After the bloodbath by a mentally disturbed Arab man on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street on Friday, one sensed that every Arab in Israel was expected to rush to fly from the roof of his home a huge flag reading, “I apologize.” And it would be good if, in addition, a hymn of loyalty to the state were heard issuing from within every Arab home.
- Netanyahu's racist mudslinging against Arabs
- Don’t put Israeli Arab community in the dock for Tel Aviv shooting
- Netanyahu's speech at scene of Tel Aviv shooting: A shameful, fear-spreading horror show
Demanding that Arabs demonstrate loyalty to the state carries an implied assumption that Arabs are not part of the state, but rather some object belonging to it, like a wreck in the yard. And as if to warn the Arabs of the danger that might await them, a semi-covert threat to boycott businesses in Wadi Ara, where the suspect’s town is located, is spreading.
Such a Kafkaesque situation has not been seen since the time of Kafka himself. Even when you cry to the heavens with rage over the young Jewish lives cut down, you are still a potential suspect. Even the joy of human solidarity is taken from you.
Meanwhile, some Facebook genius is recycling an unfortunate photograph from years ago that pretends to show Arabs in Wadi Ara handing out candy after Friday’s murders. The photo is still making the rounds on the Internet.
Still, despite all of their best efforts to deprive Arabs of their humanity, I am expressing here my revulsion at this heinous crime, not because of the hummus that will spoil in the pot because of some half-assed boycott, but because I have a heart, and the hell with all those who mix hummus with blood.
If that weren’t enough, up comes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and threatens us that there won’t be two states here. But Mr. Prime Minister, who has established the foundations for two states?
This has been the policy of all Israeli governments since the beginning — abundance for Jews, or at least for some of them, and suffocation for the Arabs.
Mr. Prime Minister, if you had only watched the two days of incitement on Israel’s three main channels, you would have realized who is creating two states. The Jewish 'Who’s Who' was there — the interviewers, the interviewees, the agitators, the reassurers, but not a single yearning — or non-yearning — Arab soul among them. Even the “good” Arabs have no place on television in these circumstances.
What’s more, Netanyahu came at us as if he was the opposition leader, demanding that the government enforce the law. Mr. Prime Minister, it’s the police under your command that have turned our towns into thriving weapons markets and made our lives unbearable. Almost every week several communities in Wadi Ara demonstrate against the armed chaos within them.
I’m writing this not to exempt the Arabs from responsibility for the violence in their streets. I am in fact harshly critical of the way Israeli Arab society functions, especially given the dangerous fact that 40 of its young people have crossed the border into Islamic State hell and there has been no proper response. But the main problem here is a regime that believes, as a policy, that as long as Arabs are killing other Arabs, there’s no reason to intervene; on the contrary, let them continue.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s movie “Babel” follows the trail of an old hunting rifle that is seized in Morocco after teenagers used it to shoot and wound an American tourist. Things get as far as Japan, where it emerges that the rifle had been given as a present, not as a murder weapon. We come to the conclusion that many tragedies in the world stem from misunderstandings that spring from ignorance, alienation and prejudice.
Here, in the jumble of different languages, we have created a Babel of our own, and if we could only decode all the languages of everyone who is involved, it would create a single language that would speak to the hearts of all of us. Because we all want the same thing: to live in dignity in this tormented land.