The horror expressed by the Israeli mainstream at the “blood wedding” video is more repulsive than the clip itself. The shock is at the messianic, disruptive representation of the settlement enterprise, the handiwork of successive generations of the Israeli mainstream.
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The police are shocked. Every month on Rosh Hodesh, the start of the Hebrew month, a “sivuv she’arim” is held in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. The ceremonial circling of the gates of the Temple Mount, accompanied by shofar-blowing and reading of Psalms, is organized by El Har Hamor, a nonprofit association that seeks to rebuild the Temple. The Israel Police provide security for the event, which takes place between shuttered Palestinian stores. Men in white kippot dance, sidelocks bouncing – just like in the video – and pound on the closed doors.
According to documentation from October, they also sing songs similar to the ones in the video (“Burn down the mosque” and “We will avenge one of the two eyes of Palestine, curse them”), and while the Arabs shut themselves into their homes, the dancers chant “Death to Arabs.” Not only are the police there, they also try to prevent leftists from recording the events.
Open and shut cases
The Judea and Samaria district police are shocked. This is the police district that systematically closes investigations of Israeli violence against Palestinians. Out of 1,104 investigations opened after Palestinians complained of violent injury or property damage over a 10-year period, from 2005 to August 2015, 940, or 91.6 percent, were closed without charges being filed, according to the Yesh Din legal defense NGO. In 85 percent of the cases, the closure was due to failure of the police investigation. The reason given in 624 of the cases was “offender unknown,” while in 208 cases it was “insufficient evidence.”
Examples? On Passover Eve 2011, a group of Israelis injured Bruce Lee Eid of Burin, a village south of Nablus. One of the Israelis shot Eid, wounding him severely in the abdomen and right hand. This attack was one of many designed to prevent the villagers from building on their lands. Soldiers fired tear gas at Palestinians who came to defend their neighbor. The incident was filmed, the origin of the assailants (the Givat Ronen outpost) was known, but the case was closed.
In another case, from October 2011, a few Israeli Jews from Combatants for Peace accompanied Palestinians from the village of Jalud on their first olive harvest in 10 years. In all those years the Israel Defense Forces (were they also shocked by the wedding video?) had kept them from working their land to avoid friction with the messianists from the local outposts (such as Esh Kodesh).
Masked Israelis, accompanied by an armed, unmasked Israeli in civilian clothes (perhaps the security coordinator) came, threw a stun grenade, fired into the air and attacked the harvesters with clubs, injuring three Israelis and two Palestinians. Soldiers and Border Police officers who were there fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians. The case was closed despite the wounded Israelis and the presence of soldiers who were witnesses.
The culture of “unknown offenders,” “insufficient evidence” and do-nothing soldiers nurtured the atmosphere of “we can run riot and no one will touch us” seen in the wedding video.
Here’s a less-than-wild guess: The justices of the High Court of Justice are also “shocked” by the video. Two out of three justices last week allowed a person who was convicted of assaulting a Palestinian youth to continue to offend against a different Palestinian, by cultivating a vineyard on private Palestinian land. With the High Court’s approval, five years after appropriating land that did not belong to him, Zvi Strock, son of Habayit Hayehudi MK Orit Strock, can continue to keep Fawzi Ibrahim off his land for another year.
Strock did not return the land, a full year after an IDF appeals committee ordered him to do so. Now he is requesting an additional one-year extension so that the process can be done “peacefully.” That sounds like a clear threat: If he is removed earlier, it will not be peaceful. The mainstream (the state and the High Court) heard the threat, and knuckled under.
Netanyahu 'shocked,' too
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is shocked, and the Defense Ministry is shocked. With their approval, dozens of bulldozers continue to nibble with the avarice of real-estate sharks at the land of dozens of Palestinian villages, in order to build homes for Jews. Go to Modi’in Ilit, to Alei Zahav, Barkan, Ariel. Without dancing or bouncing sidelocks, the state is doing much more than the “blood wedding” dancers could.
Thanks to the mainstream, the West Bank has become the land of unlimited possibilities for the average Israeli Jew. It’s a substitute for the welfare state that they ground down with a devotion that would do honor to Milton Friedman. This is the soil that gave rise to those young dancers with their bouncing peiyot and their guns.
Their messianism was born of the incessant secular Israeli disregard for international law and justice, which prohibit settlements in occupied territory. Their deranged messianism is fed by the consistent, deranged political objective of the settlement enterprise: to thwart the possibility of living in equality and peace with the Palestinian people in this land. Fed by and feeding.