“Our grief is that of a society that wishes to live, a society that educates our boys to life, to be humans, to behave as human beings, to strive for peace…And opposing us is a society that yearns for death, as we can see around us in the happiness of a boy in becoming a martyr — a society that does not respect anything…Our society chooses life and does not seek out wars, but strives for peace and sees war as [a] necessary [evil]…On the other side of us is an element that desires death and causes devastation, not only against us but against itself.” — Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon last Tuesday at a conference with members of Yad Labanim, an organization of bereaved Israeli families.
Chief of police Ronnie Alsheich echoed the same feelings at an event for bereaved families in Eilat, also reported by the Times of Israel:
“There is a difference between our grief and their grief…It’s impossible not to tell the difference between the grief we see in your faces and the grief we’ve seen expressed by some of our neighbors in recent years…Our enemies chose to sanctify death; the message they preach is that life is meaningless and that pressing a button or pulling out a knife, you will be transported to a better world. This is the antithesis of Israeli values”, he said.
The leaders’ comments come against the background of an interview where the veteran Army radio host Razi Barkai “dared” to pose a “provocative” comparison to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who advocates withholding bodies of Palestinian attackers:
“Imagine Israeli families — and sadly we know cases like that, Protective Edge [Gaza, 2014] for example, waiting and waiting for the bodies of their loved ones to return.”
Barkai was alluding to the bodies of two Israeli soldiers which are believed to be withheld by Hamas.
Erdan was enraged: “That’s the comparison you’re making?…The comparison is irrelevant.”
The father of one of the two dead soldiers, Simcha Goldin, father of Hadar Goldin, confronted Barkai on an Army Radio program the next day (again, as reported by the Times of Israel):
“We’re in a struggle to convince the world that there are huge differences between us and our enemies”.
Just two days earlier, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on a radio interview with Nissim Mishal (‘Radio Lelo Hafsaka’- Non-stop radio’) that bodies of “terrorists” should not be released for burial, but rather buried “in an anonymous cemetery in Israel, as we have done in the past”. Bennett opines as well, that if a ‘terrorist’ comes out of a particular village, which happens to have in it ten illegally built houses, these should be immediately demolished on the night after the attack, so that the village residents would understand that there is a price for terror. (Hebrew source – Arutz Sheva)
Indeed, Bennett’s words are very reminiscent of Moshe Dayan’s from 1955:
“The only method that proved effective, not justified or moral but effective, when Arabs plant mines on our side [is retaliation]. If we try to search for the [particular] Arab [who planted mines], it has not value. But if we harass the nearby village…then the population there comes out against the [infiltrators]…the method of collective punishment so far has proved effective.” (In Benny Morris, Righteous Victims).
Bennett further opines that the “terrorist” is “prepared to give his life and he is promised a paradise with virgins, his family is promised a stipend from the Palestinian Authority and he will be listed as a Palestinian hero”.
Bennett, in his chauvinism, apparently sees no need to relate to Palestinian females in his appraisal of motives – such as for example 13-year-old Ruqqayah Eid Abu Eid from Anata who attempted to stab a guard of a Jewish settlement and was shot dead on the 23rd of January – or Hadeel Al-Hashlamoun on September 22nd, who shot dead from a safe distance by soldiers at a checkpoint in Al Khalil… But these are supposedly “aberrations” which would complicate Bennett’s portrayal. The “terrorist” is not a child, it’s not a “she”. At best it’s a “he” with hateful, barbaric and also sexist fanatic motives. Maybe it’s not even a he – maybe it’s just a thing.
Indeed, Arabs for Bennett are “things”. In a cabinet meeting on the 26th of July Bennett (then as Economy Minister) was arguing with National Security Adviser Ya’akov Amidror about the prisoner release.
Bennett: “If you catch terrorists, you have to simply kill them.”
Amidror: “Listen, that’s not legal.”
Bennett: “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that.”
(Source – Yediot Aharonot, Hebrew edition 29th July, also at 972.)
So, folks, let’s sum this up. Palestinians love death. They sanctify it. We’d practically do them a favor by killing them – lots of them – and there’s no problem with that. And if we can’t kill them fast enough, let’s enact collective punishment, it’s the only thing that works. The Arabs understand only force.