The struggle against Arab Nationalism

The public is repelled by the media's false equivalence between Arab violence and Jewish response. We need a strategy in which we reward those Arabs who respect our sovereignty and act strongly against those who do not.Op-ed.

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed ,

המכינה הקדם צבאית בלוד
המכינה הקדם צבאית בלוד
צילום: ליאור שטול

The media commentators who create a comparison between Jews and Arabs in the matter of last week's violence are wrong and misleading, and do not allow the public to reach a solution, because concealing a problem does not solve it.

Their mistake is not accidental; it is based on a worldview that strives for complete equality between people, and sees man as an individual, while ignoring his national, religious and cultural identity. Therefore, from their point of view, they are morally obligated to make every effort to create equality between Arabs’ attacks on Jews, and Jews’ attacks on Arabs, regardless of who instigated the violence, the number of rioters, the severity of their riots, their motives, and the public support they receive among their people.

Given the fact that, after all, the Arab rioting is much more severe and wide-ranging, they will use every possible excuse, true or not,such as that the Arabs are poor, they are unemployed, and that the state has neglected them and not invested resources in them. In this way, they also adopt antisemitic and contradictory arguments, such as claiming that the purchase of houses by Arabs in Jewish neighborhoods is an expression of equality, while the purchase of houses by Jews in Arab neighborhoods is provocation justifying severe riots.

The Public at Large

On the one hand, fortunately, the majority of the public is smarter than these “experts” and commentators, and does not accept their interpretation. On the other hand, unfortunately, the public has no better moral-social worldview, and therefore, although it knows it is a national struggle, it has no alternative, legal and moral solution. This is why the various “experts” and commentators disregard the public, and ignore its just feelings. For as long as there is no alternative offered to deal with the great war in which the people of Israel have been for generations, it is hard to establish a systematic strategy based on good intuitions.

Furthermore, there are those who realize the Arab attacks stem from a deep hatred of the Jewish state, but express their feelings in an incorrect and impractical way, such as “kill them all” or “expel everyone,” while in practice, the Arab population is not homogeneous – some have come to terms with our existence and some are even happy with it, some are indifferent and in the middle, and many are hostile to us in varying degrees, up to the level of real enemies.

Recognition of the Value of Nationalism and Religion

First, the fundamental impact of nationalism and religion on man must be recognized. Indeed, in some respects each person alone is a complete world, and he can decide to choose to follow the path of the nation, religion, and culture in which he grew up, or choose a different path. However, the effects of nationalism and religion are enormous – the fact is, identical patterns of behavior can be found in all members of the Arab people, in all the numerous countries in which they live.

Unfortunately, today, this culture is manifested in many instances with a tendency to admire power and act violently, with religion and nationalism as the justification.

It does not have to be this way. There are positive aspects to the Muslim religion and Arab nationalism, which, if their leaders choose to emphasize instead of others, can guide their followers to contribute to themselves and society by turning the strength inherent in their culture into the strength of restraint, generosity, and openness of heart.

The War on Sovereignty

To win, we must first define our national goals, and move towards them.

The deep-rooted goal of our enemies is to destroy the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, and prevent the Jewish people from returning to their land according to the words of the Torah and prophets. Consequently, their struggle is directed against our sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and against settlement in Judea and Samaria, as well as in the Negev and the Galilee, and in cities with a mixed population. The more it becomes clear to them that any attack on us will bring about the opposite result – we will be strengthened, and they will be weakened.

The firing of missiles on Jerusalem is an opportunity to decide on allowing Jews to enter the Temple Mount without any limitation of number or amount of time, and to establish arranged places of worship for Jews. At the same time, it is imperative to decide that from now on, any riot on the Temple Mount will entail its closure to the Arabs for a few days, or a few weeks. It should also be strictly forbidden for any instigator or rioter, to ascend the Temple Mount.

Denial of Citizenship and Residency

Since the war is on Israeli sovereignty, the damaging of Israeli flags or state symbols, and all the more so, the harming of Jews or Jewish homes because they are Jewish, should not be treated as an ordinary criminal felony, but as raising a hand against the state and the Jewish people, and joining the enemy.

To this end, legal tools must be created for the revocation of citizenship in the usual cases of nationalistically motivated rioting, and denial of residency and deportation in the case of serious rioting. This, in addition to punishment in the usual criminal framework.

In practice, there are laws and regulations that deal with incitement but are used mainly against Jews, and only when the country is burning, and there is no choice, are they used against Arabs. To prevent this, we need to create clear legal tools that fit our reality.

The Corrupt Moral Concept

Unfortunately, in the absence of an overall moral sovereign approach, legal tools already created in the past in the State Attorney’s Office and the police, such as the establishment of the Department of Nationalist Crime, were also directed mainly against Jews. This is based on the corrupt moral conception that fails to recognize the central place of nationalism and religion, while making a distorted attempt to create equality between the two sides.

Since in reality there is no equality, this corrupt conception needs to tilt the law in the direction of the Arabs to try to balance reality. Take for example, the words of the president of Tel Aviv University, that although attacks on citizens are intolerable, harm to Arabs is seven times more serious because they are a minority. Indeed, he deleted his words, but he did not recant, because his position is based on corrupted morals, resulting from a denial of the Arab enemy’s war, and a denial of the rights of the Jewish people over their land.

Similarly, dozens of lecturers at the Bezalel Academy of Arts have written that they support the struggle of their Arab students against the “occupation”. When they do this in the name of morality, they desecrate the concept of morality, and interfere with a society correcting its moral life.

Law Enforcement

Since the Arab public is comprised of both enemies and decent citizens, and the line between them is unclear because there is a continuum of varying degrees – the State of Israel must find a way to incentivize and reward those who advance in the direction of support and identification with the Jewish state, and deal severely with the ones who fight us.

The main way to do this is to enforce the law on the Arab public in all areas – building and planning laws, tax laws, the environment, driving on the roads, possession of weapons, and of course, any rioting. Naturally, Arabs who respect Israeli sovereignty more, are also more law-abiding, and thus keeping the law will reward the good ones.

Subsequently, legal and officially authorized means must be created according to which all the institutions and local authorities that educate towards honoring of Israeli sovereignty are given preference, and if they do the contrary – their budget is cut until cancellation results

In the Absence of Law, Budget Allocations Corrupt

The State of Israel has invested huge capital in Arab society, but has failed to bring the Arab public closer to a decent and loyal civic position, as required of any national or religious minority in any country in the world. On the contrary, since there has been no resolute war against the Arab enemy and ideological hostility and incitement against Israeli sovereignty continues unabated, instead of benefiting Arab society, this huge investment encourages these unacceptable and ungrateful attitudes. In practice, it reinforces the attitudes that educate youth to a culture of hatred, violence and crime.

In the current situation, often the more violent and impudent a person is, the more he receives, whereas the decent person is marginalized, and suffers the receiving end of all the ideological thugs and criminals.

Instead of Arab society blaming its leaders for educating its youth to violence, hatred and crime, thanking Israel wholeheartedly for all the good it has received as citizens of the Jewish state, and joining the support and promotion of the State of Israel with its Jewish identity – many in the Arab public condemn anyone who wants to move towards the Jewish state, and instead, promote its haters.

Here, for example, MK Mansour Abbas did a worthy deed. He went to a synagogue burned by Arab rioters, and said that their actions were contrary to the values ​​of Islam, and that the Arab public should participate in the repair of the synagogue. In response, members of his party said he had crossed all lines, and his status as party chairman has been undermined.

Incidentally, beyond the debate whether it is right to form a government supported by an Arab party, we must appreciate Dr. Mansour Abbas for the positive path he is paving, and attempt to assist him, in the hope he will not be harmed or broken, and serve an example for many others to follow.

The Tikun (Rectification) of Torah Scholars

To prepare the ground for tackling these challenges, we need to return to the basics. The more we merit to grow in Torah and understand our role in the world, in yishuv ha’aretz (settlement of the Land), and in the establishment of a developed state – both morally and socially, scientifically, and economically – the more our righteousness will shine brightly, and the peoples of the world, including the Arabs, will recognize our right to our Land, and help us settle it, in such a way that “Torah will go forth from Zion, and the word of God from Jerusalem.”

To do this, we must study Torah properly, in a way that affects reality, and directs it. Instead of study detached from life, mistakenly called “le’shma” (“for its own sake”) – we must study aliba de’hilchata and aliba de’chaim (straightforward and practical explanations). A type of study that produces upright people in all areas of life, until it becomes clear that the more a person is connected to the Torah, the more blessing he receives in his work; and the more the public is connected to the Torah, the more scientists, experts, entrepreneurs, and elite professionals will emerge in all fields. Inspired by this type of study, we will also be able to create the appropriate legal tools to deal with the major challenges we face.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper and was translated from Hebrew.

Revivim, rabbi Eliezer Melamed



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