David RubinThe writer is former Mayor of Shiloh, Israel and Founder and President of the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, established after he and his three-year-old son were wounded in a terrorist shooting attack. He is the author of three books, including his new book, Peace for Peace: Israel in the New Middle East. www.DavidRubinIsrael.com
Much of the Israeli media has been focused on the disturbing confrontation at the Ephraim Brigade military headquarters, during which angry youth clashed with soldiers and allegedly attacked military vehicles after hearing reports that soldiers would soon be carrying out demolition orders on several Jewish communities in Samaria.
Condemnations have been fast in coming from generals, from public officials, and from leading rabbis, all criticizing the unprecedented and troubling attack on our own soldiers, who faithfully serve in the IDF. In fact, many of the most dedicated and accomplished soldiers live in Judea and Samaria.
Yes, violence against our brothers and sisters is not our way, and yes, we should all resolve our disagreements peacefully. That is the essence of true democracy and freedom of expression in a civil society, especially our tiny Jewish society called Israel, that can ill-afford division and violent strife within our ranks.
However, a few cogent questions must be asked, but seem to be missing in all of the self-reflection repeatedly demanded of the residents of Judea and Samaria:
Am I the only person who is profoundly disturbed by what appears to be the political leadership’s ongoing use of division and character assault on an entire segment of the population?
Am I the only one who is upset by the bigoted term “hilltop youth”, which is being used to defame an entire population of mostly idealistic, self-sacrificing young people by drawing intentionally repugnant analogies to some of our worst enemies through history?
Finally, why is the IDF, which used to be a force of unity in defense of the nation, still being trained (as in the case of Gush Katif and northern Samaria several years ago) to destroy Jewish communities?
We cannot ignore the full picture, not just about this week’s unfortunate incident, but about Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s cynical use of our IDF to threaten the expulsion of law-abiding citizens from young, idealistic communities and his ongoing incitement against “the settlers”, apparently for the purpose of pandering to his rapidly fading voter base.
And that incitement includes Prime Minister Netanyahu. When it was election time, he happily came to my community of Shiloh in Samaria and planted a tree at one of the so-called “illegal hilltop outposts” on the eastern side of Gush Shiloh, the very same vibrant communities that were established with the help of government funding and support and certainly could have been officially legalized a long time ago through legislation and/or compensation.
But that visit to Shiloh was during election time, a few short years after the traumatic Gush Katif expulsion, when Netanyahu was desperately trying to restore our trust in order to attract votes to the Likud. Since then, we have heard of Bibi’s deep desire for a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, we have suffered through an imposed building freeze, even in parts of Jerusalem, which was rightly perceived as a hostile choking of our population, and we have been threatened by his repeatedly foolish talk about how “generous” he is prepared to be on the size of a future Palestinian (terrorist) state.
Has our political leadership learned nothing from the terrible national trauma of the withdrawal from Gaza and its aftermath?
Let us be clear – Netanyahu’s generosity towards the Palestinian Authority, A.K.A., the Hamas and Fatah terrorist organizations, will be at the expense of the brave men and women and the many thousands of Jewish children who have settled the biblical heartland of Israel.
The rockets that will be fired from the Samarian hills that Bibi wants to evacuate will be aimed at Tel Aviv and Petach Tikvah and at Ben Gurion Airport.
However, the rockets that will be fired from the Samarian hills that Bibi wants to evacuate will be aimed at Tel Aviv and Petach Tikvah and at Ben Gurion Airport.
Communities in Samaria (Shomron) like Migron, Ramat Gilad, and Givat Assaf are the front lines of the struggle for the Land of Israel, but they are not the end goal.
By not finding Zionist solutions to the legal status of these communities and instead agitating and pushing frustrated young citizens to the brink of misguided conflict, the Bibi–Barak team is failing to learn the sad, yet critical lessons of history.