Text size

The young criminals who mercilessly beat Jamal Julani and his cousins simply because they're Arabs don't live in settlements, haven't occupied any cities and haven't taken control of any terraced hills in the territories. Perhaps they participated in one of those tours the Education Ministry has been sponsoring in Hebron to deepen kids' familiarity with their Jewish heritage and heard something there about an occupation.

The haste with which some are tying the violence perpetrated in Jerusalem last week to the corrupting influence of the occupation is superfluous. The horrifying quote from one of the teenage suspects, that Julani, nearly beaten to death, "could die for all I care - he's an Arab," is not a result of the occupation. It's an inseparable part of the culture, which may have been fashioned somewhat by the occupation. But to hate Arabs and to want them dead; to stand aside, as dozens of passersby did in this case without intervening; to arrest a sick Palestinian, as one policeman has done, and leave him to die - that's already a worldview.

It's not necessary to read the disgusting book "The King's Torah," in which rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur - from the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in Yitzhar - write that "the ban on killing a gentile does not stem from the intrinsic value of his life, which is not essentially legitimate as such." These are the rabbis of the occupation, the arbiters of Jewish law for those hooligans on the hilltops. They belong to a different country, one in which the laws of the State of Israel are deemed worthless.

It would be better to examine the shocking words of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the rabbi of Safed, an Israeli city, who is subordinate by law to the Israeli education system. Eliyahu has determined that "Arabs live by different codes, by violent norms that have become an ideology. Like agricultural thefts are an ideology. Like extorting protection money from farmers in the Negev is an ideology."

And what does the Arab want? Not just to steal pipes or flocks of sheep from Jewish farmers. The Arab, as we know, always has his eyes on the daughters of Israel.

Talila Nesher, the education reporter for Haaretz, revealed in June a civics review book that helps pupils "understand" who this Arab is. The book reprints a letter issued by several rabbis' wives that urges Jewish girls to keep away from Arabs. In the sample matriculation test included in the book, the pupils are asked to give their opinion about the letter, and, as might be expected of a book that preps teens for the matriculation exam, it also supplies correct answers.

In this case, the answer reads as follows: "The association of Jewish girls with Arabs is liable to lead to relationships and even marriage. This assimilation of Jewish girls with members of the Arab minority will harm the preservation of the Jewish majority in the State of Israel." An additional argument is: "When Jewish girls associate with Arabs, it may put them at risk for nationalist reasons, and their right to life and security is liable to be undermined."

While this particular book is not under the supervision of the Education Ministry, thousands of copies have been sold as study aids for the matriculation exam.

Israeli "literature" promoting hate of Arabs predates the occupation. The children's book series "Danidin" by Shraga Gafni is full of expressions and illustrations that laid excellent infrastructure for Arab-hatred. The "Mikraot Yisrael" (Israeli Readers ) series, which helped educate hundreds of thousands of Israeli children, is striking in terms of the "incitement" concealed within it.

Similar books published in the Palestinian Authority keep those who monitor Palestinian incitement very busy. But there isn't really a need to list all the recipes for Arab-hatred that have been fed to us, and which we developed on our own, in order to come up with a defense for those criminals in Jerusalem, whose "only crime" was to do what Israeli pedagogy and the "Death-to-Arabs" ethos directed them to do.

This is an ethos that will continue to be an integral part of the Israeli-Jewish national identity, even if the occupation were to end tomorrow. Because "Death to the Arabs" isn't an expression of "routine" hatred of those who are different, or the loathsome slogan of some "price tag" gang. It does not resemble the xenophobia or the fear of Muslims that characterizes European racism.

Hatred of Arabs is part of the test of loyalty and identity that the state gives its Jewish citizens. A good Jew hates Arabs. A loyal Israeli will leave an Arab to die, because "he's an Arab." And someone who isn't like that, as we know, "sleeps with Arabs."