Almost every day that passes sees attempts to murder Jews, because they are Jews. Some of these can even be called attempts at mass murder. No, I am not only talking about rockets launched from the Gaza strip and aimed at Israeli towns and cities. I am referring to something which almost never makes the news outside of Israel, and often goes unmentioned even here: what I have called “smalltime terrorism,” which includes firebomb and rock-throwing attacks against Jews.
If you think rock-throwing is only an annoyance, watch the video here and think about this: a rock thrown from an oncoming vehicle at one in the opposing lane strikes its target at a velocity equal to the sum of the speeds of the two vehicles, plus whatever the thrower adds to it, less a bit due to air resistance. So a rock thrown at you from a car traveling at 100 km/h (60 mph) may hit your windshield at more than 200 km/h. Let’s say the rock is 10 cm (4.1”) in diameter; it will weigh nearly 1.5 kg, or more than 3 pounds. A brick could weigh twice as much.
Such a projectile is a deadly weapon which can smash through safety glass. Even if it does not also smash your skull or crush your chest, even if it misses you entirely, it can cause you to swerve off the road, as happened to Asher Palmer and his 1-year old son Yonatan, who were murdered by Arab rock-throwers.
But what if your vehicle is a bus with 30-50 passengers? What if you are a bus driver that has to fear every oncoming car day (and especially night) in and day out? Some of the roads are narrow, with unforgiving drop-offs or rocks on either side. Last night, two buses were attacked in this way, and only sheer luck (or a miracle) prevented a tragedy. Attempted mass murder.
Throwing stones at Jews has a long history, especially in the Muslim-Arab world. Edward Said, the Palestinian-American intellectual famous for the book Orientalism, symbolically (or ineffectually) threw a stone in the direction of Israeli soldiers at the Lebanese border. It is probably the most popular form of anti-Jewish terrorism practiced by Palestinian Arabs, since it is cheap, easy, and can be practiced by terrorists of any age. Sometimes Arab terrorists build barriers in the middle of a road to force cars to stop, and then attack them with rocks before trying to drag the occupants out and beat or kill them.
The Jewish state was created so that Jews would not have to live among cultures where the of stoning Jews is an everyday occurrence. Or, for that matter, stabbing them, shooting them, or running over them with cars. But that’s what Jews face here today. And they are expected to not defend themselves. So far this month four Palestinian Arabs have been killed by Israeli soldiers or police while attempting to commit murder, or immediately after. Palestinian officials are outraged. How dare we? They are supposed to kill us, not the reverse.
The problem is the same one that the Jewish people faced after they left Egypt and found their way to the Land of Israel. It is one that has beset human tribes since there were human tribes: the need to truly possess our land and repel those that want to take it from us. The ancient and elemental nature of the struggle is demonstrated by the fact that it is partly fought with stones, the oldest of weapons.
A solution to this problem will not be found in the realm of high technology, nor in the halls of diplomacy or international law. We will not get it from the Americans along with F-35s. It will begin with the understanding that it is our land, from the river to the sea (as the Arabs are fond of saying), and that it is the mission and the responsibility of the Jewish people to populate it, and to rule it. It is our ambiguity about this mission that allows our enemies to become strong enough to think that they can prevail.