Daily Israel Report

Journalist Calls for Jewish Self-Defense in Face of Anarchy

Kalman Libeskind, a leading journalist, faces criminal charges after his family was attacked by an Arab gang.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/13/2012, 2:46 PM

Kalman Libeskind
Kalman Libeskind
Yoni Kempinski

Kalman Libeskind, a leading journalist for Maariv, has issued a highly unusual call to Israeli citizens to defend themselves physically against Arab attacks rather than calling the police. The call reflects a growing feeling among Israelis that Israel is slipping into anarchy, as regards the physical safety of Jews from attacks by fellow Arab citizens.

A year ago, Libeskind's wife and children were attacked just outside the entrance to their community, Gimzu, not far from Modiin, when they returned from an excursion with friends and neighbors. Similar attacks take place with alarming regularity in Israel and are usually ignored by media – except for Arutz Sheva. This time, however, a journalist was the victim, and Libeskind wrote about it in his column in the daily Maariv.  

“Driving down the road that leads to our home in Gimzu, I heard the first bang," from a rock he wrote. “My wife, Ilana, who was driving behind me with some of our children, had gotten a direct hit to the front window of her car. By some miracle, the window didn’t shatter, but the rock hit the part of the window that was a little over a foot from my son’s head. I could hardly believe it was true. Rocks? On our road? An asteroid hitting us seemed more probable than a rock throwing ambush 100 yards from our home.”

Libeskind and his friends saw the assailant – an Arab who was about 18 – and called the police. Together with the police, they combed the forest and found a group of about 20 Arabs from Lod, led by an imam, who did not try to deny their involvement in the attacks. One even boasted that they could "burn down all of Gimzu" if they wished.

Once the Jews filed their complaints with police, Arabs filed counter-complaints. They claimed that one of the Jews had threatened them with his gun and described him as wearing a pink shirt. Libeskind was informed by the police that he is the main suspect because he is the only person in the group who has a gun license. His protestations that he was wearing a brown sweatshirt on that day, and that he did not threaten anyone with his gun, were to no avail. The fact that none of the Arabs had said anything about a gun when police spoke to them in the forest did not impress anyone either.

A year later, Libeskind is still a suspect in the case, which police describe as an ongoing investigation.

"I know I am not the only suspect in the state of Israel whose file is gathering dust in the State Attorney's Office ,but that is precisely what makes this scandalous," Libeskind wrote Tuesday. "It is a double scandal. Once – because it is inconceivable that the state can dangle people in the air like this, because of a file that contains four pages, perhaps, and in which a decision should take five minutes. And secondly – because of the message it sends the rock throwers. 'No pressure. Nothing is urgent.'"

Libeskind notes that the rock could easily have smashed through the windshield and into his infant son's head. Or, his wife could have lost control of the vehicle she was driving, with tragic consequences -- as happened to Asher and Jonathan Palmer.

"I made one mistake in this story," he writes. "I dialed 100 [to the police]. Friends around me laughed at me. What are you calling the police for, they taunted me. Let's call up the entire community and break their bones. I objected. I was wrong. I suggest that you learn the lesson that the law enforcement system taught me in this case: some things are better taken care of on one's own. Without the police and prosecution, without the High Court and Btzelem."

Libeskind reaches the conclusion that he cannot tell his children, who witnessed the attack, that Israel is a state ruled by law. "We live in a jungle, my children. And in the jungle, the strong survive."

Tales of ambushes by Israeli Arab citizens against Jews are becoming increasingly frequent in recent years. Arutz Sheva carries at least one such report almost every week, along with reports of similar ambushes in Judea and Samaria, by Palestinian Authority Arabs. Most of these incidents are, however, ignored by mainstream media. The ones that are too serious to be ignored are usually played down by both police and the press as "criminal" in nature, rather than "nationalist," and reports try to avoid disclosing the ethnic background of the attackers.

Just yesterday, George Saado of Ramle died after he was shot by Arabs in Ramle, while he walked his dog. Saado managed to say, before he collapsed, that his attackers told him they were shooting him in revenge for the IDF's attacks on Gaza. Yet Ynet, a website with a large readership, identified the attackers only as "youths." Three weeks ago, a gang of Haifa Arabs viciously attacked two soldiers on leave and etched "Fatah" on the head of one of them. Even faced with this evidence, police insisted that the motivation may not have been nationalistic.

The attackers have grown increasingly brazen over time. In 2009, Arik Karp of Tel Aviv was beaten to death for no apparent reason by a group of Arabs as he walked with his wife and daughter on a beach. The attackers succeeded in avoiding murder charges and were convicted for manslaughter -- because, the judges said, it was not clear if Karp died directly of the beating, or swallowed water and drowned to death when he collapsed as a result of the beating.