner of Dizengoff and Ben Gurion streets in Tel Aviv. Two others were wounded, but less seriously.
Roni Gamzu, director of Ichilov Hospital, said that “unfortunately, the severity of his wounds was deadly. After a heroic struggle of many days, in which we saw an iron man fight for his life, we were forced to declare his death.”
Eshkar’s mother said that her son “showered nothing but goodness, love and giving on everyone who crossed his path.” His organs will be donated.
May his memory be for a blessing and may his soul rest in peace.
I picked up a report today about the IDF locking down the area surrounding Huwara after the attack on the Sterns. My immediate thought was that they knew it was a dangerous area because of what happened three weeks ago, and it is regrettable that they didn’t do this before the current attack.
Then I learned that the reason for securing the area was to prevent angry Israelis from again entering Huwara, as had happened after the Yaniv brothers were killed. They were protecting Palestinian Arabs but had not moved to protect Jews who have no choice but to drive through Huwara on Route 60, as there is no by-pass. How could this be???
There is a Hebrew expression: ein millim, there are no words. And that is how I felt on learning this. There is something horribly amiss here. And so, I was left momentarily speechless. But I felt my rage.
It is important to note that 71% of Palestinian Arabs supported the killing of the Yaniv brothers at Huwara. Another go-round should not have been a surprise.
Nor is this the only source of outrage – as if it would not be enough.
We are also looking at a horrendous situation with regard to the protests against judicial reform, and the current response of the government.
Late last night, the heads of the coalition parties met to decide how to proceed with legislating the reforms.
It was decided that only one piece of legislation would move ahead before the Pesach recess, which takes place in two weeks. That single piece of legislation is the restructuring of the committee for selecting justices and judges so that the Supreme Court no longer controls the situation. What is more, it had been considerably softened by MK Simcha Rothman (RZP), Chair of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.
See here for the modifications:
As the Jewish Press explained, “This provides a solution to the worries of the opposition that they will never again have a say again in the makeup of the Supreme Court.”
The coalition announced that everything other than this piece of legislation – which was considered of utmost importance – would be tabled until the Knesset reconvenes after its Pesach recess, which runs from April 2 to April 30. They encouraged the opposition to utilize this time to hold productive talks regarding the upcoming bills, saying they were “extending a hand” to those who “really care about unity.”
It should be noted that the softening of the legislation on judicial selection was done unilaterally by the coalition – there was no input from the opposition. This is not an agreement, but a concession.
This is how I and many, many others see it. There is a sense of shock about the pulling back, and, here too, outrage. Some of it coming from members of Likud:
MK Tally Gotliv, for example, declared that “This isn’t a compromise — it’s a surrender to the left.”
MK David Amsalem (pictured) tweeted that, “This is not the time to be backing down or making concessions. That’s not what we won the elections for.”
I had expected the override legislation (allowing the Knesset to reinstate legislation that the Court had knocked down within certain parameters) to be tabled, as it was the most contentious of the bills. But to see everything but the Selection Committee legislation tabled was a shock.
So, what precisely is going on? There are several factors to consider.
 The demonstrations by tens of thousands have been very disruptive to the country – with blocking of roads, attempts to block the airport and Haifa Port, etc. Not just disruptive: down-right ugly. There is the creep (who has since been arrested) who painted on the house of Justice Minister Yariv Levin, while he was inside sitting shiva for his father, “Yariv Levin – Enemy of the People.” A total lack of decency.
And Yair Golan, former MK from Meretz who on Thursday called for “more force” in the protests.
On the right many, likely most, believe there should be no caving to this. But there are those who see it as tearing the country apart. President Herzog has not helped the situation with his emotional talk of a civil war coming.
There is reason to believe Herzog set up the right, coming forward with a surprise proposal that the right could not accept, but made them vulnerable to accusations of refusing to compromise.
 There have been voices inside of Likud in favor of freezing the legislation until a compromise can be reached (I will address the central flaw in this position below). According to Netanyahu today, Defense Minister Gallant threatened to resign if no compromise is reached because of rebellion within reserve units – a most troubling phenomenon. A handful of others within Likud, as well, have been less than supportive of the coalition’s stance: Most notably, Yuli Edelstein and Danny Danon, but also David Bitan, and Miki Zohar.
There is undoubtedly genuine concern in some quarters, but it is being suggested by some analysts that the reservations expressed by some (Edelstein and Danon) is politically motivated. They are disgruntled because they see themselves as having been passed over by Netanyahu for prime positions in the government and are paving a different path for themselves. If this is true it is distressing. There is a time when country comes first.
 There is criticism, only some of it legitimate, of the manner in which the reforms have been advanced – that is without sufficient PR to alleviate anxieties within the population, without sufficient meetings with dissenting members of Likud, etc.
 A serious concern is with regard to pressure brought to bear on Netanyahu by Biden. The prime minister has a history of being susceptible to US pressure.
On Sunday, Netanyahu and Biden held a 45-minute phone conversation that was described as “candid and constructive” by a US administration official.
Biden reiterated his concern about the reforms and called for “as broad a consensus as possible” before making the changes.
Netanyahu responded to Biden properly, that, “that Israel was, and will remain, a strong and vibrant democracy.”
However, Netanyahu is seeking an invitation to the White House – something that it would be normal to expect by this point in his tenure. And yet, no invitation is forthcoming. This is a sort of snub that likely unsettles Netanyahu and may well have played into positions advanced by him Sunday night.
On Sunday, psychologist Robert M. Schwartz wrote a piece in the JPost entitled, “Two people, two ethical systems,” which he sees as the root of Israeli-Palestinian Arab tensions.
In a nutshell, Schwarz says that the two parties adhere to different ethical systems: Israel embraces a western system that values compromise over confrontation and believes the end does not justify the means. The Palestinian Arabs, however, adhere to an eastern system that values confrontation over compromise, which is seen as a weakness, and believes that the end does justify the means.
This sort of analysis was not new to me, but as I read it on Sunday, it occurred to me that the ethics of the Palestinian Arabs, as described by Schwartz, very much resemble the ethical parameters embraced by the left – here in Israel and elsewhere as well.
The Israeli left is not interested in compromise on the legislation. It wants it halted, period. And it will see attempts at compromise by the coalition as a sign of weakness. What is more, in quest of stopping the legislation, it seems to have no qualms about upsetting the nation or causing international damage to Israel. Their ends justify their means.
Let us take a look at how the opposition responded to the announcement by the coalition. I had expected Lapid to crow: Look, we made them back down. But something quite different happened (emphasis added):
Heads of the opposition parties Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), Benny Gantz (National Unity Party), Merav Michaeli (Labor) and Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beitenu) met today (pictured below in that order from the left) and voiced their response to the shift in the coalition proposal.
Lapid said the new proposal for the selection committee was “a framework for a hostile political takeover of the judicial system — which is exactly what they’ve been planning from the very first day.”
Michaeli said, “controlling the Judicial Selection Committee is bringing destruction to democracy — we cannot buy Likud’s spin…there is no ‘compromise’ or ‘softening’ here. This was their original goal from the beginning — trying to topple the foundation of democracy. We cannot stop the protests. We cannot allow this hostile takeover.”
Gideon Sa’ar, of National Unity Party, tweeted: Three months of protests and the government hasn’t learned anything…The answer: intensifying the protests!”
Leaders of the protest movement said they were moving ahead with demonstrations, including a “day of paralysis” planned for Thursday.
How will this play out in the weeks ahead remains to be seen. But I hold out a hope that those in the coalition pushing for compromise will come to understand that there is to be no compromise – that is, an agreement between the two sides – and that either they will have to cave, or, please Heaven, move forward. Right now, the plan is to move forward. Justice Minister Levin has been adamant about doing just that.
MK Miki Zohar (Likud) observed: “The opposition decided to boycott us and in the end, we made a compromise with ourselves without receiving the minimal credit we deserve from the public.” A compromise with ourselves. Indeed.
Or consider this from Likud MK Eli Dallal who called for the coalition to “stop everything and go sit and talk — even with those who don’t want to talk.” But how do you talk with those who don’t want to talk?
I think MK Almog Cohen (Otzma Yehudit) has it right when he says: The right wing wants a “fundamental change in the judicial system, not a white flag cloaked in compromise.”
That was the point, was it not: That a fundamental change in the judicial system was necessary because of the inequities created by Court president Aharon Barak in the 1990s. I will revisit issues of the inequities of the Court and the real goals of the opposition.
The right was not prepared. They never imagined how furious the response would be from the left – furious because they saw a loss of control coming.
There is an enormous amount of talk right now – much of it bitter – about how the left pushed through their agendas with regard to Oslo and then the Disengagement, without compromise or concern for the fierce opposition on the right.
Stay tuned for a great deal more.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.