The crazy rabbi who pronounced recently that if the IDF allows women to perform in public, then observant men should immediately leave the area even if it’s against military regulations and even if the punishment for such behavior is death, is at it again. Today Rabbi Elyakim Levanon pronounced that Ehud Barak was “igniting fire” because he has strongly opposed the wild behavior of certain settler protesters. Rather then blaming the protesters, who actually entered an IDF base and physically attacked a brigade commander and his second in command, he makes a point to equate their actions with those of the government of Israel.

[Levanon] slammed the conduct of the government and its leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, “who are toughening their stance, and as a result, prompting extremists to do inconceivable things. There is no reason to threaten to evacuate outpost, while a solution can be reached anywhere.

“This is violence and this is violence,” he added. “There is violence against Jews on the part of those young extremists who run wild, and there is the violence of the Israeli government against peaceful and quiet settlers.”

What has the Israeli government done that is “violent?” Well, first and foremost it sends soldiers to protect the settlers. Second, it subsidizes the settlements in all kinds of ways. Third, it takes an enormous amount of international heat because of the settlements. Fourth, it often defends settlement activities in the courts. Fifth, it enables settlement growth through its own legal channels. Sixth, it postpones and postpones the dismantling of outposts that are illegal and against its own planning regulations – even when it really pisses off the American government and the Europeans. Seventh, it handles settlers with velvet gloves when some of them commit crimes. Eighth, very often it turns a blind eye to settler trespasses of the law or just of normal, moral behavior. Ninth, it funnels resources that could be used inside the Green Line to settlements that are outside territory that Israel has offered to keep in peace deals with the Palestinians. Tenth, it keeps many of the rabbis who are the leaders of the settlement movement in jobs on which they live.

It’s true, though. Every once in a while the Israeli government talks really, really tough about dismantling illegal outposts. Sometimes it even does dismantle one or two, even if infrequently. This is what Levanon is calling violence and this is the offense which he uses to explain settler violence.

Who are these hooligans? Bands of mostly young men, extremist modern Orthodox in the Israel kipa sruga mode, who are taking the movement from the center of Israeli discourse to the fringes of lunacy and potential civil war. They are sometimes related, and often neighbors of, many soldiers in the IDF’s combat units. Many believe that some of those soldier do indeed put their ideology ahead of their commitment to Israel’s IDF and Israel’s government. Make no mistake, I believe and I think most believe that if such soldiers exist, they are a small minority, but it is a critical issue about which the the IDF has expressed concern, as have many commentators, including some who aren’t on the left.

To their credit, a number of prominent rabbis spoke out and without Levanon-style equivocation against the behavior of these criminals.

The chief rabbi called on the law authorities to “use a firm hand against the rioters.” According to Metzger, “Damaging IDF property is a horrible defamation of God. Nothing justifies such a violent act, especially when it is directed at the IDF and its soldiers, who sacrifice their lives to protect the people of this country.”

and

Military Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz denounced what he defined as “crimes of revenge of any kind.” …[He] added that price tag activities were forbidden by Halacha and that he expected Religious Zionism rabbis to strongly denounce them.

What should the Israeli government do?

It’s in a tough place. It can’t remove its soldiers who protect settlements without endangering the lives of Israeli civilians in those settlements and also enabling the hooligans from attacking Palestinians or committing acts against Palestinian property with intent to incite. The government can’t easily cut funds or financial support either since the infrastructure that has been built is already part of the government’s debt. It may also find it hard to stop supporting growth in the very settlements that it has spent years telling the US government deserve “natural growth.”

So what should it do? It should come down with the full force of the law against these hooligans and even apply some tactics that have been used against Palestinian terrorists. For example, when it’s discovered who injured the brigade commander and his associate, they should be sent to prison for a long time. Then the IDF should destroy their homes and the homes of their leaders. If they’re young and living with parents, destroy the parents’ homes. Block their bank accounts. Living with parents? Block the parents’ bank accounts.

And arrest them without fear or concern; arrest them whenever they even begin to think of protesting. Monitor them as if they are terrorists so that any plans they hatch are doomed. Find their leaders and make examples of them while restricting their ability to communicate with their gangs.

But careful. Nobody should be killed or seriously injured while the government enforces its laws and rules. That would spark a civil war. Do to them what they do to everybody: keep it on low ebb sufficiently that nobody bothers you too much, but make sure you do it often enough and seriously enough that it will make the hooligans strongly reconsider the wisdom of taking their criminal, dangerous, immoral path.

They’re scum.

About the author

themiddle

32 Comments

    • It’s still a fun experiment and is far from over, Andy. Actions bring about reactions and there will be elections again not too far from now with a much stronger Labor party this time around.

  • Good post, Middle. Israel needs publicity like this like it needs a hole in the head. If the IDF is there, it has to enforce order in an equitable manner.

  • middle, after our whole talk, all I had to read is the first line of this post to see your are still a liar and hypocritical liberal.

    • What I love about this site is how in one post I get attacked for being a nationalist racist and in another I get accused of being a lying liberal.

      Levanon is nuts and his rulings are nuts and what I quoted about him is absolutely correct. You’ll also note I commended and quoted Orthodox leaders who opposed the actions of these hoodlooms but did not see fit to also attack Israel as if it’s guilty for their disgusting actions.

  • I’m with you Middle, so ignore all the haters. It’s an obvious parallel, so why not mention it? I’m no liberal hippy either.

  • … and let’s recall that EVERY WEEK dozens of lefties and Arabs gather at Bilin and Na’alin to throw rocks at soldiers – but nobody says squat about that… as the Useful Idiots say, “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.”

    Turning from Muddled Middlebrow Musings to actual reality, we have:

    1) The key words in Rabbi Levanon’s statement is “Ehud Barak”.

    Netanyahu needs him, but as Defense Minister he has pursued a far-left anti-settlement policy, which is not what most Israelis voted for or believe in now that the Piece Process is so obviously dead.

    So in places like Migron and other “outposts”, the army under Barak (with the cahoots of the clearly left-leaning “activist” judiciary) has let outrageous, obviously spurious last-minute land claims stand – and turned settlers out of their perfectly legal houses.

    Often it’s been done with spiteful mean-spiritedness – like coming deliberately in the middle of the night to bulldoze homes, leaving families with (traumatized) small children to pick through their belongings.

    So in typical MUDDLED fashion – your paragraph about how mollycoddled settlers are is way off, outdated, self-serving… and basically misses what’s really going on.

    Taken together in context, the reaction of the “settler” rabbinate is spot-on – decrying the unprovoked attack, while pointing out the politicized use of the army by Barak and the lefties… and signaling to Netanyahu that voters want him to actually enact the policies they voted for.

    2) You can search the archives here for previous comments on similar left-wing agit-prop throughout the Oslo years – as I said then, when democratic process is perverted, people seek other means of redress… these are the actions of kids who grew up on the lies of Oslo, the spinning of Ariel Sharon from right to left, and the mean-spirited destruction of the Gaza expulsion. The actions of people who don’t believe the system is fair or democratic – and they’re right.

    The Left can wring their hands all they want – this is the bitter fruit of their own campaign of disenfranchisement, their own trampling of democracy to impose their way.

    • Well, let’s put this as plainly as possible, Ben David. You have gone insane. You are completely lost in the fog of your own self-serving ideology.

      You support an attack on an army base, with violence perpetrated against officers on that base?! This isn’t some sort of demonstration. If you want those, go and put up some tents in front of Netanyahu’s office. This is a crime, and it’s a crime against the body which protects you and your communities.

      You want to claim Israel’s a democracy when the government does things you approve and not a democracy when it does things you reject? Is that it? Then you need to brush up on what democracy is. What happened at this army base was way beyond the pale. This is more than criminality, this goes against the ethos upon which Israel was built. And you wouldn’t exist and your community wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for this ethos, you sanctimonious, self-centered hypocrite. Oh, and that ethos was established by these leftists you so despise, the ones who led the creation of the state and its development for decades.

      What you advocate and support is an insulting spit in the face of every soldier who has stood guard over your settlements and homes, not to mention all those who were injured or killed in such service. Yeah, the leftists among them especially. It is an insult and spit in the face to every taxpayer and every government official who have supported the IDF’s presence there, not to mention construction and infrastructure costs involved with developing your towns and communities.

      If you and Josh are expressing the mainstream views of settlers, then it is time for the IDF and the state to far do more than what I propose above. It is time for the state to give you a short timetable to get out of all parts of Judea and Samaria beyond the security barrier and then remove its services, especially the IDF’s, once the deadline passes. You obviously don’t need the army and the state, and if these are your positions, the army and Israel don’t need you.

  • Someone tell me why Israel is any different from Iran or Pakistan now. The Talibani haredi have destroyed Israel just like they have destroyed every other community they touch. Put them, the fundie Christians, and the fanatical Moslems in a room and let them fight it out and leave normal people alone.

  • Wow – you’ve actually resorted to putting words in my mouth to avoid addressing reality.

    And like most liberal Jews, you’ve thrown your previous errors – decades of Oslo-era fantasy and hand-wringing – down the memory hole (yes, go look through the archives here – and see who called things correctly…)

    But unlike you – I live here. Live the reality.
    So I’m not so easily deceived.

    Let’s start with the straw men:

    Things Never Said – or EVEN IMPLIED – by BenDavid:

    1) No support for the attack at the army base.

    2) No off-again, on-again about democracy – I’ve been consistent in pointing out the problems with Israeli democracy and due process, and the fact that the Left is the source of those problems.

    3) No insult to soldiers – which is richly sanctimonious coming from someone who completely dissed the service of Orthodox officers for having the temerity to sit out a concert in which women were singing. (hypocrisy? Pot, meet kettle…)

    What WAS said – and was said years ago, and now is coming true:

    “The Left’s moves to get its way undemocratically – and delegitimize the middle-of-the-road, patriot religious national camp – will backfire/have backfired.”

    The emergence of anti-army sentiment in a group that, until now, has been uber-patriotic (and overrepresented in the officer’s corps) is entirely the result of the Israeli Left’s hijacking of democratic process – from Oslo through the Gaza expulsion.

    It’s a clear sign of loss of faith in the system’s fairness.

    Left-liberals who applauded when their pet policies were implemented – glorying in “Sharon the bulldozer” without heeding the trashing of democratic process – should not be lecturing the rest of us about “democracy”.

    Yes, dahling – go back to the archives and take a good look at the garbage you posted back then… the pooh-poohing of objections to how the Left imposed its will despite losing elections… then help yourself to a heaping spoonful of STFU about “democracy”…

  • Ben David, what are you talking about? SHARON WAS A LEFT WINGER? Sharon was hijacked by somebody? Sharon?

    Let’s get the facts straight. Sharon the bulldozer is also Sharon the father of the settlements. The “Left-liberals” you’re decrying established the settlements and then those settlements grew mightily under Barak DURING OSLO.

    The anti-IDF rantings have been going strong since well before the Gaza pullout and even if they grew steam during and after that, that’s the fault of your rabbis and leaders, not of mainstream Israel or the IDF. That was Sharon in power, and Sharon who was a far better strategist than you or I or practically any other Israeli alive today, made a decision that Gaza was not a good place for Israel to be any longer.

    When he made that decision, he was an elected PM who was able to secure a coalition to support him. That is democracy.

    And spare me the complaints about how he didn’t run on that platform. He had every right to do what he did. Did Netanyahu run on the platform of the laws they are ramming through or trying to ram through right now? Or is it that what a couple of his coalition partners are demanding and getting because he’ll do anything to stay in power? I know, it’s very democratic to stop talkbackers from posting comments and it’s very democratic to increase libel laws so that any mistake costs you a small fortune and it’s very democratic to try to influence the courts from the political echelon that decries those courts (maybe you can get Gingrich to run in Israel) and it’s very democratic to build up government agencies where women, 51% of the population, have no power and are compelled to listen to the men running those agencies and their rulings.

    Like I wrote above, you support democracy as long as it’s doing what you want. When it does something else, it’s “not democratic.” Right, for you to justify that, you have Sharon becoming an uber-Leftist. Talk about twisting yourself into a pretzel.

    Let’s understand what’s going on here. Israel attempted something many years ago and that something involved building communities of which you’re a part. For various reasons, some of them having to do with the “mistake” of Oslo and some of them having to do with historic changes such as American pressure (Madrid came before Oslo and that was Shamir, or was Shamir also an uber-Leftist?), the ’87 intifada, the growth of the Palestinian population in the Territories, the power of the Arabs at the UN, and so on, Israel is finding it extremely challenging to maintain its position of supporting and growing these communities.

    In fact, Israel is basically the only country in the world that wants these settlements and believes they are justified. Even the US considers them an obstacle. The only settlements about which Israel can get some consensus are those surrounding Jerusalem and abutting the Green Line because it can say, in good faith, that those take up very little territory and they contain the vast majority or the “settlers.” However, maintaining all the other settlements required tremendous sacrifice and support by Israel and its government. This is support you’ve been getting up to and including now.

    And yet, at some point something has to give. You can’t stay in control of the Palestinian population indefinitely without consequences. You also can’t annex them with consequences. You also can’t keep building new settlements without consequences. Every time you do, Israel pays some stupid price in its international relations. Don’t believe me? Israel just did to get its last PURCHASED submarine from the same Germans who have no inhibitions about selling the Iranians nuclear technology. Why? Because Merkel spits out the word “settlements” with fury every time she speaks to Netanyahu or about him. Sarkozy calls him a “liar.” Obama treats him like shit. And that’s just what we see. Behind the scenes it’s far worse. Yet, Netanyahu and his government are holding fast and supporting your communities.

    You don’t care. Every once in a while, you guys put up a few caravans and BOOM, all of a sudden the government, the courts, the IDF and all the relevant ministries have to kowtow to your “outpost.”

    If they don’t? Why then you complain that somehow they’re acting undemocratically. Never mind all that pressure by the other countries and their leaders. Never mind that even within Israel there isn’t a full consensus. Never mind that you launched an outpost without permission knowing full well that you’re violating rules and knowing full well that the old “wink wink, we’ll grandfather it later” system no longer works. Nope, you want an outpost and by gosh you’re going to build one. Screw the government, they’re not “democratic” if they try to stop you.

    You know why the IDF comes at night? Because of you guys. They come at night because the settlers have made it almost impossible to dismantle outposts during the day because when they have foreknowledge of the dismantling, they show up in the hundreds, they damage military equipment, they protest physically and they make it impossible for the soldiers to do their jobs. Then, in your chutzpah, when the government does it in a way that minimizes friction, you turn that into Israel’s fault, not the fault of the settlers who have been acting out against the IDF and the government’s wishes.

    Like I said, your definition of “democratic” is whatever suits your objectives and has nothing to do with democracy. Democracy is when you peacefully follow what the government – and this is a very pro-settler government, under extraordinary international pressure – which is democratically elected, decides.

    You don’t like it? Fine. Then you don’t deserve the support of the government, the state, the IDF or any other part of the system.

    Nothing you’ve said changes anything I’ve written and your feelings about being on the receiving end of some nefarious anti-Democratic movement are simply the rantings of a 3 year old who got upset because his mom put the cookie jar in front of him and then got angry when he took out too many cookies. The problem is that if he throws the cookie jar cover at his mom, he should expect to be punished. No more cookies.

  • One more attempt to make contact with the Muddled alternate reality….

    Muddle:
    Let’s get the facts straight. Sharon the bulldozer is also Sharon the father of the settlements.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Yes, but there’s a SEQUENCE of cause and effect – which you, in typical Leftie fashion, deliberately obscure.

    Sharon the “Father of the Settlements” was back in the 70s and 80s.
    Israelis elected Sharon to suspend the “piece” process – after desperately trying with Bibi I and Barak to elect a government that would stop the Oslo insanity and take security seriously.

    That’s how Sharon ran – “Mr. Security”.
    Immediately the unelected Leftie brahmin class in the media and court system jumped on him – as they did with Bibi – and used the threat of prosecution to prevent the people’s elected representatives from enacting the policies the people voted for.

    See mammaleh – that’s where the “democratic process” part comes in – the part you omitted in your rant….

    In the end, Sharon trashed all the rules of democracy, trashed his obligations to voters, and – faced with opposition from his party – trashed party and coalition too. But rather than running a caretaker government until new elections – which is what anyone who takes democracy seriously would do – he carried out the most extreme points of Leftie policy – ceding territory, police action against Israeli citizen – WITHOUT ANY DEMOCRATIC AUTHORITY.

    And Leftie hypocrites like you – who LOVE lecturing The Rest of Us about “The Rule of Law” – stood by and applauded. Suddenly you were unconcerned with the obligations of representative democracy – the “Bulldozer” was implementing your pet policy, whether or not a majority of Israelis had been won over through honest debate, or had elected that policy by vote.

    So if you’re going to write:
    you support democracy as long as it’s doing what you want.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    You’d better be standing in front of a mirror, dahling…

    The current mistrust of democratic process is well-founded. The shenanigans began when they got Rabin – the last credible Leftie war hero – sober enough to run as “Mr. Security” – and then pulled a bait-and-switch to kick off the Piece Process. The young people – raised in an incredibly patriotic and idealist sector of the Israeli populace – are now turning on the system because the Left runs this country not as a democracy, but as a banana republic.

    Regarding the settlements:
    1) The vast majority of Israelis support holding onto these areas now that Oslo has imploded – including increased settlement.

    2) The current round of “outposts” – such as Migron – are built on land that was previously cleared by the Civilian administration and/or purchased from Arabs. It is only the presence of Barak as Defense Minister and the presence of lefties in the court system that are blocking these settlements.

    If you knew ANYTHING about how things really work here – you’d know that nobody just shows up and pitches a settlement – pop! – in the most tightly patrolled, politically monitored patch of the world.

    The settlements like Migron have all been thoroughly vetted by previous administrations. If Barak were not in the government – and he won’t be next time – nobody would be saying boo about these villages.

  • So if I understand, in my own muddled way: you agree that a right wing prime minister who is considered “the father of the settlements” used a perfectly legal process to push through what he did in Gaza; you agree that if people did just “pop” up settlements, then there would be a problem since all settlements have to be approved by the government; and, you agree your young folks are “turning on the system” and have a “current misrtrust” of the “democratic system.”

    So we are in agreement on almost all the key points I made, except that you won’t acknowledge that you’ve gone insane and that you’re spitting in the face of the government that has supported and protected you – with many leftists among its ranks – since 1967.

    Now look, I don’t want to embarrass you with the Sasson Report, since I know you’ll reject it even though it was born during Sharon’s time in office. I also won’t bring up those occasional outposts that crop up in the middle of the night or on land that the state does not consider Jewish-owned land. I won’t do it because I actually believe that Jews have the right to populate Judea and Samaria. I don’t know whether they will be able to keep it in Israeli hands, but certainly Jews should be able to live there. However, living there is a privilege and it is granted to you by Israel. By Israel’s democratic government to be exact. If you don’t like some of their decisions, even if they are made by a “leftist” politician you despise, tough luck. Keep your young men and women in line and start educating them to respect democracy lest you find yourselves without support and with the state as an enemy.

    Every time Josh tells me to move to Israel, I ask myself, “Do I really want my son to risk his life defending these families in Judea and Samaria?” Let me assure you that whenever incidents like this one with the attack on the base, or the “price tag” attacks or the excusing of these actions by other settlers occur, my answer is “no.” But, of course, it’s not my answer that should worry you, it’s that this situation is so far gone that most Israelis including many on the right, think this has now gotten out of hand and must be put back under control. You can bet that as I write, some government agencies are beginning to monitor your communities much more carefully. After all, is there a single PM from the past 20 years whom you haven’t criticized as pretty much a traitor – even as your communities continue to grow and expand?

    If I were you Ben David, I would attempt to become a voice of sanity and reason within your communities. You’re either partners of the Zionist project to build a democratic Jewish state in the Jewish homeland, or you’re enemies. You can’t have a situation where you take the benefits and then not just demand more but turn the demands into violence or other forms of illegal actions, especially ones that could undermine democracy.

  • Two out of three ain’t bad:

    you agree that a right wing prime minister who is considered “the father of the settlements” used a perfectly legal process to push through what he did in Gaza
    – – – – – – –
    No – or rather, not the point:
    Oslo was passed by bribing a Likud MK with a limousine – which was letter-of-the-law legal, but not exactly how someone truly committed to democracy wants such a momentous decision to be made.

    Sharon was able to trash Israeli democracy because the system here is not as tightly constructed as, say, the US Constitution – and the “watchdogs of democracy” in the media and courts looked the other way because their agenda was the one being imposed undemocratically. It may have been “legal” but it sure wasn’t democratic.

    And understanding that explains why the next generation distrusts the system – and is not at all insane to do so.

    You talk about your son serving in the army… well, the “Price Tag” rabble-rousers know they are the ones who will pick up the pieces of Oslo, they are the ones who will have to re-fight the 1967 war – and all the Left has done in the last 40 years is:

    – prevent Israel from realizing any political/diplomatic/security benefit from 67.

    – midwife and promote the Palestinian national identity, guaranteeing that when the war is re-fought, it will be an unwinnable diplomatic sucker-punch for Israel.

    – mean-spiritedly target the patriotic, community-bridging religious national community, which it perceives as a political and cultural threat.

    Wouldn’t you be angry?

    If you’re a religious-zionist under 30 – your political experience BEGINS with Yitzhak Rabin calling the religious settlers “propeller-heads” – spitting in the face of your father’s generation, who clamored to serve in the army and created the “Hesder” yeshiva program.

    It BEGINS with the Secret Service deploying agents provocateurs like Avishai Raviv.

    Your father’s memories of pioneering religious army service pales beside your older siblings stories of being detained for peaceful protest during Oslo – and you yourself may have been detained during protests against the expulsion.

    You, your extended family, or someone you know was expelled from their house “for peace” – and if they’re from Gaza, they probably have not yet been compensated despite saccharine government promises before the expulsion.

    This is your entire political experience: the Left has trashed representative democracy, torn up your parent’s votes – and leveled the physical homes of people you know, destroying them financially and basically doing an “Anatevka” on their communities.

    … nope, not at all insane to mistrust the system – and the Lefties rolling their eyes and spouting about “democracy” when it suits them…

    And since lily-white liberals like you will always find an excuse for not coming – we’re going to have a problem fighting that next war when it comes.

    It’s really, REALLY late – and deeply condescending – to lecture my community from a distance. Really, really distasteful to keep harping on the “benefits” our community has received – which like the “Sharon was king of settlements” line, is hopelessly out-of-date.

    If you still want to remain relevant – start by admitting what the Left did to Israeli democracy to get its way.

    • Ben David, your community essentially runs this government. You continue to whine, however, about how you are victims of the Israeli government. THAT is distasteful.

      Have you considered that your youths’ and young adults’ perception of reality is what they have been taught by their parents, teachers, neighbors and rabbis? You illustrate their picture of the world and then complain that others are actually doing it with their actions. It’s convenient to deny that your communities would not exist, would not be growing, would not be defensible, would not be your homes if it weren’t for the acquiescence of many governments, left and right and all the PMs you refer to as virtual traitors. Yet, that is the UNDENIABLE truth.

      I am not being condescending. I am reporting the facts and then I am debating with people who have simply lost sight of objective reality because apparently they’ve created another, virtual reality for themselves where they are victims rather than winners. Have you driven around the Galilee recently? I can only dream of what all the resources expended on Judea and Samaria could have done for Jewish settlement of the Galilee – an area that is well within Israel’s and the international consensus on Israel. But my dream is a dream. In reality, those tens of billions were spent on your communities and the support toward growth which you’ve received. For you to turn around and claim that this isn’t the case is about as serious as claiming the sky is yellow, not blue. For you to teach this to your kids is a serious shame.

      Oh, and Kadima is not the left. Labor and Meretz (and you can add Barak’s whatever-it-is party) have as many seats as Shas and National Union, except they don’t sit in the government. Your claims are essentially that because the government does not adhere to the most right wing views in Israel’s political spectrum somehow the way things are run is undemocratic. You say this in the same week that 14 members of the UN Security Council publicly berated Israel for the settlements, and even the USA for not voting against them at the UNSC.

      You are not seeing things clearly, and believe me, they are as transparent to see as glass.

  • Muddle Meets Reality:

    Muddle:
    your community essentially runs this government
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … which is why settlements are being bulldozed in the middle of the night, and Barak has halted all new construction – in the middle of a housing shortage in Israel.

    Muddle:
    your youths’ and young adults’ perception of reality is what they have been taught by their parents, teachers, neighbors and rabbis
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … which is why most of our youth still clamor to get into elite units and the officer’s corps, and this generation’s parents and teachers – still proud of their own pioneering integration of religious in the army – have largely denounced the “Price Tag” actions.

    Muddle:
    I am not being condescending. I am reporting the facts
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    You are being condescending – not least by thinking you know better than people actually living here – in typical Leftie mind-reading omnipotence… surely you can fit the phrase “false consciousness” into your next post.

    You are repeating long-outdated slogans and cherry-picking facts. As proven by the two whopper-lies above, and the continued hammering on “Sharon the father of the settlements” to sidestep discussion of democratic process in Israel.

    Muddle:
    I can only dream of what all the resources expended on Judea and Samaria could have done for Jewish settlement of the Galilee
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … which will be irrelevant if the same missiles coming out of Gaza come from where I live – and land in Tel Aviv.

    (and nothing’s stopping you from coming and settling in the Galilee – which has more Arabs per square kilometer than where I live… bake a pie and meet the neighbors!)

    Muddle:
    Your claims are essentially that because the government does not adhere to the most right wing views in Israel’s political spectrum somehow the way things are run is undemocratic.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … another attempt to put words in my mouth – are you SURE you’re not being condescending?

    My claim – repeated clearly above – is that the Left has used undemocratic levers of power to override the MAINSTREAM Israeli opinion – and substitute its own (extreme left) policy for the saner policy voted for by most Israelis.

    I realize it’s hard for you to admit that most Israelis are over Oslo, and hold opinions to the right of yours… but as long as you deny that obvious truth – and deny the trampling of democratic due process by the Israeli Left – don’t lecture The Rest of Us (who live here!) about anyone “creating another, virtual reality for themselves”

    • I realize it’s hard for you to admit that most Israelis are over Oslo, and hold opinions to the right of yours… but as long as you deny that obvious truth – and deny the trampling of democratic due process by the Israeli Left – don’t lecture The Rest of Us (who live here!) about anyone “creating another, virtual reality for themselves”

      I’m not denying that most Israelis are over Oslo, or at least that they don’t believe the Palestinians approach Oslo in good faith (most Israelis still support a two state solution). I don’t know that most Israelis are to my right. I certainly don’t belong to Israel’s current left. I also reject much of what the current government has been doing recently.

      However, everything I’ve written stands. When I wrote this post and previous ones, I did state that there were prominent attackers of these price tag attacks and of the attacks on the army base. It’s just that then you came along and tried (a number of times) to “explain” why it is happening and how it was inevitable. And you blamed the Israeli left and you blamed a number of different Israeli governments from both the right and the left.

      If at the end of the day you don’t see that you are justifying the unjustifiable, and that you have taken your views to a place where maybe Feiglin is just to the left of you, then you are just not getting it. If this government is bulldozing (rarely) some outpost or other, considering who makes up this government, you should not be blaming the government but rather the extreme position your folks have taken that has forced the hand of a government which shares much of your philosophical approach to the Land of Israel.

      Tell me, by the way, if I move to Israel, should I expect my son to get blasted by some rock-throwing young adults from your communities when he joins the army? Because I’d rather he just stay here and go to university. Let me know if I’m being irrational or not enough of a Zionist.

  • Just popped in lest someone think that BD and I are the same person. BD, where were you in middles past rants against rabbis and again freedom of religion? Good to see you here.

  • Muddle:
    you are justifying the unjustifiable,
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    No – I am EXPLAINING how we got here.
    And it’s exactly the outcome I predicted years ago, when the Left was trashing Israeli democracy and simpering libs like you were applauding them.
    I don’t support their actions.
    But I knew they were coming.
    (Again – you are invited to check the archives and see which of us was correct…)

    When the children of the most patriotic sector of Israeli society – the kids whose parents are devoted to integration and bridging between factions in society, whose parents and older siblings founded the religious national school system, fought to serve in the army and now serve with distinction, and are now doing all kinds of things beside settling over the Green Line – such as the urban-renewal groups moving into depressed cities within the Green Line – when these kids lose faith in the system, it has to be explained.

    And your “explanation” – “you’re a hateful bunch of fundamentalist settler haters” – is so far from the mark… and so focused on the single settler issue… and so obviously self-serving… and so obviously influenced by the toxic anti-settler propaganda of the Israeli Left… that you become part of the problem rather than the solution, whether or not you are a leftie or not.

    Yes, the Israeli Left’s actions are the most obvious and direct cause of this distrust.

    Yes, the distrust is well-founded – expected by many of us – even if the actions are heinous.

    Can you admit that Ariel Sharon didn’t take an “executive decision” to turn 180 degrees from his election platform – that the Left used the press and the Inspector General’s office to force him (and before him, Olmert) to do their bidding?

    Can you admit that the vicious anti-settler rhetoric that began with Rabin was toxic and uncalled for – not least since both Labor and Likud sponsored the settlements over decades?

    You write:
    I move to Israel, should I expect my son to get blasted by some rock-throwing young adults from your communities when he joins the army?
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    Well, he may be stationed at Bilin – where EVERY WEEK Palis and Lefties throw rocks at soldiers.

    And nobody on the Left condemns them – do you?

  • Uh, first of all I condemn what the Palestinians and their shills from the Israeli left do at Bil’in all the time. Second, I criticize the Israeli left regularly. I criticize them, in fact, just as much as I do the extremist settlers. I don’t criticize all leftists and I don’t criticize all settlers. I am somewhere, uh, in the middle in my views and if you weren’t so defensive you’d see that.

    What am I opposing here? I am opposing illegal actions by members of your community. Actions which are more than illegal, they also stain your community when people such as you don’t stand tall and loudly speak out against them. Don’t you get it? There are no mitigating circumstances here. None. A bunch of young people from your community have been educated in such a way that they feel it’s okay to go into a mosque and damage it, or go into an army base and attack Israeli soldiers.

    Is there anything wrong with opposing these things, Ben David?

    Am I a leftist who supports Bil’in Palestinians and their leftist enablers because I not only oppose those actions by young people in your community but attack them vociferously?

    No, I am a reasonable person attacking the unreasonable. The criminal, in fact.

    As for your excuses, they are just that. Sharon may have acted in a manner that was different than his platform, but he did not violate the law, he did not act undemocratically, he in fact gave the pullout plenty of time and he gave your community plenty of opportunity to express its views. He used the system within its constraints to do what he thought was in Israel’s strategic interest. It was all perfectly within the law. By the way, there is also no way for us to know whether he was wrong. If Bush’s administration hadn’t been so stupid about forcing Israel to allow Hamas to run for the election, we might have had a very different outcome there.

    I will also say again that your constant complaints about every single Israeli government are infantile. Seriously, they are infantile. These governments have taken extremely good care of the settlements, their growth and their needs. It’s not just money and defense, it’s also special treatment in other ways. For example, the Hesder system does not apply to those outside your community. Do you suppose that secular Israelis might benefit from combining university or other higher ed studies with their military service? That’s without getting into the low cost of housing in your communities that many Israelis inside the Green Line would love to enjoy – subsidies that aren’t just the result of cheaper land, but also very much the result of silent government support including many IDF units stationed to protect some of your communities.

    Now seriously, Ben David, you need to go and look in the mirror. You need to ask yourself who you are as a person. Is there anything, and I mean anything, that would justify an attack on an army base? Is there anything that would justify an attack on a mosque that isn’t being used for military purposes? If you answer to yourself that there are circumstances that warrant this behavior, than I am sad to tell you that you need to do some serious and deep soul-searching.

    If you answer, as I do, that there are no circumstances where people can physically attack or undermine the army which protects them (and has enabled the creation of the state and your presence in Judea and Samaria) or the destruction of religious places of worship of the people who live under Jewish military rule after centuries in which Jews justifiably hated their own persecution as a religious minority, then the only thing you should be saying – instead of, this is the fault of every Israeli government since Shamir (you have mentioned all of them negatively) and of every person of the left – is that these actions shame your community and that you will, in no uncertain terms, condemn these people and their actions AND that you will take steps to eradicate this filth from your communities.

  • Middle, your still not listening. BD is not condoning the violence, rather explaining it. I also do not condone violence but do see how some people can be whipped into a frenzy, by themselves or others (and provocateurs).

    The actions do not shame the religious /settler community at all. Maybe they did once, but since we see how you and the media blow it out of proportion, we slowly desensitize ourselves to it. Lokk at what the Haredim are going through now; the media is blaming all of them (600 000) for a couple of guys spitting on women, so when when the media shows up, they get their stuff bashed in. So some people were arrested for the cameras. Tomorrow, the cameras will be pointed somewhere else, the police will go back to eating donuts, and life will go on even worse because the issue will continue and the rabbis will not feel any need to ‘look good for the cameras’. (getting back to Yesha) as Rav Levanon proved recently.

    When the army (you say defends settlers) is used for political reasons to A) kick families out of their homes in the middle of the night into the cold night and B) not handle the roads which have become daily death traps (see Palmer), then there is no wonder why some people begin to think that the current army is not defending them at all.

  • You know what, Josh, should I understand and explain to you why Palestinians blow themselves up, or murder families in cold blood, or kidnap soldiers and not let them see the light of day for 5 years, or throw rocks at the IDF at Bil’in? Because you know what, I can. I don’t, though. You know why? Because I not only disagree with those actions, I abhor them.

    Now with all due respect, it’s not just the media that has “blown it out of proportion” but the Chief of Staff of the IDF, the head rabbi in the IDF and the PM and Defense Minister not to mention the President of Israel all spoke out against the attack against the Ephraim base. I guess you folks are becoming desensitized because so many people are telling you how wrong this is.

    With respect to Haredim spitting on women, I have lots of experience with that because it happened to my wife once and she wasn’t walking in an Orthodox neighborhood. You know what, there are Haredim who also torment women in their cars, in parking lots, on buses and in lots of other places. There is also an unbelievable situation on some bus lines where 21st century people are acting like it’s medieval times and not only separating the men from the women, but putting the women at the back of the bus. It’s not that the media is making a big deal out of nothing and then those guys becomes desensitized, it’s that the media leaves heinous activities alone for so long that they become part of the landscape and nobody says boo.

    If the media had ensured the politicians pay attention to settler violence, even it if is just a small part of the population, then we wouldn’t have ever seen an attack like the one against the Ephraim base. And if the media would have bothered to cover the spitting and other disgusting actions the Haredim take, not just against women but also against Christian clergy, then the politicians would make sure it stops happening rather than letting it get to the point where this community feels it’s their right to do what they want.

    You are not the victim of the media. The people who are being made to suffer are the victims of the media and politicians and effective political pressure by small groups that use the parliamentary system to get what they want even when it harms the larger Israeli population.

    As for the army being used for “political purposes,” what exactly did you think it was used for during Altalena incident in 1948? Or in 1967 when it conquered Jerusalem? Or when it defends Hebron Jews even if they end up defacing Arab storefronts which are closed anyway?

    If your community didn’t make it impossible to dismantle an illegal outpost during the daytime and with danger to the soldiers involved, they wouldn’t do it at night. As for defending you folks, I understand that some areas have become more dangerous, but do you really think the army can be everywhere all the time? Do you really think that the fact that the number of murdered Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists has dropped from hundreds a year in 2002 to less than 20 a year now by magic? It’s the army protecting you and protecting Israelis. The same army that bends over backwards to accommodate your communities and protect them while having you attack it as “political.”

    It’s exactly what I said to Ben David, whenever the government or army don’t do what you want, you claim they’re undemocratic or criminal or deserving of some of the inexcusable behavior they get. Oh sorry, you don’t condone it, you just explain it…sounding exactly like the people who do it.

  • You surely do not disagree or abhor the actions of the Palestinians at all because you constantly support their explicit demand to kick Jews out of their homes and give them something that was never their’s.

  • No Josh, I disagree with and abhor the actions of the Palestinians and say so regularly. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I agreed with a Palestinian position or activity as it relates to Israel. I have been writing about the Palestinian endgame since 2009. Look up “endgame” in the search box.

    That you’re so confused that you think that is my position really does reflect poorly on your ability to discriminate between simple information that is readily available to you.

    And no, Josh, I do not support the Palestinians’ explicit demand to kick Jews out of their homes and give them something that was never theirs. I do support, or at least did support, what Barak offered at Taba and most of what Olmert offered in 2008 because, like them and unlike you, I don’t wish to see the Palestinians become Israelis. I think they’re better off and Israel is better off if they don’t become part of Israel and just because you and Ben David have a vision of somehow making 1 million or half a million or one and a half million Palestinians disappear into Jordan or wherever, I’m actually much more realistic about what could happen to Israel if they decide to stay (which is the likely outcome).

    Furthermore, although I wished it would happen in Gaza and it didn’t, I’ve always said that the Israelis who live inside any territory should be given an opportunity to remain and live in their homes even if that area becomes a Palestinian state. I think you have every right to live on land that is purchased by Israel or by Jews in this disputed territory.

    Having said all of that, there’s no question that since the Gaza war, I have been debating mightily with myself whether it’s even conceivable that Israel could leave Judea and Samaria (or at least the 95% of it which Barak and Olmert offered, and which includes about 20% of the settlers) or whether it would mean another Gaza on their doorstep. Right now I am inclined to believe that it’s likely that Judea and Samaria would end up like Gaza and that would be impossible as far as Israel is concerned. So unless I saw a deal that really convinces me that Judea and Samaria would not become another dangerous border for Israel, I don’t think that I would easily support any deal. This is not simple, though, because it leaves the question of what happens to the sizable Palestinian population, and I don’t have an answer for that.

    Of course, all of this is immaterial because if your community supports these criminals who attack the IDF and mosques, then there will be an end to the Israel I support long before then. And you know what? You’ll really miss people like me who have always strongly supported Israel. I won’t support a misogynistic, patriarchal, theocratic country that would permit its minorities to be treated with hate crimes. Very few people will.

    So stop changing the subject. I’m not the problem here. The problem is the hoodlums coming out of your community and defacing mosques and attacking the IDF. The problem is those of your rabbis who are beginning to fall in line with the Haredi insanity when it comes to treatment of women. The problem is that your community is already slipping down a slippery slope and I am very concerned that you not only don’t recognize the dangers here but that the momentum is such that many of your community members, like you, are being swept away.

  • thank you for clearing up your position in the fifth paragraph.

    I doubt many people support the people who attack the IDF and mosques, weren’t you satisfied with the battery of rabbis and right-wing politicians who condemned it? Apparently not. I’ve yet to see the same left-wing academics and politicians condemn the lefties who march around Billin and Shimon Hatzadik each Friday who damage the separation fence or call soldiers murderers.

    You definitely are part of the problem here (media) since blowing out of proportion this anti-Haredi and anti-settler flames does not solve anything. Shouldn’t you be taking advantage of this platform to be part of the solution instead? Is anyone meeting with rabbis to see how to reach agreements on this? For now, we see that it is just an isolated and non-organized bunch of spitters that the police has been sloppy to tend too and merely jumping now for the cameras. I am not a spitter or live in Beit Shemesh but would think that the first thing to do would be to meet with rabbis / community leaders in that area, definitely not in front of cameras and talk.

  • The first thing to do is to pass laws that make this a crime and then put these people in prison for years. They’ll stop spitting in that community very rapidly. The rabbis should have no say in any of this. It should be abundantly clear to every person that they may not spit at other people and if it’s not clear, then criminalize it.

  • Wouldn’t these be more anti-democratic laws that the left and Clinton was complaining about recently? If children and adults are being assaulted, the police should apprehend the culprits and give them criminal records. Yes, the police should do their jobs.

  • Nothing anti-democratic about stopping an assault. Spitting on somebody is an assault. If the laws don’t indicate this now, they should.

    And just because their community covers up and parts of it disrespect the state, that does not make them above the law or permit those who enforce the law to turn a blind eye.

    As for Clinton’s complaint, it’s not just Clinton’s, it’s virtually all of Israel’s press and many politicians who are wise enough to see what this is about.

  • It really seems quite extraordinary that the police are nowhere to be found when a little girl is spat upon. It’s good to see Peres, Netanyahu and others speaking out.

  • Frankly, there are other more serious crimes happening that are getting ignored, but this one is publicized during an anti-Haredi season so it’s getting a lot of airtime. And it’s much better to hush up the incredible unemployment rate the Likud government has achieved by reporting about evil Haredim.

    Women are getting sexually assaulted daily in Tel Aviv, but it’s not in fashion to be anti-African infiltrator.

    middle, thanks for proving my point. If there is a lack of laws, it is the duty to create them. Only when Likud is suggesting laws are they anti-democratic.

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