The ceremony during which the Bnei Sakhnin soccer club paid tribute to Azmi Bishara, the former Knesset member who fled to Qatar amid allegations that he had passed information to Hezbollah in Lebanon, was not a provocation. It was another, uncontrollable step that demonstrates how the Palestinians in Israel indentify, in an entirely natural manner, with the terrorists among their people who are trying to undermine the existence of their country, Israel.
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The act, which thousand of soccer spectators at the Bnei Sakkhin stadium applauded, refutes what is claimed after every incident in which Arabs in Israel collaborate with the enemy: that the collaborators constitue a small, unrepresentative minority of radical intellectuals, Islamist fundamentalists and extremist politicians. The masses of the people and their leaders, their Jewish advocates claim, renounce these extremist acts. But the moderate majority has not spoken out at all in condemnation of the mass identification with Bishara.
During the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Shin Bet security service listened in on Bishara. Suspicions were raised that the Knesset member, who had sworn allegiance to the State of Israel, had briefed Hezbollah regarding the choice of Israeli targets at which they should take aim with their rockets. One of the volleys attributed to him was the pinpoint targeting of a site at Kibbutz Kfar Giladi in the north that took the lives of a dozen paratroopers.
Following this, Bishara fled the country. Since then, with funding from Qatar and terrorist organizations, he has been conducting an all-out war against the country where he acquired his education, his social and academic standing and his position as a member of parliament.
No, it’s not due to discrimination - which in fact does exist - that Israeli Palestinians identify with Bishara. More and more Israelis are becoming convinced that the sentiment denying the existence of Israel as the state of the Jewish people is a basic, inherent phenomenon that is rooted in the Palestinian DNA and that no civic equality, although it should be promoted in any event, will change these congenital feelings. That’s why the Palestinian leadership in Israel has never condemned Bishara and the terrorist attacks that Arabs like him have committed.
One indeed would have expected an unequivocal rebuke on the part of the Jewish circles who argue that most Palestinians in Israel are loyal to the state. Those circles instead direct all of their demands - and criticism - at Israeli governments and those who serve them as well as at sectors of Jewish society that they view as hostile to the Arabs.
It is difficult to recall any condemnation of subversive activity, including murderous acts on the part of the Arabs. All the combative energies of the various civil rights associations focus, with generous support from the New Israel Fund, on the Jewish sector of society. (Is that what nave Jews from abroad designated their contributions to?)
Neither Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu nor Likudnik Miri Regev should be the ones to mount a rebuke. Their words fall on deaf ears. The left, which identifies with the distress of the Palestinians, needs to clearly denounce the rebellious act at Sakhnin. It owes it to the object of its support: the future of the Palestinians in Israel, who interpret the silence of the Israeli left as quiet support for their actions. Above all, the left owes it to itself to maintain what remains of its legitimacy, which has diminished substantially recently, primarily due to its compulsive, uncontrollable tendency to defend the Palestinians, whatever their actions.
The silence on the left in the face of the honor bestowed upon a traitor-spy is one silence too many. And anyone who doesn’t understand this is relegating himself to continued decline into the very margins of Jewish society in Israel. In the view of many, both individuals and organizations on the left are grouped together in the same category as Bishara. If they are outraged by such a label, they must prove it, before their indisputable final crash.