Minister Bennett Is Lying. The Settlements Aren't Keeping Israel Safe.

The heartbreaking truth is that Hallel Yaffa Ariel did not live as a hero and die as a hero. She was stabbed to death in her bed because her bed was spitting distance from occupied Hebron.

Uri Misgav
Uri Misgav
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A religious man walks past an Israeli soldier in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, June 30, 2016.
A religious man walks past an Israeli soldier in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, June 30, 2016.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Uri Misgav
Uri Misgav

As he left the Mark family home after his condolence visit, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that because Otniel and the rest of the settlements are under attack, the Tel Aviv area is not under attack. He is lying. Knowingly. For political purposes. It is a contemptuous and cowardly act. Certainly for the education minister and a person who represents himself as God-fearing.

Otniel is not the security zone for the Greater Tel Aviv area. If anything is true, it is the opposite: In Tel Aviv they are under attack because of Otniel and the likes. The terrorists who shot in Sarona came from the village of Yatta. The terrorist who stabbed in Netanya came from a village near Tul Karm. The terrorist who carried out the attack in Jaffa came from Qalqilyah. All in the West Bank.

The role of Israeli Arab citizens in the present wave of terror attacks is very small. Most of the attacks are carried out in the occupied West Bank by the Palestinians who live there. And they are aimed at the settlers and soldiers who are guarding them. We are in the midst of Operation “Peace for the Occupation.” It will not end without the end of the occupation.

Former deputy head of the Mossad Ram Barak formulated this truth clearly: “This is the price we pay for our sitting amongst a hostile Arab population. This is a price we can want to pay and it is possible to decide we don’t want to pay it.”

Minister Naftali Bennett in Knesset.Credit: Emil Salman

Why does Barak tell the simple truth while Bennett knowingly lies? Because Barak reflects professional values while Bennett reflects a messianic-religious ideology and politics of the streets.

At the funeral of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, Bennett declared: “Hallel, you are a link in the chain of generations of Jewish heroism against the hatred of Jews.” Once again he was lying. Hallel did not live as a hero and did not die as a hero. She was a child. Children do not need to be heroes or heroic links in the chain of generations. Hallel was stabbed to death in her bed at age 13 because her bed was located in Kiryat Arba, spitting distance from occupied and humiliated Hebron.

This is awful, heart-breaking. It is hard to admit it. It is easier to say over the freshly-dug grave that “whoever gives up Kiryat Arba-Hebron is giving up Israel,” as Bennett declared. Even though the truth is just the opposite: Whoever gives up Kiryat Arba may succeed in saving Israel, and will certainly save many more Israeli citizens and soldiers whose fate has already been determined — namely, to die there in future terrorist attacks.

This is a harsh and troubling truth. In ignoring it, there is no coalition and no opposition. It is much easier to wax poetic about how Hallel’s body was wrapped in a tallit the same day on which the body of Elie Wiesel was wrapped in a tallit, and between the two of them runs a thread of murderous hate against the Jews that links them. This nonsense was written by Yair Lapid, the founder of the “brothers’ alliance” with Bennett. In the real world, Wiesel died at a ripe old age in New York, and never thought to fulfill his Zionism in Jerusalem or Kiryat Arba; Hallel was not murdered by Nazis, but by a 17-year-old Palestinian youth, the third generation to the Israeli occupation and oppression.

In the real world, Bennett too, like his friends Lapid and Ayelet Shaked, has no intention of becoming cannon fodder. They support the settlers and soldiers who guard them, safely from Ra’anana and Ramat Aviv. Their rhetoric is intended to cover up the truth: Most of Israel’s combat potential is invested in policing the territories. Israel buys submarines and bombers for billions, but in the wake of the recent terror attacks the paratroopers and Golani soldiers were rushed to Hebron. They are not guarding Greater Tel Aviv from there, but Kiryat Arba and Otniel.

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