Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Spare Me Your Pieties on Israel's 'Price Taggers'

In other places these kids would be shrugged off as juvenile delinquents who need a good talking to. They’d make the police blotter but never the news.
Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:16 PM


Some of us fail to understand the hysteria over Israel’s Price Tag and Hilltop Youth.

The Price Taggers turn to vigilante justice when they feel themselves up against an Establishment that is failing them and their brothers and sisters, like the murders of Eden Atlas and more recently Shelly Dadon that are treated by the authorities as nothing more than routine.

May 1 was not just another day for 19-year-old Shelly Dadon of Afula in the Jezreel Valley.

Think of her bright-eyed excitement at starting a new life. She was marching towards a job interview when Palestinian Arab murderers cut her down.

But it was just another day in Israel. Nothing special enough to arouse horror within the Establishment.


Haaretz can’t think of anything worse or more alarming than slashing a few tires and scrawling graffiti.
So the Price Taggers turn to lawlessness to redress such grievances, an entitlement that seems to be available only to their enemies.

As they see it, they’re only taking care of business.

In other places these kids would be shrugged off as juvenile delinquents who need a good talking to. They’d make the police blotter but never the news.

But I keep forgetting that Israel is expected to be perfect and every single Israeli is expected to be blameless. The whole world is watching.

“Guilt is never to be doubted,” wrote Kafka in “In the Penal Colony.”

People on the Left, who are perfect, just ask them, are full of pious indignation. They want these kids caught and disciplined severely.

Writer Amos Oz has called them Nazis, later reduced to neo-Nazis, as if there’s a difference, and Haaretz can’t think of anything worse or more alarming than slashing a few tires and scrawling graffiti, as these kids do in some Arab neighborhoods.

“That’s going too far,” yelps the Haaretz crowd. But instead, see here a refreshing take on this from Arutz Sheva’s Ari Soffer.

What happened to romance? There was a time when rebels were admired. They were outlaws but we identified with them because they were mavericks against the Establishment. Lenny Bruce said it from the stage. Marlon Brando and James Dean said it from the screen. They were heroes.

They were the Price Tag youth of their generation.

The black leather jacket Brando wore in “The Wild One” (1953), along with a scowl and a snarl, became the symbol of popular restiveness and discontent. 

Something about lawlessness gets us to stand up and cheer. Brando was portraying a criminal. Made no difference. Sales of Harley-Davidsons shot way up.

No more do we use the term “juvenile delinquents.” Instead we have rappers. We pay them billons to express their rage. We forgive them their misogyny and their anti-Semitism and their rants against “whitey.” We celebrate their insolence and contrariness. Hey, it’s Art.

Not so in Israel. No discontent allowed.

Daily the world puts Israel on a scale and seldom does the weight come out in her favor. Two Israeli kids, some time ago, got into a scuffle with Arab kids -- a plain old-fashioned schoolyard boy-to-boy brawl, and immediately The New York Times called for Israel to be dismantled. 

Right along here I should be saying that I detest the actions of these Price Tag kids, but the words refuse to be written. Well, come on, of course I reject tire slashing and graffiti and other acts of vandalism and so do 99.9 percent of all Israelis. This is so obvious! Go ahead. Round up the usual suspects.

But I cannot bring myself to denounce these kids while the Haaretz/New York Times axis forgives no act of Jewish vandalism but forgives every act of murder committed by Arabs. There is some gloating in that camp about finding something, anything, to entrap the Right.

There is no comparison between this, a few Israeli kids slashing tires, and that, Palestinian Arabs lynching two Israeli kids from a police station in Ramallah – and the Virtual Jewish Library finds that since the Oslo Accords (1993) more than 1,500 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian Arab terrorists in acts of random violence.

A school bus carrying Bat Mitzvah girls is firebombed by Palestinian Arabs. Israeli kids visiting the Temple Mount escape in tears from an Arab mob.

And still no outrage from Amos Oz and his partners on the Left.

Where’s the symmetry? Where were those people, where are those people, who today scream, “scandal, plague, shame, epidemic” over graffiti?

The hypocrisy is too much.

Finding a government so quick to release hundreds of cold-blooded murderers to appease the world surely cried out to these Price Tag kids.

They are wrong in doing what they do.  But not nearly as wrong as those elders who cry for their blood.

No lectures, please. Spare us your sanctimonious indignation.

Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the novelist, the 25th anniversary edition of the international bestseller Indecent Proposal and a love story of heartbreak and redemption The Girls of Cincinnati. Website: www.jackengelhard.com