Killing Arabs - Not What You Thought

A minister boasts of killing Arabs, a leader in the ruling party wants to expel them and a mayor is in favor of cleansing his city of them.

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Police arrest someone during an anti-Arab demonstration in Jerusalem, in which Arab passersby were attacked on Tuesday.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

Even Rafael Eitan, the tough general with whom Prime Minister Menachem Begin scared the goyim - "Assad be careful, Yanush and Raful are ready!" - had a human side. As his widow Ofra Meirson said: “Almost every night he would wake up and awaken me with shouts of pain and terrible suffering emerging from his throat, fragmented words, broken sentences … then he would climb up from inside some bottomless pit, from some kind of hell and from a bitter struggle he conducted with people, with an Arab terrorist, or in the battle of San Simon in the War of Independence" ("Raful's Sleepless Nights," by Roni Hadar, Haaretz January 3, 2006).

Apparently that is not the case with Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who has said: "I've killed lots of Arabs in my life, and there's no problem with that." In other words, despite the killing he doesn't suffer from sleeplessness or nightmares. Not the horrified look of a victim, not facial distortions of pain or astonishment, not a final tic followed by absolute quiet - none of those things disturb the minister's sleep.

Even if someone who was only a witness to killing does not shed a tear or at least get upset, then according to all the signs he is almost certainly suffering from shock. Is Naftali Bennett in shock? Are his comparison of Arabs to shrapnel in the butt, his description of the economic boycott of the settlements as a terror attack, his call to boycott the world, all signs of shock? Last Wednesday the signs of shock were clearly evident on the man: Bennett proudly posted on his Facebook page a photograph of the lead editorial of Haaretz, which was called "A nuisance named Naftali Bennett."

If it weren't tragic, it would be good material for irony. Maybe a chief Israel Defense Forces education officer will ask Bennett to meet with new recruits in order to imbue them with a spirit of battle and explain to them how easy it is to kill Arabs. And maybe those meetings will be entitled: "Killing an Arab - not what you thought," with the same ease with which we inoculate against polio - "Only two drops." The first in order to encourage death, and the second in order to encourage life.

Bennett's bragging arouses basic questions that you have to organize in your mind: First, what did he mean by "lots of Arabs"? If lots means two or three, that's throwing dust in our eyes - fewer than 10 dead is not considered lots. Second, Did Bennett kill those "lots" in one blow? Two? In innumerable cases? And three - don't those dead men have names? After all, a chance meeting is likely to lead to an exchange of addresses and phone numbers, so what about end-of-life meetings? And fourth, let him explain to us the circumstances of the killing, and then we can wonder, with the necessary caution, whether legitimate killing spilled over into deliberate murder? Not only that, it's a source of pride.

Moreover, under the circumstances in which Naftali Bennett, as a senior government minister, serves a public that is 20 percent Arab - won't his words be considered a threat to the public that he serves? His clear and biting words lead us to understand that he is ready and willing to continue the killing, or at least they constitute a call to others to behave like him. And that's how a new definition of a public servant is created: He serves you to death.

It's not Bennett, that's his natural environment. Raful, who in his day proposed filling the West Bank with settlements until the Arabs could only scurry around "like drugged cockroaches in a bottle," caused the Transportation Ministry to name a tunnel after him, the one built at the entrance to the cities of cockroaches, Iksal and Nazareth. Since then the tree of evil has only grown, with its roots planted deep in the soil: A minister boasts of killing Arabs, a leader in the ruling party wants to expel them, a mayor is in favor of cleansing his city of them and a parliamentary majority wants to get rid of their representatives. It's lucky that there are Arabs. Otherwise, where would all this evil with which we are blessed accumulate?