The following text is by a friend of mine, who served for years in Hebron. He’s originally from Jerusalem and currently lives on a kibbutz in the Negev (where he volunteered before and after his army service, as part of a garin doing national service). This is a person who loves his country and is hurt by what’s happening in it.
He wrote this a few days ago, and I apologize for my delay in sharing it.
I’m talking to my little sister, who has been spending most of her day as the war-room officer responsible for all the medical treatment and medical evacuation. She tells me a bit about all that has been happening today in the cursed city, Hebron. Then she says: “all together it was o.k., only 4 wounded from our forcesâ€¦” What has it come to, that “our forces” doesn’t include Israeli citizens who were also injured during the evacuation of the “house of quarrel (or the “house of peace”- depends who you askâ€¦). The saddest thing is that it’s true- these people don’t define themselves any more as Israelis. They don’t accept the sovereignty of the state and its institutions. The Supreme Court, the IDF, the police, and the Knesset- they are all irrelevant in the eyes of these people that are not even law-breakers any more- the law does not exist to them- and the consequences are disastrous.
It’s so stupid to compare events from modern Israel to the Holocaust. It’s not only stupid, it’s completely inappropriate. Nothing in the last 60 years of Israel’s existence can compare with the cold-hearted and systematic murder of the European Jewry. Today’s events in Hebron remind me other things- demolition of graves, desecration of prayer houses, trashing of shops and businesses, and physical damage to innocent people. 70 years ago this night was called “Kristalnacht” and it happened in Nazi Germany. Today it’s happening here- in Israel- the country we all love. A father and son were shot in their home just because they’re Arabs, shops burned and neighborhoods terrorized by Jewish settlers. As a soldier who served a few years back in the city of Hebron, I know that the army can not stop the “price tag” policy of the extreme settlers (a policy that states that for every evacuation of a Jewish house or settlement there will be retaliations against Arabs throughout the West Bank). They can’t due to the fact that they have no backing from the state to do so.
It’s right- they are a small minority, it’s right- they don’t represent the views of the vast majority of Jewish settlers in the west bank.
But they’re here and we are responsible for them. We always demand the Palestinian authorities control their extremists, how can we keep on doing so when we don’t attempt to control ours?
It’s reasonable to think that if I wasn’t stuck to the news today, I would have had a normal and even relaxed day. We had fine weather, the kids were cute, the garin are doing great and I had a lovely dinner with my girlfriend (I cooked a great onion soup and my roommate baked some bread for us).
Less than 3 hours drive- but two different worldsâ€¦