The Land of Israel should not be built as an act of revenge for murderousness. It should be built because this is the Zionist-existential duty we are commanded to fulfill at all times. Havat Gilad, which the government decided to recognize as an authorized settlement this week, should have been recognized back in 2002 when it was established – not in response to the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach last month. The settlement of Har Bracha, which was built near the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim, should have been designated an urban community from the beginning, unrelated to the recent murder of Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal.
The merciless massacres perpetrated by Arabs are directed mainly against their fellow nationals or co-religionists. Millions of Muslims, from the Atlantic Ocean to the depths of Asia, have been slaughtered by other Muslims over the last decades. Holy sites such as the Shi’ite temple in Samarra, Iraq, were blown up with worshippers inside. Sunni mosques, including the Prophet Mohammed mosque in Medina, have been attacked. If this is what they do to each other, one can only imagine what they’d do to us if they could.
I imagine that readers who know these to be the facts feel discomfort in reading these words. But this is the plain truth with regard to what the Arabs have done to us here, in the Land of Israel, over the last 100 years and more. In a poem he wrote in the 1920s, Zeev Jabotinsky described how from Dan to Be’er Sheva, there has been not a strip of land that has not been saturated with and redeemed in Jewish blood.
It was in those days – not the later days of the Gush Emunim settler movement – that the injunction was born calling for “an appropriate Zionist response.” This meant, then and now, that the Jewish people should respond to murder and evil not by taking an eye for an eye in revenge, but with building, labor and creation. It is true that Adolf Hitler did not need the mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, to convince him to carry out the Final Solution. But Husseini – the supreme leader of Palestine’s Arabs from the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt to the War of Independence in 1948 – and his followers eagerly awaited the implementation of this solution. To help out, they even established an Arab unit in the Waffen SS.
After failing to annihilate us between 1948 and 1949 and completing the work of Ashmedai, the Palestinians, assisted by Arab states, embraced a strategy of terror. The attacks did not start with our 1967 takeover of Samaria or the Jordan Valley. They began 120 years ago, at the start of the return of Jews to the Land of Israel. They have been accompanied by a pathological phenomenon: This murderousness has always found some defenders, or even supporters, among the Jews.
The Arabs don’t ask themselves how they’ve arrived at a situation in which brothers slash each other’s throats and in which a ruler burns his own citizens with nerve gas, while next to them, despite all the disputes and hardships, there is a flourishing Jewish state. Instead of embracing this wonder, they are involved in futile attempts to destroy it, at the same time (and with great success) destroying themselves.
We are about to celebrate 70 years since the establishment of the state. During those years, and despite many failures, we’ve accomplished the unimaginable. If the Arabs respond to the anniversary celebrations with violence yet again – and they probably will – it means they truly are incapable of learning anything, nor forgetting anything.