This morning, I took two of my grandchildren to their preschools. On the way back, a few minutes before 8, I walked past a little market. In front there was a TV, and on the TV a headline: Attack at Jerusalem Synagogue, 5 dead
The radio reports that two or three Arab terrorists — at least one from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebel Mukhaber — walked into the Kehillat Bnei Torah synagogue on Agassi St., where they carried out a slaughter with guns, knives and axes. Four of the worshipers were killed outright, one (a policeman) is in the hospital in extremely critical condition, and some 13 (per current reports) were injured. Two terrorists were shot dead by police in a firefight on the steps of the synagogue, but not before they fired on first responders coming to the aid of victims. Police are searching for a possible third terrorist.
I cannot remember a sight as shocking as the scene in the synagogue. Jews wrapped in prayer shawls and [tefillin] wallowing in puddles of blood … images we saw only in the Holocaust. — Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, head of Zaka emergency service [from Avi Mayer via Twitter]
More details will be forthcoming, but we know enough. More than enough.
We know that despite the fact that last week John Kerry announced after meeting with Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian leader “restated his commitment to nonviolence and to restoring calm,” official Palestinian Authority media continues to broadcast incitement against Israel and Jews (see also here).
We know that Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the “heroic act,” which they claimed was in response to the alleged ‘murder’ of an Arab bus driver in Jerusalem. The driver was found hanged in his bus, and police ruled it a suicide. Of course, even if they are wrong, there is no evidence that he was murdered by Jews. But anything, or nothing, is a reason to kill us.
We know that the Palestinian Authority as well as Hamas-linked media have been stirring up trouble by claiming that Israel intends to take over or destroy the al-Aqsa mosque. PM Netanyahu has reiterated that Israel has absolutely no intention to change the so-called ‘status quo’, in which the Temple Mount is under Muslim administration and Jews are not allowed to pray (or even move their lips suggestively) there. But disturbances continue there almost daily, and the ‘Jewish plot’ is used as an excuse for terrorism like the shooting of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, whose ‘crime’ was to advocate that Jews, too, might pray on the mount.
In other words, we know that the present epidemic of violence against Jews — both by Arabs from the territories or, like today, by Arab residents of Israel — is a creature of the Palestinian leadership.
It’s time for a reevaluation of the relationship between Israel and the PA, as well as its Arab residents. I suggest that we start with the passage of the Basic Law that defines Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and follow up with the annexation of Area C, the parts of Judea and Samaria that are under Israeli control and where all the Jewish communities are. Areas A and B, where 97% of the Arabs live, can be granted political autonomy, but must remain under Israeli security control — borders, airspace, etc.
Is this a problem? Too bad. A completely sovereign ‘Palestine’ in the territories is inconsistent with the continued existence of a Jewish state. This is true regardless of the “aspirations of the Palestinian people.” This isn’t something that can be negotiated; it’s a fact of geography.
That’s it. No more ‘peace process’ that envisions a sovereign ‘Palestine’ in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Arabs were on the losing side of several wars and intifadas that they or their allies started. Those are the consequences. They can call it “Nakba 2.0” if they want.
It should also be understood that Israel is sovereign in Jerusalem, including on the Temple Mount. It is outrageous that Jews should be prevented from praying or harassed by mobs of screaming Muslims when they set foot on the holiest place in Judaism. All faiths should be allowed to access their holy places, period. And it is outrageous that some neighborhoods should be no-go zones for Jews. Many IDF soldiers lost their lives in the battles for Jerusalem — it is unacceptable that we should allow our hard-won sovereignty to slip away.
Finally, we need to send the message to our Israeli-Arab residents, particularly in eastern Jerusalem: this is the Jewish state — get used to it. We own it. The descendants of the 1948 Arab refugees are not coming back. The flag is the Magen David and the national anthem is Hatikva. If you can’t stand the lack of Arab or Muslim sovereignty, you can go to the PA areas or Gaza, or 22 other Arab states, or even Sweden for all we care. But if you want to live here and enjoy the benefits provided by the State of Israel to all of its citizens, Jews and Arabs, then you have to stop trying to kill Jews or overthrowing our state.
Very often reactions to terror murders go to impossible extremes. But this reaction seems to me reasonable. Its description of the incitement to violence, the part played by Abbas is accurate. Also it seems to me that there is no chance for any kind of Palestinian Arab state that would recognize and be at peace with Israel. As for annexing the area of Judea and Samaria in which Jews are the great majority of the population this seems to me right in one way, but perhaps tactically mistaken in another.
Perhaps we should wait for a more friendly American administration-one that would not openly support our annexation but would tacitly support it by preventing any U.N. punitive measures against us.
For some reason which I am not sure I understand, it has been a primary goal of US policy since the 1970s to reverse the outcome of the 1967 war. In the case of the Obama Administration it has reached new heights, in which the Administration prioritizes this above the survival of Israel. But even for relatively friendly administrations like Clinton or Bush II it has been a priority. I don’t think this will change.
John Kerry went to London to talk to the Brits about Israeli sovereignty. The EU, according to Haaretz, has a plan to coerce a two-state solution with punitive sanctions. The Obama administration has already threatened to not use its veto at the UN when the issue of Palestinian sovereignty is brought up.
Everywhere else than Israel, parties external to the life of an Israeli citizen conspire to undermine Jewish sovereignty. What you’re suggesting be done is the bare minimum any nation would do to maintain the ability to defend the country and its citizens. Will a more favorable American administration do for Israel what it won’t do for itself? Should it have a vote? What does it mean to be a nation?
The most indelible image of your essay, after the murders, was that of you taking your grandchildren to pre-school. The push for safety starts there.
amen, brother, amen.
We cannot count on US assistance with the “legitimization” of our country especially when the Secretary of State has the gall to say that our Torah calls on us to “protect” Islam when the Torah was written a few thousand years before Islam was a figment of someones imagination.
I think that if Jews are not allowed to pray peacefully in their homeland then we should close the Temple Mount to all Muslims.
While I of course agree with all of your “we shoulds”, “what’s needed”, and “it should be understoods”, it is all BS until we ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. Until we tell Jordan, you know, that peace partner that gives a moment of silence for the murderers of those praying in Har Nof, that we are relieving them of their Temple Mount duties and that we are reapplying full Israeli sovereignty there, Muslim world be damned, than per usual it is all talk, something we have become very good at.
All talk, no action.
As someone whose children were born there, and who shed blood in her wars, I am fast becoming convinced that we are not yet ready for our chance at a Jewish State.
We don’t deserve it.