The crime: walking while Jewish

 

By Stephen M. Flatow/JNS.org

Hikers in the Carmel forest walk along the Israel National Trail. Credit: Dov Greenblat.

Back in the 1990s, civil rights activists coined the term “DWB” (driving while black) to highlight the frequency of incidents in which African-American motorists were stopped by the police without just cause. It was as if the drivers were considered guilty of something simply because they were black.

In the wake of Thursday’s mob attack in Israel, it’s time to coin a new term: “WWJ,” walking while Jewish.

Two parents and a group of young Jewish children set out on a hike in the Shomron (Samaria) region, as part of a bar mitzvah celebration. The hike was coordinated in advance with the Israeli army, which gave its approval. Each of the parents carried a weapon, at the army’s request.

They didn’t hike through any Arab villages. They didn’t create a settlement. They didn’t bother anybody, violate any law or do anything wrong. Their only “crime” was that they were walking while Jewish.

Some Palestinian Arabs spotted the children. Keep in mind that these are Palestinians who have been educated in Palestinian schools. You would think that if the Palestinians were sincere when they signed the Oslo Accords, they would have changed the curricula in their schools, in order to encourage peace and coexistence.

But as Palestinian Media Watch and other groups have repeatedly documented, Palestinian school textbooks still teach vicious hatred of Israel. They portray all of Israel as “occupied Palestine.” They depict Jews as devils, rats, insects and butchers. They hail Arab murderers of Jews as “heroes” and “martyrs.”

Every time Palestinian children turn on official Palestinian Authority Television, they are greeted with messages of incitement. Just a few days ago, Palestinian Media Watch cited a new song that is being broadcast on PA television. Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics: “We will raise the Fatah flag with the rifle…We will come at you from the sea like the wave…Yasser Arafat said this statement in a loud voice: ‘For you O homeland, by Allah, death is sweet for me’…Jerusalem is ours, and we are marching, and will bring millions of martyrs.”

As the song was played, viewers were shown an image of one of those “martyrs”—Dalal Mughrabi, the teenage terrorist who led the massacre of 37 Israelis (plus the niece of U.S. Sen. Abraham Ribicoff) on the Tel Aviv coast in 1978. So maybe it’s no surprise that the Palestinians who spotted the Jewish children on Thursday decided that they wanted to be “heroes” and “martyrs,” just like Mughrabi. The mere sight of vulnerable Jewish passersby inspired the Palestinians to try to stone the children to death.

Don’t think for a second that these Palestinians don’t realize that rocks can kill. At least 13 Israeli Jews and two Arabs mistaken for Jews have been murdered by Palestinian rock-throwers since the 1980s. Many more have been maimed, some permanently.

Unfortunately, Palestinian rock-throwers can also assume that their victims will quickly be forgotten. Who, today, remembers Asher Palmer and his young son, Yonatan—both American citizens—who were murdered by Palestinian rock-throwers in 2011? In fact, who today remembers the names of any of the stoning fatalities?

The Shomron mob surrounded the Jews, hurling rocks. Two men and three of the children were injured. The mob surged forward, with several of the attackers trying to wrest the gun from one of the parents’ hands. The parent fired in self-defense; one of the would-be murderers was killed.

“The children fled to a nearby cave and waited to be rescued by Israeli security forces,” according to one of the news reports. One can only imagine how they felt, huddled in fear, not knowing who would arrive first, the soldiers or more Arab attackers. Fortunately, the soldiers reached the children in time to pre-empt a massacre.

In recent days, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and some other prominent American Jews have denounced Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely. They said they were “insulted” because she pointed out that Jews in the U.S. do not face the same kind of dangers that Israeli Jews face. The attempt to stone Jewish children to death in the Shomron on Thursday shows how right she was. Rabbi Jacobs and his colleagues owe the deputy foreign minister an apology.

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

Posted on November 30, 2017 and filed under Israel, Opinion.