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Op-Ed: Former Prisoner of Zion: On Release of Terrorists

Former “Prisoner of Zion” Yosef Mendelevich writes his fears for the safety of Israelis—and suggests a plan.
Published: Monday, October 24, 2011 11:48 PM


The “Shalit Deal” with its  release of over 1000 terrorists is going to  result in a dramatic change in Arab motivation to murder Jews. The Israeli populace has not yet awakened to the new level of “quality of life” that is on the way to its quiet neighborhoods.

I am afraid that the country’s eventual awakening, not long in coming, will still be too late. The handwriting is already on the wall – the attempted murder in Ramot this past Shabbat is but the first example of what lies ahead.

Thousands of Arabs are present in Israeli neighborhoods. Each and every one can easily be armed with a kitchen knife or screw driver.

We must not remain tranquil about this – this is not about politics, it is about our lives and our families’ lives.  If an attack occurs, G-d forbid, we ordinary citizens will be the only ones present. The police always arrive too late, by definition.

That is why every one of us, from now on, must keep his eyes open and ask himself, what is the reason that the Arab whom I see on the street right now has come to my neighborhood. Even better, approach carefully and ask him that question. 

We do not lynch Arabs as they do to us if we enter their streets by mistake, but we must be alert. It is right and proper for us to guard our lives with forethought and planning.

There are security committees in the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) communities and we can learn from them.

From now on, every neighborhood in every city must consider itself a community that needs a civilian security committee.  These committees must be in close contact with the police. They must patrol areas that are vulnerable and exposed, such as Ramot and Kiryat Moshe in Jerusalem , Ramle and Lod, Carmiel and others.

Any potential terrorist murderer must realize that he is being observed.

It is perfectly legitimate to establish an unarmed organization for this, on a par with existing resident’s committees that make sure buildings are kept in order and maintained properly. These will be residents’ committees with an extra purpose – to maintain order and to keep us alive.

In order to establish these committees there is no need for any ceremony – just let every group of responsible citizens get together on its own and eventually form a network of committees, exactly as the Residents Committee of Yesha (Judea and Samaria) was formed alongside the Council of Yesha Communities and the Local Authorities there.

When the first hints of the approaching Holocaust reared their ugly heads, the poet Givirtik wrote a warning poem in Yiddish (since translated into Hebrew and always heard in Israel on Holocaust Memorial Day):  

“It burns, brethren, our shtetl burns! Why are you standing there watching it happen with folded arms – take pails and put out the fires!”

But the Jews awoke too late. And so in the Warsaw Ghetto bunkers they sang a very different song:

“Don’t say to us that this is our last sojourn on earth…” .

With all due respect to the IDF and police forces, our personal security rests - in our hands.

 

Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich, Zionist refusenik and leader of Soviet Jewry, was imprisoned for 11 years in the Gulag for attempting to hijack a plane to reach Israel. His autobiography, Operation Wedding, describes the story and his release in 1981.

 

HP: “Prisoner of Zion” Mendelevich on Terrorist Release

Former “Prisoner of Zion” Yosef Mendelevich writes his fears for the safety of Israelis—and suggests a plan.

 

The “Shalit Deal” with its  release of over 1000 terrorists is going to  result in a dramatic change in Arab motivation to murder Jews. The Israeli populace has not yet awakened to the new level of “quality of life” that is on the way to its quiet neighborhoods.

 

I am afraid that the country’s eventual awakening, not long in coming, will still be too late. The handwriting is already on the wall – the attempted murder in Ramot this past Shabbat is but the first example of what lies ahead.

 

Thousands of Arabs are present in Israeli neighborhoods. Each and every one can easily be armed with a kitchen knife or screw driver.

 

We must not remain tranquil about this – this is not about politics, it is about our lives and our families’ lives.  If an attack occurs, G-d forbid, we ordinary citizens will be the only ones present. The police always arrive too late, by definition.

 

That is why every one of us, from now on, must keep his eyes open and ask himself, what is the reason that the Arab whom I see on the street right now has come to my neighborhood. Even better, approach carefully and ask him that question. 

 

We do not lynch Arabs as they do to us if we enter their streets by mistake, but we must be alert. It is right and proper for us to guard our lives with forethought and planning.

 

There are security committees in the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) communities and we can learn from them.

 

From now on, every neighborhood in every city must consider itself a community that needs a civilian security committee.  These committees must be in close contact with the police. They must patrol areas that are vulnerable and exposed, such as Ramot and Kiryat Moshe in Jerusalem , Ramle and Lod, Carmiel and others.

 

A possible terrorist murderer must realize that he is being observed.

 

It is perfectly legitimate to establish an unarmed organization for this, on a par with existing resident’s committees that make sure buildings are kept in order and maintained properly. These will be residents’ committees with an extra purpose – to maintain order and to keep us alive.

 

In order to establish these committees there is no need for any ceremony – just let every group of responsible citizens get together on its own and eventually form a network of committees, exactly as the Residents Committee of Yesha (Judea and Samaria) was formed alongside the Council of Yesha Communities and the Local Authorities there.

 

When the first hints of the approaching Holocaust reared their ugly heads, the poet Givirtik wrote a warning poem in Yiddish (since translated into Hebrew and always heard in Israel on Holocaust Memorial Day): 

 

“It burns, brethren, our shtetl burns! Why are you standing there watching it happen with folded arms – take pails and put out the fires!”

 

But the Jews awoke too late. And so in the Warsaw Ghetto bunkers they sang a very different song:

 

 “Don’t say to us that this is our last sojourn on earth…” .

 

With all due respect to the IDF and police forces, our personal security rests - in our hands.

 

Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich, Zionist refusenik and leader of Soviet Jewry, was imprisoned for 11 years in the Gulag for attempting to hijack a plane to reach Israel. His autobiography, Operation Wedding, describes the story and his release in 1981.