A Curse Be Upon You, Land Grabbers

The Druze and Bedouin serve in the military, while Israel steals their land and discriminates against them. Has Jerusalem gone crazy?

Yossi Sarid
Yossi Sarid
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Yossi Sarid
Yossi Sarid

Druze are good Arabs, prepared to beat up on bad Arabs and take a beating and insults from Jews. As a gesture of appreciation for their contribution, the state stole 90 percent of their land.

He is an Israeli officer. His name is Muki, a Hebrew name. He’s one of us. When he goes back to his Druze village and civilian life, he reverts to his original name, Mohammed. And all of the Mohammeds are the same. That’s the name on their ID card that will determine their course in life from here on out - not the name of a Jew, only that of a “blood brother.”

Even their uniforms don’t always help them hide their true identity. When West Bank settlers discover that identity at army roadblocks, they heap contempt on it openly, because there’s no trusting the goyim.

Last week, the order came down again for them to stay out of the area - Muki and two other soldiers from his community, as if the Dimona reactor was a nightclub in Haifa Bay where people are admitted or excluded on a whim. In response to the flurry of criticism when the Druze were singled out for special scrutiny at the Dimona reactor, the IDF said “security at the facility and oversight at the entrance is outsourced to a private company.” That’s how we learned for the first time that even this holy of holies has been privatized. Just one more step towards the privatization of the entire military shrine.

If I were the IDF chief of staff, I would urgently summon the “mission commander” to understand how it happens that three Druze are humiliated and not a single one of their comrades takes their side. Where did the spirit of the commander and esprit de corps disappear to? I used to drink the army’s weak black coffee and wonder if “the IDF is strong”; maybe the army also marches on that same Israeli stuff that swallows up every new discovery of discrimination. If every bureaucratic and racist whim snaps to attention, the chief of staff cannot be allowed to be stand at ease.

No, it’s no “screw-up.” There were screw-ups like this before and they keep on repeating themselves. Because contrary to President Shimon Peres’ self-righteous reaction that “we are not like that,” we actually are like that. The “other” always threatens us, as if we have never been the other. And if we continue to deny the problem, how are we to address it? It’s hard to be a Jew, and it’s not easy to live among Jews who Judaize entire areas entirely.

Bedouin can be good Arabs, too, on condition that they serve as our advance scouts through the field planted with landmines. Mohammed the Bedouin has a unique problem. Sometimes he doesn’t have a home to go back to from army duty. The authorities destroyed it while he was at risk of being ambushed, while you were sleeping.

Now, when the legislative process in the Knesset is reaching its conclusion, make haste, brothers, make haste. They will demolish more and more of your shacks. Legislation can be a despicable act, but there is no vermin it cannot cleanse.

The Prawer plan, for example. He who does not avert his eye from a single unrecognized village, he who looks the residents of those communities straight in the eye, will understand the principle immediately. The unrecognized village of Umm al-Hiran is where they are about to knock everything down to build a Jewish residential community on its ruins. What a horrible place this is. They evict and also inherit. The ghost of the Nakba still haunts the land, as if they are seeking to breathe new life into it.

So tell us, you in Jerusalem, have you gone completely crazy? None of you have any sensitivity to this sensitive history?

Even a representative of the House of Lords would betray a sense of discomfort from such a major transformation from Arab al-Hiran to Jewish Hiran, but they shall overcome, the Jews, because what wouldn’t you do for your country? After settling the dispute over who owns the land in the West Bank, now they are turning their attention to enforcement of law and order in the Negev, too. “Then justice shall dwell in the wilderness.”

A curse will be upon you, you who will soon take over the land. It will be the curse Uri Zvi Greenberg’s pronounced on Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek, in the manner of King David: “No dew shall be on your hills, nor on your trees, nor on your young.” (From “The Book of Indictment and Faith.”)

A Druze man and a Druze soldier. Illustration by Eran Wolkowsi.

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