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The Question Israel's Public Security Minister Needs to Ask

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, in June.
Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, in June.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

Arab university students comprise 19 percent of the student body in Israel and 60 percent of Israelis studying overseas. Twenty-one percent of all doctors are Arabs, who also constitute 46 percent of new doctors, 50 percent of pharmacists and 48 percent of medical teams. To make things sound even better, one could note that in 2008 there were only 800 Arab engineers, whereas today there are 9,000. There are also several pearls in this tangle of numbers: 60 percent of Arab students are female; there are 150 Arab professors, 20 of them female. There are currently 500 female Ph.D. candidates who are Arab.

Who could believe then that this flourishing society is mired in a sea of blood, tears and weapons? Are these two sides of the same coin or is this a distortion that is unconnected to the coin but to those who roll it along?

Eighty years ago, after the British quelled the Palestinian revolt, there was chaos in the streets, with armed gangs sowing destruction, murder and score-settling among the Arab population. Weapons were freely accessible, and crimes were attributed to anonymous figures. The British apparently said to themselves: “Let the Arabs stew in their own juices.” This was a result of their divide and rule principle.

And lo and behold, what a wonder. When World War II broke out in 1939, the British collected all these weapons in one fell swoop, bringing an end to the chaos. The current situation resembles that of 1936. Then as today, there is no rule of law. But if in 1936 the revolt was aimed at liberation from British rule, we are now witnessing a different kind of revolution. One could label it “the Arab doctors’ revolution.” Any other properly-run country would be proud of this kind of revolution, trying to bolster it. But not here in Israel.

For some reason I recall the words of Uri Ariel, a former head of the settlers’ Yesha Council, spoken to Shimon Shabas, the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office during Yitzhak Rabin’s term.

“We have patience, we’ll conquer you, and you’ll cease to exist. Our strategy has changed. We don’t go to yeshivot combining studies with military service anymore. We educate our children, so they become officers and IDF commanders, senior Shin Bet operatives, Mossad agents and politicians.” Ariel wrote elsewhere that these young people are educated “with a messianic worldview which places the rabbi above the sovereign and Judaism above the state.” Just like when Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu called for the expulsion of Arabs from the college in Safed.

The quiet revolution waged by the saviors of the land, taking it away from Arabs and their leftist allies, has been hugely successful. And now, with all these associations rocking me from one thought to another, I wonder if the officer who last week shoved an elderly demonstrator from Combatants for Peace like one kicks a football is but one of many others, in the police, the Shin Bet, the army and in other senior posts, people who place a rabbi above the sovereign and Judaism above the state?

Well, I believe the good intentions of Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, who wants to fight crime in Arab communities. But it’s important to note that the problem is not crime, since this is something that exists in any human society. The source of the problem lies with those charged with fighting crime. Bar-Lev notes that in his first 100 days in office he did more than was done in preceding decades. But in fact, during this period the march of murders has only intensified to monstrous proportions.

Bar-Lev should ask himself why the police waited so long. Here, there is nothing more appropriate than Stalin’s statement that the army should be prepared when an order is given, and even without one. “I don’t need to order my watch to continue ticking (“Stalin” by Edvard Radzinsky, Maariv Books).”

The police did not wait for an order, for a plan or budgets when it came to catching the escaped prisoners. Why does the police watch stand still when it comes to the lives of Arab citizens?

Honorable minister, your subordinates’ watch is not functioning. Crime is now making great strides, drowning our beautiful revolution in rivers of blood.

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