Blood and Stones

Watch this first, and what follows will make more sense and hopefully evoke a sense of outrage:
It was produced by a former Teaneck resident and Bnai Yeshurun member who now lives in Judea.

In the last several months, the Arabs of the land of Israel have again been up in arms, and more frequently, up to their arms in rocks and stones. Their attacks on innocent Jewish civilian travelers have escalated, such that stone-throwing, the shattering of windshields, windows and the propagation of terror, have become commonplace, daily events. Much of this has been intentionally kept under the radar so as not to have to induce a forceful response by the government. Last year, a man and his infant son were murdered south of Hevron by a windshield shattered by a rock thrown by an Arab that caused him to lose consciousness, crash and die. An infant remains in a coma for more than two months, her injuries the result of stone-throwing that caused her mother to lose control of her vehicle driving on Highway 5 from Tel Aviv to Ariel. Last month, a beautiful soul – pious, friendly and giving – was wantonly stabbed to death by an Arab at Tapuach Junction.
Most of the incidents have occurred south of Jerusalem, some north, but there is also regular stoning on Highway 443, the alternate road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem that passes Modiin, and was naively and venally reopened to Arab traffic by the High Court of “Justice” just last year. (One of Modiin’s rabbis had his car smashed just last month.) Are the bad old days coming back?
Israelis are debating whether a third “intifada” is beginning. They should first stop using the Arabic word “intifada,” purposely chosen by the Arabs because it means not revolt but “shaking off.” It is as if to say, Israel is like dandruff that needs to be shaken off one’s lapel in order to be presentable. Use of the term implies that it is unnatural and unacceptable for Jews to be living in the land of Israel, so of course the Arab enemy employs it. Apparently, so do unthinking Jews. Let us call this what it is: a recurrence of the civil war for the land of Israel. Like the first several such civil wars, the Israelis have not yet joined the battle and attacks remain unilateral and do not yet generate a response.
Like in the bad old days, this has precipitated occasional closure of roads – like the tunnel road south of Jerusalem – when stoning becomes heavy. Drivers become accustomed to peculiar Israeli weather reports – “forecast today is partly sunny with a chance of a shower of rocks and stones, depending on your location.” South of Gush Etzion has become especially treacherous. The sorry scenes of the last war – IDF soldiers fleeing a hail of stones, or cowering in their jeep as it is being smashed – are reappearing for those who care to watch.
There is as yet no response. Drivers are told to avoid certain areas or roads, or not travel at certain times of the day or night. The army could exercise control but does not, barred by its civilian commanders from doing anything productive. Israel’s government has calculated – as it did in the 1990s and until 2002 – to tolerate a certain amount of dead and maimed Jews in order to achieve some of its broader goals – international consensus to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities being primary today. There is also the sense that the Arabs want to distract the world from the ongoing massacres in Syria and the unrest in Egypt and elsewhere by provoking that old Arab bogeyman – Israel – into attacking Arabs. The Arabs have made the macabre and accurate calculation that the world will tolerate tens of thousands of Syrians killed by Arabs but the world will not stand by silently while an Israeli police officer tickets an Arab driver for speeding. Some outrages cannot be left unchallenged.
Meanwhile, life in much of Israel becomes less livable, and morale in the army begins to decline again. The Arabs become more and more emboldened and brazen. Rocks and stones become Molotov cocktails and bombs; that has already happened. IEDs can’t be far behind – a new Muslim gift to mankind. This is a bad movie that has been played ad infinitum, and its run was only canceled last time after the Park Hotel Pesach eve suicide bombing in Netanya in March 2002 that killed 30 Jews and wounded more than a hundred others. Must the Jewish people endure another 1000 dead to chase the chimera of world approval?
It seems the government and the military have decreed that rock-throwing is not a life-threatening act, notwithstanding that it was officially adjudicated as such when a judge sentenced to life imprisonment the rock-throwing murderers of the aforementioned Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan. Of course a stone tossed at a speeding vehicle endangers the lives of all those in that vehicle as well as others on the roads at that time. That is common sense. Should a driver therefore be allowed to run over a rock-thrower rather than absorb his blow? It would seem like elementary self-defense, a basic Jewish and human right.
An American president said once (at a campaign rally): “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” (Did Barack Obama really say that? Yes, on June 13, 2008. He was talking about Republicans, who evidently did not construe him as Nixon with a brighter smile.) Inspired by him as so many have been, the solution to the current crisis seems clear. Obviously, the military possesses the tools and discipline to thwart the deadly stone-throwing and they should. The rules of engagement that handicap the IDF should be changed –and so should the rules governing civilian confrontations and limiting civilian possession of weapons. There is a war going on, after all.
One of the most lamentable aspects of the Arab method of waging war is that they afford themselves the right and religious duty to murder civilians while their own civilians must remain sacrosanct. It has also been a familiar pattern: they play by the rules of Middle Eastern butchery when they are the aggressors (as when they attack Jews and Americans), and wail about the violation of Western norms and values when their own civilians are killed, even accidentally (as in Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan). The media constantly fall for this duplicitous game; normal, thinking people should stop playing it.
Does this mean that proud, militant Jews should start stoning Arab vehicles? No, of course not, perish the thought, who would even suggest such a thing? We do know that the asymmetry of unilateral attacks on civilians by only one side to a conflict is demoralizing, not spiritually elevating as some have argued. There is nothing particularly moral about dying, and especially not when the deaths could have been prevented. And we know as well that even one shattered windshield on an Arab vehicle will bring the wrath of the Israeli government – finally, they act! – on the perpetrators, and will make headline news internationally in a way that 1000 Syrians murdered by other Arabs has not and will not. But wouldn’t fairness dictate that a blind eye be turned to all stone-throwing, if the policy deems it more or less innocuous? We shall see.
To date, the intellectuals and politicians who ruminate about such matters have termed the Arab violence “low-level,” unworthy of a response, especially since it doesn’t affect them. Undoubtedly, and most tragically, there will be, G-d forbid, some horrific incident in which a well known person, or entire family, is murdered on the roads. Official spokesmen will react with fury, the army will be called into action, and philosophers will philosophize about the will of G-d. But it is all so preventable – with force, resolve, determination, will and a strong and fearless hand.
When that day comes and the politicians shed crocodile tears at the funerals and gnash their teeth about another Jewish family destroyed, they should first point the finger of blame at the evildoers who dwell in the land of Israel and desire nothing more than Jewish blood.
And then, to share the blame, they should take a good look in the mirror.
Those who don’t believe that day is coming, G-d forbid, should watch the video clip again.

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