Opinion |

Arab Gangs, Settler Gangs

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Prime Minister Naftali bennett at the Knesset, on Monday.
Prime Minister Naftali bennett at the Knesset, on Monday.Credit: Emil Salman

When the prime minister cries out “We’re losing the state!” and the justice minister announces, “We’re at war!” – both declarations referring to over 100 murders in the Arab community this year and the state’s helplessness to stop them – one can only guffaw. No Jewish state – as opposed to the State of Israel – is being lost.

Every day, the Jewish state breathes the murder of Arabs, the criminal disregard of their property rights, the systematic land theft, human rights violations, independent armed militias running the countryside by brute force, all with the backing and under the auspices of the state. That Jewish state is only growing stronger. Nobody has declared war on those militias, no police can enter their homes unannounced, they do not need to acquire their arms by clandestine means or smuggle them off IDF bases. It’s all done with permission and authority.

No minister, police commissioner, IDF chief of staff or Shin Bet head can even dream that the neighbors of these rioters will help in their apprehension, give testimony or rouse community pressure to stop the rioting. As some like to say of the Arabs: It’s a cultural thing. The culture of theft.

And so, if on the western side of the Jewish state the leaders of the Arab population fear for their lives or their peace of mind if they break the code of silence, on the eastern side of the same state the leadership has nothing to fear. It is part and parcel of the gang scene. The proof of this is that whenever a debate rages in Israel about involving the Shin Bet in locating criminals in Israel, and impassioned op-eds demand that this inane move be rescinded for fear of harming human rights and democracy – the true fear is that this decision might harm Jewish citizens of Israel as well. It’s a shame you can’t pass a law enabling the Shin Bet to operate only in the Arab community; then the anxiety would evaporate and become a routine clucking about discrimination.

It is fascinating, if unsurprising, to witness how the settler leadership has been struck dumb by this proposal. Supposedly, the proposal would also make them subject to surprise raids by police officers, Shin Bet coordinators and even soldiers, who would search their homes for “evidence” of crimes. They, too, have thousands of weapons, some licensed, some not. Their drawers also must contain action plans, photos, video clips, diaries and hard drives. By rights, this was the moment the hilltop thugs and the Israeli Arab murderers should have made common cause and embarked on an uncompromising fight against the government’s vile intentions.

And yet, not a peep has come from the Hebron hills or the rocky slopes of Samaria against the proposal. The Jewish militias know full well that even if the law that’s passed is equitable, it will only equalize the status of Arabs and Jews in their satellite state, named Israel, while their own precious selves will be exempt from it. And if anyone in the police or Shin Bet makes the error of assuming that now a more effective hand can be taken against those who shoot at Palestinians, uproot their olive groves and beat their children – these militias will know how to make it clear where the border between the State of Israel and the state of the Jews runs. As the cliché goes, what happens in Israel stays in Israel.

When Naftali Bennett believes that “we’re losing the state” because of 100 murdered Arabs, he himself demarcates the two states. His blind spot keeps him from seeing that the state is already lost. Not because it fails to locate the murderers or stamp out the violent outrages in the south, nor because the Shin Bet’s hands are tied. It is because Israel has once again become a colony, this time controlled by the settler power’s representatives who have settled into the government, the Knesset and the Supreme Court. These forces graciously allow the colony to deal with internal security only.

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