Opinion |

Showing Off Israel's Macho Force in Jerusalem March

Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann
Jerusalem's Flag March, last year
Jerusalem's Flag March, last yearCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Carolina Landsmann
Carolina Landsmann

This year the Shin Bet security service, the army and the police recommended to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that the Flag March take place as scheduled Sunday, including the defiant route through the Old City of Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter from the Damascus Gate – in the face of the Palestinians, who will be under police restrictions during the march. They also warned Bennett against capitulating at the last moment in the face of Hamas threats – as Benjamin Netanyahu did last year, a moment before the first rocket salvo of Operation Guardian of the Walls was fired from the Gaza Strip. They explained that the move would be interpreted as weakness.

In the spirit of the national poet Haim Nahman Bialik, powerlessness is the most shameful disease. So this year we’ll show so much power that Palestinians on either side of the Green Line will be afraid to be born, let alone to continue to live here. We’ll emit so much testosterone our missiles will grow beards. Three thousand police officers will secure the Flag March – about the size of the entire force in the Jerusalem District. Commissioner Kobi Shabtai ordered the highest alert level, putting all police and Border Police personnel and combat troops on active duty. You read that right: Every single police and Border Police officer.

The police said forces will also be deployed in mixed Jewish-Arab cities, three companies of reserve Border Police officers will be called up and the remainder put on alert for deployment. Oh, I almost forgot: The police are also preparing for possible rocket fire at Jerusalem, with sound trucks to tell the crowd to take shelter if needed. In other words, preparing for all past scenarios.

But don’t look at him like that, Shabtai isn’t concerned just with security in the banal sense of the world. He’s not a keep-your-head-down type of police chief, and this isn’t Switzerland. He and the heads of the other security agencies also think about what Israel is projecting to its Arab citizens, to Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and the entire Muslim world. What might all these think if, heaven forbid, the government were to prevent its Jewish citizens from prancing around the Damascus Gate plaza waving Israeli flags and singing “Death to Arabs,” “May your village burn down” and other hits of the genre? What would Israel look like were the police actually to maintain order and prevent a regional flare-up at any cost? It would be better not to know. That might be good for the Diaspora Jew, the weakling, but that’s not why we founded the State of Israel. Forget about it. No way. Shabtai’s policing doctrine takes into account the need to strengthen governability, and governability means being willing to go to all-out war for the right of any Jew to curse any Arab’s mother and his mother’s mother in the Old City of Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter. What, you have a problem with that?

When Israelis speak about “sovereignty” and “governability” at a level befitting instructions for night maneuvers during a youth movement swearing-in ceremony; when the defense establishment sounds like a psychologist for “Married at First Sight” trying to match a very eligible woman to an alpha male (and remind me when Israel ever “projected weakness”?); when no one in Israel shows any interest in the CNN investigation into the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, that suggests that the Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist was shot intentionally by Israeli soldiers; when her funeral devolves into barbarism (but look at the show of force we made, yeah? No one will mess with us after that. No way). When all this happens, there is nothing left to do but to become stronger in your faith in God and to pray – on the Temple Mount, if possible. Nothing showy, just a silent “Shema Yisrael,” don’t make a big deal about it. Between you and me, maintaining the status quo is for weaklings.

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