June 19, 2017

Don’t turn the IDF into grasshoppers

The death of Hadas Malka was a tragedy. She died at the hands of Palestinian youths of between 18 and 19 years old.   

A new generation of Arabs who no longer respect, much less fear, the IDF uniform.

Because (a) they know that the soldier will hesitate to use lethal force, lest he/she is indicted like Sgt. Elor Azariya. (b) They also know that, short of 72 virgins, they are assured of excellent jail conditions while their families are paid handsomely by Abbas’s prisoner fund. And (c) these are the same soldiers they grew up learning to walk right up to at flashpoints like Beit Zafafa and spitting in their faces with impunity.

The same goes for residents of Judea and Samaria who are constantly at risk from surrounding Arabs who know full well that the government denies most settlers gun licences and those who carry guns have every reason to fear prosecution if they are used.
Last Shabbat’s Torah portion was about the spies sent by Moses to scout out the land of Canaan. They famously reported of the Canaanites:  “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

In past generations, there was zero tolerance of disobedience and Jews in uniform commanded respect and fear in the Arab street. It was Yitzchak Rabin who called for “breaking bones” – not some far right leader.

Outside times of war, the youth of the Palestinian street seem to look upon the IDF and Israel’s border guards as grasshoppers. This will only encourage more opportunistic attacks where beautiful lives like Hadas will be lost to our people.

Israel must reassert its army’s deterrence on the Arab street.
This means starting at the very basic level of rules of street engagement, whereby any protestor who comes within ‘spitting distance’ of a soldier is hauled away by police and sent to the cooler.

Significantly last week’s Haftara reading was the story of Joshua’s spies who were told by the Canaanite innkeeper Rahab: “Our people know that G-d has given this land to you and the fear of your people has fallen upon them.” 
That’s where we need to get to.

As the good book says:   תִּפֹּל עֲלֵיהֶם אֵימָתָה וָפַחַד 

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