Opinion |

Hero of Israel

The latest hero of Israel killed two civilians: a physician, for no reason, and a teenager who threatened him with that doomsday weapon, the screwdriver

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Netanyahu, Einat Schlein, Israel's ambassador to Jordan and Ziv, an embassy security officer, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, July 25, 2017.
Netanyahu, Einat Schlein, Israel's ambassador to Jordan and Ziv, an embassy security officer, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, July 25, 2017.Credit: Haim Zach / GPO
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

The new hero of Israel wears torn jeans, lives in a religious cooperative community in the south, has a girlfriend and he kills Arabs. Heroes of Israel have always killed Arabs, but sometimes they did so bravely; today they do so with rather pathetic cowardice. They’re scared of a teen with a screwdriver.

The hero of Israel kills Arabs indiscriminately, including ones who are innocent or who did not deserve to die. The Israeli hero is a young man of principles, principles he absorbed while serving in the occupied territories. He learned dehumanization in the Givati Brigade and how to kill civilians in Operation Protective Edge. He learned that the first action to take against an Arab is always to shoot to kill; the alternatives can be considered later.

He learned that it’s perfectly fine, even heroic, to kill an Arab, no matter why. He trained in the territories and put it to use in Jordan — what difference does it make, all Arabs are the same, whether on the east or the west bank of the Jordan River. His friends say he’s a “man’s man,” that this wasn’t his first time in a tough situation, like that teen with a screwdriver, and that he’s calm and considered. Imagine what might have happened if he weren’t. He might have killed five people, maybe 10.

The hero of Israel killed civilians: a physician, for no reason, and a teenager who was assembling furniture and who threatened him with that doomsday weapon, the screwdriver, in the heat of some argument, not even an attack. The hero of Israel didn’t blink. A hero of Israel never counts to 10. He draws and fires. Two dead, two more kill notches.

Our newest hero’s name is Ziv, but we can’t show his face. His blurred visage as he is embraced by the prime minister only adds to his aura. He replaces his predecessor, the more exalted Elor Azaria. The former killed a dying man, the latter killed two civilians. Don’t accuse him. That’s what he was taught to do in “tough situations” in the territories — to shoot and to kill. That’s what he was trained to be, a blind machine gun.

He is considered a hero. No one would dream of seriously questioning him as a suspect, beyond the formality promised to Jordan, and it’s already been said it would lead to nothing. Perhaps he committed murder, or perhaps negligent manslaughter? Perhaps he violated the rules of engagement? How would we know? We won’t know. We don’t want to know. Instead of that, we got the prime minister’s unsurprising phone call to him. “Did you make a date with your girlfriend yet?” asked Benjamin Netanyahu in that fatherly manner reserved for heroes. After that came the brave embrace in his office. Look, Jordan, look, these are the heroes of Israel, your sister in peace, the killers of your citizens. And the Palestinians are accused of exalting terrorists.

When a Jordanian soldier killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in Naharayim in 1997, Jordan’s King Hussein cut short his trip to Spain and hurried to Beit Shemesh to kneel before the grieving families and beg forgiveness. He also visited the wounded and his kingdom paid compensation. But when an Israeli government security guard kills two Jordanians, at least one of them completely innocent, the Israeli prime minister won’t even consider apologizing. Condemnations we demand only from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. We can only fantasize about a condolence call or the payment of compensation. Why, who died, as the saying goes? Two Arabs, nothing more.

King Hussein of jordan consoling an Israeli family whose daughter was killed by a Jordanian soldier during a class trip to Naharayim, 2007.Credit: Avi Ohayon / GOP

Two dead Arabs, and a hero of Israel who returned home safely, overcoming his injuries. Ziv the hero will recite his version of events, and perhaps even return to service. Tens of thousands of young Israelis dream of being Ziv. They dream of serving in the territories in the occupation army, of abusing and killing Arabs, of traveling to India and to Guatemala before becoming embassy security guards. If they’re lucky, they might even get to kill some teenager with a screwdriver and a doctor who happened to be there, as in the good old days in Qalandiyah.

Salute the heroes of Israel. They are the finest of our youth.

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