Rehovot is not spiritual Jerusalem or fashionable and exciting Tel Aviv. It is a place where mostly middle-income people live and go to work. It’s well within the 1949 armistice lines, and not right next to any large Arab towns. The recent wave of violence hasn’t reached us… yet.
Rehovot has one of the lowest crime rates (Hebrew link) of the 25 largest cities in Israel. Normally we feel quite safe walking in the streets at any time of the day or night.
It stopped feeling normal yesterday when a 19-year old Arab terrorist came all the way from Hebron to Rishon Letzion, a slightly larger town about 5 miles northwest of Rehovot, and stabbed three people, wounding two of them seriously, including an 80-year old grandmother. A little while after that, a 71-year old man was stabbed and seriously injured in Netanya.
In true Amalekite tradition, the Arabs strike at the weakest and slowest of Jews.
Residents of Jerusalem or Judea/Samaria, who have suffered multiple attacks almost every day for several weeks, may sneer at me, but I insisted on accompanying my wife today as she made the rounds of fabric and notions stores, searching for materials to make her granddaughter a leotard. Armed with pepper spray – originally bought for camping in California mountain lion country – and dimly remembered army training (“don’t daydream on guard duty”), I scrutinized everyone we passed on the street, people getting off buses, and vehicles that might suddenly veer onto the sidewalk. Because Jewish grandmothers are targets.
Most Palestinian Arabs approve of these attacks. Teenagers or young adults – who seem to have carried out the majority of recent stabbing attacks – tend to be less empathetic toward others, especially older people. When they are told over and over that Jews are at once powerful demons who hate Palestinians and want to kill them, and subhuman descendants of apes and pigs, it makes it easy to stick their knives into us without hesitation. Many expect rewards in paradise if they are killed during an ‘operation’.
The Palestinians will tell you that these attacks are not actually ‘violence’ – that knives, firebombs, screwdrivers and boulders are weapons of ‘popular resistance’, which is to be encouraged. According to them the Jews are European colonialists who have no connection to the land, where there never was a Jewish temple. And according to them, the UN Charter permits an ‘occupied people’ to engage in ‘resistance’ and since all Israelis are ‘occupiers’, they are all targets, including the grandmothers. They are full of crap on all counts.
When will it stop? I don’t see it stopping ever, unless Israel does something entirely different. The Arabs are convinced that since we are European colonialists, enough pressure will make us go ‘home’. Given their beliefs, concessions will only encourage them to engage in more ‘resistance’. Why should they stop doing what works?
What I recommend is that, in addition to the needed protective measures, we start making ‘resistance’ unprofitable, both for Palestinian Arabs individually and collectively, and for their leadership. If their governing authority continues to incite terrorism, then we should cut off its financing. If Palestinians working in Israel are affected by ‘sudden jihad syndrome’, then it should become harder for them to work here. If a Palestinian tries to stab someone, he should not survive.
In the meantime, I’m going to add to my pepper spray arsenal. Jewish grandparents should be able to walk the streets of the Jewish state without being murdered.