As a Jew, Israeli and Zionist, I Cannot Tolerate Jewish Terrorism

The time has come for the government to make it clear that Jewish and Palestinian terrorists will be treated the same.

Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit
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Suha and Hussein Abu Khdeir, center, parents of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, hold posters with his portrait after the reading of the verdict in his killing, at the Jerusalem District Court, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015.
Suha and Hussein Abu Khdeir, center, parents of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, hold posters with his portrait after the reading of the verdict in his killing, at the Jerusalem District Court, Nov. 30, 2015.Credit: AFP
Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit

I don’t know Yosef Haim Ben-David. I am not from the same age group (he is younger), and we are not from the same social circle. (He is a religious settler from Geva Binyamin and I am secular and from the Tel Aviv area). And we apparently don’t subscribe to the same ideology, but Ben-David is an inseparable part of my life.

As a Jew, an Israeli and a Zionist, I cannot free myself for a moment from the act that he committed on the night of June 2, 2014. He set out with two adolescents to hunt down a human being. He hunted him down and burned him alive. The fact that the human being was a helpless 16-year-old, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, simply compounds the atrocity. The fact that Ben-David hunted down Abu Khdeir and burned him plain and simply because the teen was Arab compounds my responsibility for the atrocity.

The knowledge that one of my own people and a citizen of my country committed a fascist act of terrorism on an innocent victim gives me no repose. And when it comes to the murderers of a Palestinian toddler and his parents in Duma, I can assume that I don’t belong to those killers’ age group or social circle and don’t subscribe to the same ideology, but the killers in Duma are also an inseparable part of my life.

As a Jew, an Israeli and a Zionist, I cannot for a moment free myself from the act committed on the night of July 31, 2015, when they threw the Molotov cocktails into the Dawabsheh family’s house. The fact that the fire burned one-and-a-half-year-old Ali Sa’ad Dawabsheh to death, as well as his father, Sa’ad, and his mother, Reham, only compounds the atrocity. The fact that 4-year-old Ahmed was seriously burned on that horrific night and is now growing up in a merciless world, without parents, compounds my responsibility for the atrocity. The knowledge that those of my own people, citizens of my own country committed the clearly fascist acts of terrorism against innocent victims shakes up and disturbs me, and allows me no rest.

The past week has been Jewish Terrorism Week, beginning with the quasi-announcement of a verdict in the murder of Abu Khdeir (in which Ben-David’s verdict was puzzlingly postponed). That was followed by the verdict in the arson attack on the Arab-Jewish bilingual school in Jerusalem (three years in prison). And then, outgoing police chief Bentzi Sau expressed optimism that the murder case in Duma might be solved. A fateful coincidence has confronted us again with the darkest events of the past two years. In the course of a few days, we have found ourselves face-to-face with the most frightening forces that have emerged from our midst, attacking our neighbors and disfiguring us.

We now know: A small group has arisen among the Jewish people in the Land of Israel whose ethics are the ethics of ISIS and whose deeds are the deeds of Kristallnacht.

Under no circumstances should we generalize. At its foundation, the State of Israel is a democratic, moral and just country. And the fact is that contrary to all the slander, official government agencies are working forcefully against Jewish terrorists, too. And under no circumstances should we discriminate: Murderous, reactionary forces also exist in the United States and Europe (the torching of an African-American church in North Carolina, the murders at the abortion clinic in Colorado, Wednesday's terribile shooting in Los Angeles, and the mass murder on an island in Norway). In our case, however, there is no consolation in the misfortune of others.

As Jews, as Israelis and as Zionists, we cannot reconcile ourselves to the rise of a home-grown form of barbarism. As Jews, Israelis and Zionists, we have an obligation to purge the evil from our midst.

The time has come for the prime minister to give an address to the nation, one that is strictly about morality. The time has come for the government to make it clear that Jewish and Palestinian terrorists will be treated the same. Fascism is fascism is fascism. From this nadir in this terrible moment, we must all come together in support of one pointed message: Terrorism will not be tolerated, even if it is Jewish terrorism.

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