By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky
How does a human being (or two) walk into a synagogue and begin hacking at worshippers who are immersed in prayer, leaving behind a trail of blood, victims, grief and horror?
The question is misplaced because no “human being” could do such a thing. It would have to be a beast in human form, a relic from primitive times before true humans became civilized. The Arab-Muslim animals that span the globe chopping, hacking and merrily decapitating – from Iraq to Jerusalem to New York to Oklahoma, and places in between and beyond – are a discredit even to the term “animal.” Most animals are not that brutal.
The real issue confronting Israel for decades and the civilized world today is what to do about the proliferation of savages who lust for blood and derive inspiration from their religious texts? One example not to follow is that of President Obama’s. In one of his more ludicrous statements in the last few months – amid a healthy competition – he decried the attack, the loss of life “on both sides (!),” and then added this gem: that the “overwhelming majority of Palestinians…want to live in peace.” Really? And based on what data was that determination made? That only tens of thousands of “Palestinians” rejoiced after the massacre, singing and dancing in the streets, distributing candies and sweets, praising the vicious slaughter and the slaughterers – and not hundreds of thousands? Polls in the PA reveal widespread support for the murder of Jews so what exactly is he talking about??
Obama seems to be as much an expert on “Palestinian” society as he is about Islam generally. His incessant protestation that ISIS distorts Islam is based on…what exactly? ISIS and sundry other radical groups seem to feel that they are fulfilling the dictates of Islam – and the few Muslims who disagree meet their fate at the business end of a machete. Actions speak louder than words. Obama’s expertise in Islam has led him to cede the Middle East to the most ruthless forces, embrace the radical Muslim Turk Erdogan as an American ally, and facilitate Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Perhaps with a nuclear weapon, Iran will be civilized, or so the thinking goes.
Little can or should be expected from Obama or from the Europeans, mired as they are in cultural deterioration, moral relativism, population decline and Muslim-inspired Jew hatred. Sweden just became the latest country to recognize “Palestine.” Sweden (!), which willfully encourages those who favor the shechita of Jews even as they themselves ban the shechita (ritual slaughter) of animals. How is that for misplaced priorities and corrupt values? And we should be clear, as the wave of recognition sweeps Europe in the coming year: any country that recognizes a “Palestine” is endorsing the mass slaughter of Jews.
But Israel has to act, especially as the violence has spiraled out of control. The dynamic needs to change, dramatically. At a certain point, the unrestrained behavior of unruly animals becomes the fault of the zookeeper, not the animals. What can be done?
Clearly, many things can be done that should not be in print, but the general approach needs to be the abandonment of defensive, reactive moves and an embrace of offensive, anticipatory, and proactive moves. The Arabs need to feel that they are paying a heavy price for murdering Jews. Right now, not only do they not pay a heavy price but the murderers and their families benefit. Here are some suggestions to change the dynamic, and they are all based on a single premise: that there is a war for the land of Israel that is being waged, and the Arabs who dwell in the land of Israel are the enemy in that war and must be vanquished.
Israel should make clear that a Palestinian state will never be created between the river and the sea. There will be no non-Jewish national entity tolerated. The Muqata in Ramallah should be destroyed and “President” Abbas should be incarcerated as a war criminal.
Terrorists will be killed, not captured (no great loss, as their fondest wish is for martyrdom). Their bodies will not be returned to their families but will be cremated, and perhaps the ashes buried with deceased pigs. The homes of the extended family (up to and including first cousins) of the terrorist will be destroyed, and they will all be deported to the Muslim country of their choice. A second terrorist in a village results in the destruction of that village and the deportation of its residents to a friendlier country. (If the homes in that village would be useful to Jews, then they should be retained and given to Jews after the evil residents are deported. Or, as they used to say in Israel, disengaged.)
Anyone who riots or throws a stone at a Jew should be shot – with real bullets. Rubber bullets and tear gas should be sold to the Amish. Those who wish to be martyred and who celebrate death should be accommodated as often as possible. The media should be barred from scenes of violence, cell service canceled and cameras confiscated, like in most war zones.
In the meantime, Arab access to the Temple Mount will be denied for at least six months, and Jewish prayer will be allowed thenceforth at permissible locations, such as they might be. It is unconscionable crime to deny Jews the right to move their lips on the Temple Mount! And those who refrain from ascending the Mount for halachic reasons will surely agree that if Jews cannot be there, certainly Muslims cannot be there. And perhaps the day will come in the near future when the mosque and the dome can be uplifted intact and reset in Saudi Arabia, Syria or wherever it is wanted. (The Arab countries can fight over it if they want.) That itself will preclude any Arab claim to Jerusalem.
The same restrictions and limitations would pertain to the Cave of Machpelah in Hevron. Any terror emanating from Hevron results in closure of the facility to Muslims. In fact, we should apply to Muslim holy places the exact same respect and deference they have shown to Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Hindu holy sites across the world. That seems only fair.
As noted here in the past, measures need to be implemented that encourage Arab emigration – the payment of stipends, compensation for property, etc. Thy must be made to feel that that they have no future in the land of Israel – no national future and no individual future. Start with the Arabs of Judea and Samaria who are stateless; they deserve to find a country in which they can be full citizens and make their contribution to society. Let them demonstrate in an Arab country their dexterity with bombs and their grace with machetes. (If Israeli Arabs persist in their support of terror – now at a low level, but who can predict the future? – they should forfeit their citizenship and be returned to military rule as it was before 1966.) Of course, those who wish to stay and be peaceful, acknowledging the sovereignty of the Jewish people in the land of Israel, are welcome to stay. But an enemy is an enemy – and one who wants to kill you, maim you, blow up your buses, trains and restaurants, run over your pedestrians and conquer your capital is an enemy, and a ruthless one at that. Why so many Israelis do not perceive that is an enduring enigma, an enigma that has enabled the relentless slaughter of Jews.
There are other measures as well but here is the problem: not a single method above will be enacted. That is why right now there is absolutely no deterrent to the murder and maiming of Jews. Indeed, it is exactly the opposite. The slaughter of Jews is incentivized in Arab society. Often the terrorist is killed (martyrdom and virgins), lionized and immortalized with the naming after him of streets, schools and camps (eternity), and his family receives a monthly pension of thousands of dollars to compensate for his lost earnings (financial reward). Under those circumstances, and given the primitive culture in which they are raised, it is an irrational act not to want to murder Jews.
That is the dynamic that has to change.
Yet, despite everything, much of Israeli society still clings to the illusion that “peace” is possible with these savages, or at least that someone, somewhere, sometime, will sign a peace treaty with them. That illusion is slowly receding, but it is still abetted by the elites of Israeli society, especially because it is being propounded and pushed by Western governments like the US and in the European Union. There is no more deadly illusion on the planet, except for construing ISIS as a cold summer treat enjoyed by children.
Rational thinkers will argue that the “world” will never tolerate such Draconian sanctions, that countries will sever diplomatic relations with Israel, cut off trade ties and completely isolate the Jewish state. And, in the short term, much of that is true. But is there an alternative short of national suicide and self-immolation? Israel has much to offer the world, without which many people in the world would suffer, that such alienation will be short-lived. And Israel’s pivot to Asia (much more successful than Obama’s clumsy and failed one) has allowed Israel to strike close relations with the two largest nations on the globe, China and India. Neither country is moved in its foreign affairs by a moral impulse and both countries are anxious for military ties with Israel. And do not overestimate the popularity of the Palestinians in the rest of the world; truth be told, they are reviled even in the Arab world, perhaps even more than in Europe.
We should not ignore as well the rank hypocrisy that promotes the double standard that cripples Israel’s ability to defend itself. Case in point: this week, Egypt evicted thousands of Arabs along the Gaza border and destroyed hundreds of their homes for “security reasons.” No courts, no appeals, no process. Some of the homes were being used to conceal tunnels, so they all had to go.
Moral? Not in normal times, but Egypt recognizes it is at war with a heartless enemy, and that enemy and its population deserve no accommodation. Even Jen Psaki found no fault in Egypt’s actions, the phony.
If only Jews would realize the same and stop fantasizing about convincing that enemy of our own goodness. Here is one exercise that should help: the same enemy that lynched soldiers in Ramallah and tore them apart is the same enemy that butchered holy Jews this week in Har Nof is the same enemy that kidnapped and murdered three precious boys just a few months ago.
It’s the same enemy. And that enemy rides our buses, shops in our malls, drives on our roads and lives just two miles from us. The same enemy.
Do you know where that enemy is, and what he is plotting right now?
Change the dynamic. Change the terms of the debate. Change the rules of war. And change the outcome that the enemy now anticipates. Such will save Jewish lives and even bring redemption.