When somebody on the Ayalon Highway passes me recklessly on the right, I dream of having a gun in my glove compartment. When Naftali Bennett calls on citizens to arm themselves, my dream is close to fruition.
The knowledge that one shot, not at the deranged driver's tires but only in the air, will get him back in his lane is the fulfillment of a dream. A gun in every glove compartment will restore order on the roads.
The advantages of a gun in every car are obvious. So are the drawbacks. One crazy driver with a licensed gun could cause a colossal accident that would paralyze the Middle East. One permit-holding gun owner could kill his wife, neighbor or the politician he detests the most.
Which constituency did Bennett mean when he called on it to take up arms? Surely not the Arab community. When a Jew with a licensed gun meets an Arab with a licensed gun the former will immediately “neutralize” the latter. After all, all Arabs are suspect. Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg will probably claim that “there were reasonable grounds for suspicion.”
Worry not, the security forces will be in control. Every senior officer in the Border Police will have his own militia. There will be one for settling accounts with the Bedouin, one for pedophiles and one for people committing traffic violations. Some will combat crime, others will dish out revenge.
Ben-Gvir’s and Regev’s militias will be responsible for the revenge. There's already a state-sanctioned apparatus for revenge, but they’ll handle the private one. Neither will be personal. An Arab happening by after a terror attack won’t know the Jew who beats him up, and the bulldozer driver who razes the house of a terrorist’s widow and children won't know them. Both are acts of revenge.
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The Arab passerby represents all Arabs, and the person delivering the blows represents (in his own mind) all Jews. This turns him from a thick-necked thug into a patriot wrapped in the national flag, which represents you and me. This patriot could ask, justifiably, what do you care if I puncture Arabs' tires every now and then? If you demolish houses as revenge, why can’t I puncture their neighbors' tires for the same reason?
Demolishing houses hasn't prevented dozens of attacks so far. There is no deterrence in razing houses, but it provides consolation. There is some consolation in revenge. You see, the state says, I’m not just sitting on my butt and whining, I’m doing something.
Demolishing houses, arresting children and abuse at checkpoints are the government's only contribution to the “peace process.” It doesn’t have the time, it’s preoccupied with survival, it walks barefoot on shards of glass, each of which could topple it. (Today it’s leavened bread in hospitals during Passover.)
Don’t move, it urges us, stay home, we can’t help you. Terror attacks? Use guns. Annoying neighbor? Throw a stun grenade. Hostile office worker? One shot should do the trick.
The government has no time for our trivial nonsense. Not the cost of living, not the pandemic, not even housing prices. It recommends that we get under a blanket and wait till things sort themselves out, since it’s very scary out there. Fear is its excuse for inaction.
Bennett said that he assumed there would be more attacks. His “assumption” is the ultimate in ass covering. I’ve done my duty, he says, here, I’ve warned you. You don’t really want us to put a cop on every corner, so protect yourselves, pray that Ramadan passes quietly and, to be safe, stay home.
TV stations also want us to stay home. Attacks outside and long stretches indoors make for good ratings. The news is a ratings engine. In the background are dead bodies, funerals and weeping, in front are kitsch and death. Ben-Gvir and Regev are experts at it. Attack season is their hottest ticket.
Anyone describing another person in stereotypical terms of ethnicity or religion is a racist. Ben-Gvir is a racist. A murderer doesn’t care whom he’s killing; neither does a racist.
The logic of this racist is calculated: More attacks mean more TV exposure; more casualties mean more interviews. What else did the murderer achieve? From now on I revile Ben-Gvir and Regev no less than I detest the murderer.