Why a truly solid right wing government is needed in Israel without further delay.
The politicking is unbearable, and time drags on. And so I thought I would devote this posting to a look at situations we must contend with that require strength and a sense of unity.
The Palestinian Arabs, whether in Judea & Samaria or Gaza, are hardly oblivious to Israeli lack of unity and dithering about a government, and read it as weakness. And so, not surprisingly, they seek to take advantage of this via attack. As Seth Frantzman wrote in the JPost, lack of a new government “gives wind to the flames of extremism and chaos…”
The Muslim observance of Ramadan began on April 12th and lasts for a month. It is typified by an increase in Palestinian Arab violence, which is ironic, as it is supposed to be a time of reflection. Many attribute this propensity for increased attacks during this time to the strains of dawn to sundown fasting for a full month. But this year there have been reports of greater than “usual” violence, much of it centered around the Old City of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, and in particular Har Habayit (the Temple Mount), remain at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict and during Ramadan there are calls to protect Al Aksa from the Jews. Video clips that ran on social media showed Muslim worshipers at the Al Aksa mosque on the Mount calling, “With spirit and with blood, we will redeem you, Al Aksa.” (Note: the mosque is called Al Aksa, but so is the entire Mount.)
The police have been coping with Palestinian Arab violence since Ramadan began, when barricades had been set up at the Damascus Gate.
Matters began to escalate on Thursday. Yahya Jardi, a Jewish Israeli van driver from Beit Shemesh, unaware of what was happening in the Old City, had decided to go to the Kotel, when his van was attacked by a mob. When he tried to flee on foot, they caught him and beat him severely. “I thought I wouldn’t get home, that I was dead… I was thrown to the ground and beaten. I couldn’t even breathe. They beat up my entire body.”
You can see him being repeatedly kicked while lying on the ground in a video here:
Nor was what happened to Jardi the only incident of violence. Just hours later, at about 4 AM on Friday, “An Arab crowd of several dozen masked men carrying rocks, bricks, and bats, attacked dozens of Jewish-owned vehicles…on Bar-Lev Road, near Zvhil Square in downtown Jerusalem.”
Attorney Nati Rom, driving by the area, saw what was happening: “People start screaming, it’s really very scary, the rioters start to close in to reach us, and they keep throwing stones, vehicles are smashed everywhere, people are hit.” He called the police; utilizing his personal gun, he fired one warning shot in the area, which caused the mob to hesitate until police came, dispersing the crowd with stun grenades and tear gas.
On Friday night, graffiti reading ‘Death to the Jews’ and swastikas were sprayed over six meters of Chabad Street in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter.
While some 100 rioters at the Qalandiya checkpoint outside of Jerusalem threw Molotov cocktails and rocks toward police officers, and shot fireworks at them.
Violence was renewed Saturday night at Qalandiya and at least three other checkpoints.
Saturday night, as well, “violent clashes broke out between police officers and Arabs who gathered near the Old City of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate.
“The Arabs yelled, ‘Allahu akhbar!’ at the police officers before throwing objects at them. The officers responded by firing several stun grenades.
“The Arabs also threw rocks at the officers and set off fireworks aimed at them.
“In addition, it was reported that fireworks and firebombs were thrown at the Beit Orot neighborhood in Jerusalem.”
Last night a new video emerged of Eli Rosen, walking his dog at 1 AM in the Shimon HaTzadek (aka Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood and attacked by a Palestinian Arab mob: “I was attacked with murderous blows. ‘Yehud, Yehud,’ they shouted, and attacked me…Someone else, less strong or stable, would have ended his life there – this is just a third intifada…it was a lynch in every aspect.”
You may read about a far right Jewish group called Lehava, which brought a large contingent of anti-Arab protesters to Damascus Gate; and so I want to set this into context. They came out in angry protest to video of Palestinian Arabs slapping yeshiva students sitting quietly on the Light Rail in Jerusalem that had been shown on Tik-Tok and then tweeted. Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai called this incitement and vowed to seek out and arrest the attackers. You can see the video here:
It is beyond outrageous. That peaceful Jews in Israel should be accosted for no reason, and that those who accosted them should then brag about it by making it public. This raises some exceedingly important issues regarding the right of Jews to be safe in the Jewish State. Lehava was set on making it clear that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. The police, well prepared in this instance, intervened to insure that the Jewish group and the Arabs were kept apart and that no violent clash ensued.
Sunday morning, Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said, “There is no doubt that this Ramadan is different from previous years.”
Religious Muslims seek to pray at Al Aksa over Ramadan and Turgeman made the point that every effort is being made to keep it open and available to them.
“…but unfortunately, with no connection to Ramadan, hundreds of young people are working for one goal – to create riots and clash with the police.” (Emphasis added)
Members of the Religious Zionist party have made comments regarding Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response to the Jerusalem violence that illustrate exceedingly well my point about the need for strength.
After the prime minister had called for “calm on all sides,” MK Smotrich retorted that the response was “feeble”: Posting a video of an Arab Palestinian mob beating a Jew, Smotrich wrote: “Tell me, after countless terror incidents and lynchings by the Arab enemy in recent days…did Netanyahu seriously call this evening to ‘calm the spirits on all sides’???” Maybe, he suggested, it was time for Netanyahu to go.
For the record: District Police Commander Doron Turgeman had said quite clearly that, “There is no symmetry. Most of the attacks are carried out by Muslims.”
When Likud charged that Smotrich was ungrateful and should show humility, he responded that his loyalty is not to Netanyahu, but “to the values of the Right and religious Zionism.”
“Abandoning the State of Israel and the security of its people to Arab rioters… is not part of my values…
“When Netanyahu acts correctly, I support him…When I have to criticize him when he’s wrong, I do…”
“…the country is in flames and Jews are attacked and afraid,” and yet, said Smotrich, the prime minister acted as if he were from the United Nations by calling for both sides to calm down.
When we look at what is being said by Palestinian Authority officials, we understand how very important Smotrich’s position is. We are engaged in a battle for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount not just on the ground but in international media (emphasis added):
“The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and other Palestinian factions on Saturday held Israel fully responsible for the violence that erupted in Jerusalem over the past few days and called on the international community to put pressure on the Israeli government to stop its ‘provocations.’
“…the PA leadership condemned the ‘incitement to kill Arabs by settlers and far-Right groups, who are protected by the Israeli army and police.’
“The statement warned that ‘Jerusalem is a redline’ and called on the international community to ‘provide protection for the residents of Jerusalem against the aggression of the settlers.’
“…PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accused Israel of practicing ‘organized state terrorism to Judaize Jerusalem, impose fake realities, and harm Muslim and Christian holy sites.’
“Shtayyeh praised the ‘heroic’ actions of the Jerusalem Arabs who went out to ‘confront the settlers and occupation soldiers and foil their schemes.’”
This fallacious and inciteful position of the PA is accepted in many quarters. It falls to our government to set the record straight: to make crystal clear where responsibility for the violence lies and what are our rights to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Equivocating in order to be “nice” does not cut it.
Hamas leadership has called for the Palestinian Arabs of eastern Jerusalem to continue “mobilizing in the Old City and at its gates.”
“You are proving to the world, yet again, that Jerusalem is the heart of Palestine.”
Meanwhile over in Gaza, there were large scale demonstrations in support of the unrest within Israel. Many hundreds of Palestinian Arabs took part, with over 700 at the Karni crossing (which is closed) alone. The IDF worked to keep the crowds away from the security fence.
Over the course of Shabbat and into last night, close to 40 rockets were launched into Israel. This was clearly an action synchronized with the violence inside of Israel. Most of the rockets landed in open territories; the Iron Dome responded to those aimed at populated areas.
“Two terror groups in Gaza took responsibility for the rocket fire — Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades.
“We will burn the occupation’s settlements for you, O Jerusalem. The greatest has yet to come,” a spokesperson for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade said.
“We will defend Jerusalem with our blood, resistance, weapons and will,” said Khaled al-Batsh, a leader of the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second-largest group after Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “What is happening in Jerusalem is a battle for sovereignty over the city.”
Israel, which holds Hamas responsible for what is done in Gaza, responded with pre-dawn bombing on Saturday of Hamas sites such as rocket launchers and underground infrastructure. “We are prepared for any scenario,” declared the prime minister. While Defense Minister Gantz said “Gaza will be seriously hit if the quiet is not maintained. IDF Chief of Staff Kohavi postponed a trip to the US to be here in case the situation further deteriorated.
Today there is a tenuous quiet in the south.
Dear friends, this is hardly the end of the story with regard to why we desperately need a strong right-wing government without delay. But what I have written here is so important, and so timely, that it stands alone. I will return to explore other, related issues. And to provide evidence, once again for our rights to the Land, and Jerusalem in particular.
Now I implore you to share the information I have provided as widely as possible. Most people simply do not know!!
You will be providing a service to Israel by distributing this posting.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.