The Added Value of a Jewish Life

Israel treats attacks on Jews as real estate transactions: An abducted and murdered Jew costs the Arabs 1,300 dunams of land. What if this blood currency was valid on the Palestinian side?

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Mohammed Abu Khdeir, selfie, date unknown, published July 7, 2014.
Mohammed Abu Khdeir, selfie, date unknown, published July 7, 2014.
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

It is true that every human being, especially a Jewish one, is “the world and all that is in it.” But it doesn’t hurt to add to the value a few dunams here, a few apartments there. The “world and all that is in it” is good for poets and emotional writers, the dunams are for Zionists who get things done. Because practically speaking, where can you exchange this “world and all that is in it”? Can you by bread with it in the supermarket? That would make Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel laugh; Ariel, who waylaid the members of the security cabinet who were meeting after the abduction of Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, to bargain over their price. In retrospect, we may say that it was good that Ariel waited, because the price then, when their fate was not clear, was naturally lower. Now it is clear that an abducted and murdered Jew costs the Arabs 1,300 dunams, but an abducted Jew who is not killed still has no price.

The truth is that “price tag” is not Ariel’s invention. After the horrific act in Itamar in March 2011, when five members of the Fogel family were murdered in cold blood, the blood bourse went through a major shake-up. While the government decided on a relatively low price – the establishment of only 400 housing units in the territories, then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai said this was not enough because “at least 5,000 new housing units should be approved for construction – 1,000 for every murder victim.” This “business discussion” took place four days after the murder that shook the country.

It is not easy to write about this matter, but it seems that even the tongue of a mute would break free of its fetters in light of this brutal greed. The country is in shock over the murder and a senior skullcap-wearer is already running amok asking for compensation – an abduction with a blessing that goes along with it. A baby, two little children, a mother and father are murdered, and the interior minister is quick to declare the rate – 1,000 apartments for a butchered baby. Why – seriously I ask – only a thousand, if horrors are being priced? But all that goes by the board, unfortunately, as if it is just another real estate deal.

At the time, the guardians of morals in the media were upset when former chief of staff Dan Halutz gave instructions regarding his ridiculous private stocks during the Second Lebanon War. Here the bargaining over blood is at its height, and no one says a word.

If this blood currency was valid on the Palestinian side as well, the results of one conflict would satisfy most of their demands. Two thousand two hundred Palestinians killed in the last war, multiplied by 1,300 dunams for each person killed – and you already have land enough for half a country. But these are Palestinians, and things go in the opposite direction. After the massacre perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein in Hebron, the Arabs were actually the ones punished: Their movements were restricted, whole areas of Hebron were closed to them.

Today too, after the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the police continued their welcome momentum and caused the death of another teen, Mohammed Sunuqrut, this time by a rubber bullet, the glory of Western civilization. That is more proof that in a lawful state only the security forces, and not anyone who feels like it, are responsible for sending the Arabs to the next world. Not to attract the evil eye, but since the abduction of the three teens, some 30 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, which is empty of missiles and tunnels.

Prime Minister Moshe Sharett wondered at the time whether Israel wanted to be a lawful country or a robber country. Then-Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon answered him that in addition to international law, Israel also behaved according to “the natural law of self-defense.” David Ben-Gurion was impressed with Lavon’s response and wrote him: “More power to you for your remarks in the Knesset.” The problem is that the second law has no clear rules; everyone can interpret it as they see fit.

And from that day to this, from Qibya to Gaza, this law of nature, or as it is popularly known “the law of the jungle,” is routine Israeli policy whenever it comes to the Palestinians.

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