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Kahanists attack school after synagogue killings

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We’re used to hearing them referenced as “settlers” and “hilltop youth”, but let’s be honest, there’s been a dramatic escalation of rioting, and retribution by Kahanists since the lynching of Palestinian bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramouni on Sunday night. Granted, things were already extremely tense.  The subsequent Palestinian attack on worshippers at a synagogue in Jerusalem this morning, killing four Jewish worshipers and a police officer, and the killing of the two Palestinian attackers, has now led to riots in East Jerusalem neighborhoods that took place this evening.

And today the Kahanists attacked a school near Nablus. I call them Kahanist because of where they are from, what their leaders advocate and who they chant during celebrations, according an Israel television report.

According to numerous sources, settlers attacked the Burin High School near Nablus. Ma’an reports, “Burin is a frequent site of settler violence and Palestinian clashes with Israeli forces as it is located beside the notoriously violent Israeli settlement of Yitzhar…Over 90 percent of investigations into settler violence by Israeli police fail to lead to an indictment.” The settlers were repelled by Palestinians until the army showed up to disperse the crowd, a riot ensued, and soldiers fired teargas at Palestinians and shot and injured six.

According to Israeli News 2 TV a prominent leader of these “hilltop youths” or  “La Familia” — who can be viewed chanting “still Kahane lives still Kahane lives”– is Kiryat Arba councilman and Lahava founder Benzion Gopstein,  The “students of Kahane” concentrate around Gopstein and “see him as their leader,” News 2 reported last year.

Here’s what Gopstein’s Facebook page looked like til Monday. Reports are that he switched out the shot.


Ignore that noose. Is it just a coincidence he changed his image after Palestinian bus driver Yousef al-Ramouni was brutally murdered Sunday night? Israeli authorities, and mouthpieces Ron Dermer and Dore Gold on CNN, pronounced it a suicide. The same forensic logic that determined the Abu Khdeir family killed the 16-year-old child Mohammed Abu Khdeir last July. The same logic we heard in May when Blitzer aired Michael Oren claiming the 2 teens killed on Nakba day, Nadim Nuwara and Mahmoud Salameh, was a staged event and they might not even be dead. Palestinian reports say that al-Ramouni was attacked by Jewish settlers.

Here’s video of the wedding of councilman Gopstein’s daughter to one of the La Familia leaders. Click cc for subtitles.

The video was shot by News 2 TV. So how much of a leap of faith is it to assume the settlers who attacked the high school were Kahanists?

Screen shot "Kahane lives"

Screen shot “Kahane lives”

One of the people Interviewed on the video is “Itmar Ben Gvir, a lawyer that represents many here.” News 2 called him a kingpin, and Gvir explains that the people in attendance “unfortunately became the targets of the security services [who] instead of taking care of the terrorists, are picking on these righteous and pure people.” The settlers in this region are notoriously violent, the army commander ignores complaints.” News 2 said that among the participants were those suspected of carrying out price tag attacks. Complaints stack up against them and still they thrive.

Screen shot "Celebrants mask themselves wave and dance with knives"

Screen shot “Celebrants mask themselves wave and dance with knives”

It shows men dancing the “Knife Dance” after the wedding ceremony, brandishing knives while chanting biblical verses. Many of them have their faces covered. I thought of them when I read a Ma’an New report today saying that Palestinian Fadi Jalal Radwan, 22, was stabbed by a group of Israelis while walking in the Jerusalem village of Kafr Aqab today.

Screen shot "Knives Dance"

Screen shot “Knives Dance”

The groom explains the biblical song they are singing is about people wanting to take “revenge against their enemies.”

Screen shot: "Does it have any contemporary context?"... "don't know. "

Screen shot: “Does it have any contemporary context?”…
“don’t know. “

These are the mosque vandalizers. The orchard thieves. The olive tree destroyers. The land thieves and rock throwers who will not be spending years in jail for their violence and destruction. They attack people too. A settler shot and seriously injured a 16 year old boy today, I don’t know if the shooter is part of La Familia though.

Here’s Ma’an’s report on settlers attacking a Palestinian school near Nablus:

 NABLUS (Ma’an) — Clashes broke out near Nablus on Tuesday after settlers attacked a Palestinian school in the village of Urif, a Palestinian official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settler activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that six Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets after Israeli forces intervened in clashes with settlers.

Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades at villagers after they clashed with settlers trying to attack a local school.

The incident took place hours after a deadly attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem which killed four Israelis.

Earlier, dozens of settlers had gathered along the main road between Nablus and Yizhar settlement following news of the attack, with witnesses saying they planned to attack Palestinian farmers and cars.

An Israeli army spokesman said Palestinians “rioted” and “hurled rocks” at Israeli security forces.

Yusuf Hasan al-Ramouni

Yusuf Hasan al-Ramouni

And speaking of stories that the mainstream is not covering, Yusuf Hasan al-Ramouni, 32, a Palestinian husband, father, son, and brother was lynched Sunday in a bus in Mount Scopus, which adjoins Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. He lived in Al Tur (Mount of Olives neighborhood) with his wife and two young children, now fatherless. Both Al-Ramouni and his wife were raised in Abu Dis and then moved to Al Tur. Al-Ramouni was the son of a well-known tailor in Abu Dis. According to my contact from Abu Dis Friendship Association: “He was working on the bus when settlers went inside the bus and hanged him” He showed up for work and was “tortured and hung by settlers.”

Riots broke out near Abu Dis in East Jerusalem Sunday night after news spread al-Ramouni had been murdered. They have since escalated.

(Hat tip Ronnie Barkan)

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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27 Responses

  1. W.Jones on November 18, 2014, 9:04 pm

    In the polls, Israelis are getting more and more intolerant. There is a generational divide in a bad way.

  2. just on November 18, 2014, 10:20 pm

    i’m glad to see you Annie!

    i’ll go back and view the videos, but the stories about the escalating settler violence (under protection of the IOF), the stabbing of the Palestinian in Jerusalem by a settler, and the shooting of a 16 yo by other thugs today has got me sick.

    the murders of the 4 men at the synagogue this morning, (may they RIP), filled me with dread and icicles in my belly because I knew this would happen. it’s been engineered by the GoI.

    sad to know that Meir Kahane and Baruch Goldstein (both settlers) are so revered by so many. a doctor and a rabbi. phew.

    • just on November 18, 2014, 10:27 pm

      oops. i meant to write that the attack in Jerusalem was by Israelis (don’t know if they are settlers yet…) but a settler did shoot the 16 yo.

      (need to change the name to thieves, brigands, terrorists, squatters)

    • annie on November 18, 2014, 11:01 pm

      i have been around, i just have been sort of speechless. and i was writing but things were changing so fast i could kept changing and changing and i wasn’t satisfied.

      and then as i was writing i’d eventually see people posting the updates in the comments i had already included but everything just was out of date and it remained unfinished. i was too upset to complete everything.

      yes, an earlier ma’an link about Fadi Jalal Radwan’s stabbing link is already embedded in the story. i can’t see the embeds. does anyone else have that problem?? but i had not seen the shooting. your link. so maybe i will add it to the base.

      you need to watch the video. i am not sure why a section of my draft w/the dialogue was cut. but the end of the video is really chilling.

      • just on November 18, 2014, 11:26 pm

        the link did finally show up…thank you, annie. the date on this important article of yours is 11/17, not 11/18.

        the video is more than disturbing. they look crazed — filled with “rapture” and hatred, some covering their faces and armed with knives because they think they are . how is that possible @ a wedding?

        “salt of the earth, righteous and pure”. KKKahanists and their brethren. US taxpayers’ dollars support this. yuck.

      • annie on November 19, 2014, 12:41 am

        hmm, that must be because i started it yesterday, i don’t know why that date is like that. i fixed it tho. thank you!

      • Rachamim Dwek on December 4, 2014, 10:18 pm

        Writing that al Ramouni was “lynched,” let alone attacked is incredibly irresponsible. Surely Ms. Robbins would cry foul were the busdriver a Jew and the accusation was that unseen Arabs had lynched him.

        That is above and beyond the Palestinian Pathologist picked by the family having witnessed the autopsy and concurring that it was indeed suicide. Granted that days later he changed his tune, but, at the very least it tells us that it is far from solved, and yet Ms. Robbins has seen fit to attack half a million Jews in writing.

        Surely the last thing needed by both Arabs and Israelis is yet anothet foreigner wit all the asnwers fanning the flames of hatred and divisiveness.

      • annie on December 5, 2014, 2:23 am

        Pathologist picked by the family having witnessed the autopsy and concurring that it was indeed suicide.

        nope. and they have nothing but the word of israel authorities (notorious for lying and fabricating factoids with no proof whatsoever) on this allegations.

        Granted that days later he changed his tune

        nope. he turned in his report prior to burial the next morning. it was reported on several news sites on the 17th, less than a day after the murdered. so obviously it was not days later.

        Ms. Robbins has seen fit to attack half a million Jews in writing.

        i’m terribly sorry if i’ve cause you any confusion ms dwek. let me be the first to clear up this matter. i absolutely do not believe (not for one minute) a half million jews were involved in this vile lynching of an innocent civilian.

  3. Kay24 on November 18, 2014, 10:33 pm

    The outcome of an Israeli conducted autopsy and investigation of the death of the poor Palestinian bus driver should not be a surprise. There should be some way that the Palestinians can ask for an independent autopsy, when they have doubt about such tragic events. They were able to get Israeli, Palestinian, and medical officers from other nations, when they conducted an autopsy for the poor kids who were killed during the Nakba anniversary. No one in their right mind would trust the Israelis, who are the usual suspects, to be forthcoming and honest about such investigations. They lie so easily.

    • annie on November 18, 2014, 11:11 pm

      he was obviously lynched. these are the same hacks who went on tv and said there was no dead body after the nakba day killings. they lie with impunity. they say anything, only a complete idiot would think he committed suicide.

      • just on November 18, 2014, 11:29 pm

        it’s what Netanyahu et al told them to do…. lynch, burn, hunt, kill, however you choose, but kill.

      • just on November 18, 2014, 11:31 pm

        “An Israeli train driver earlier this week took to Facebook to encourage his compatriots to run over Palestinians for “the Jewish nation.”

        On the afternoon of 11 November, Benny Levy, a train operator for Israel Railways, wrote the message on his personal Facebook page. Apparently attempting to start a chain message intended to be passed on and shared by other Facebook users, he called on every Israeli to “invest one small effort” and “run over only one Arab.”

        The full status reads:

        Forward, don’t break!!!! In light of the difficult situation of the Jewish Nation we’ve got to wake up! Everyone takes one little action into his own hands, run over only one Arab, that’s all, and God Willing together we’ll manage to make a difference! Each person will invest one small effort for us all!”

  4. talknic on November 19, 2014, 5:47 am

    No recognizable Jewish values in the videos.

    The world needs to see just how insane these people really are

  5. Kay24 on November 19, 2014, 7:29 am

    The mighty Israeli government, cannot be unaware that these potential killers exists, and that they are crazy and dangerous. They are the Jewish jihadists who have been armed by their government. They are followers of a hateful murderer, and openly speak of causing death and destruction, that is chilling. I wonder if they will be so gung-ho if confronted with ISIS.

  6. ivri on November 19, 2014, 8:23 am

    What could indeed happen, in an unplanned but still intrinsically “programmed” manner, is that it will stop being just Palestinian civilians fighting facing the Israeli police or army but instead civilians versus civilians – reflecting in a more accurate way what is developing on the ground in Jerusalem (and partly in the West-Bank). That is, something like: you come to my place to destroy and kill, we shall visit your place tomorrow. That’s` a kind of different deterrent type – a new conflict format.

    • annie on November 19, 2014, 12:42 pm

      a new conflict format.

      wow, a heavily armed citizenry against people w/rocks. that’s brilliant. i wonder why no one ever considered that before. awesome comment ivri.

    • eljay on November 19, 2014, 1:05 pm

      >> ivreee: That is, something like: you come to my place to destroy and kill, we shall visit your place tomorrow. That’s` a kind of different deterrent type – a new conflict format.

      When Palestinians retaliate against Zio-supremacist Jews who come to their place to destroy and kill (and steal and ethnically cleanse and colonize and oppress and torture), it’s referred to as terrorism (or terror or terrrrrrr). But when Zio-supremacist Jews retaliate against Palestinians, it’s called “a new conflict format”.

      Go figure.

  7. just on November 19, 2014, 8:57 am

    that graphic takes my breath away.

  8. just on November 19, 2014, 10:04 am

    “NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers late Tuesday smashed the windshields of several Palestinian vehicles in the Nablus district, witnesses said.

    Arif al-Tahir from Nablus said he saw dozens of settlers smash windshields near the Huwwara military checkpoint in the presence of Israeli soldiers.

    A local Fatah leader, Awwad Naji, added that Israeli soldiers told shop owners to shut down their stores and move their vehicles to avoid having them damaged by settlers.

    Meanwhile, settlers also attacked Palestinian vehicles in the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiyya, Palestinian security sources said.”

  9. Horizontal on November 19, 2014, 11:28 am

    Annie ~

    Maybe you could answer this question for me.

    Here in the states, the draft had the effect of radicalizing the youth against the Vietnam War, which many thought unjust and nothing they wanted to personally support, much less die for.

    Now, Israel has a draft, in the sense that each citizen serves in the military after their high school years. So why hasn’t this created a similarly large anti-war movement in Israel? It seems to me that the youth are headed in the opposite direction.

    Any ideas?

    • just on November 19, 2014, 11:52 am

      I’ll take a shot @ that.

      Israelis are raised to hate the “other”. They are raised to believe that all of the land is theirs, and that it is the Palestinians that are the “interlopers”. Many even deny their very existence, their history, and their culture.

    • adele on November 19, 2014, 4:04 pm

      I saw your question earlier and it stuck in my mind, so when I came upon this article just now on twitter and read through it, I immediately thought of your question. Even though the article is not directly about the draft, it touches upon how entrenched military service is within Israel society. Hopefully it will shed some light…

      “If you don’t serve in the army, you will carry a stigma for your whole life,” Rahav explains. “Whatever you apply for, you’ll always be asked if you were conscripted in the army, where and in which battalion and the degree you reached. Being an officer is an important distinction and a good business card for any future job.”

    • jd65 on November 20, 2014, 12:09 pm

      It’s a good question Horizontal. Just’s point about the culture in Israel generally (raised to hate/fear the ‘other,’ taught from a young age that all of ‘Judea/Samaria’ are is property of the Jews, etc etc…) is valid and certainly part of an explanation. And adele’s point about social stigma and economic factors are valid points as well.

      You ask why there isn’t a “similarly large anti-war movement in Israel” compared to the movement in the U.S. during the Vietnam war. I’m not knowledgable enough to know that. in fact, there isn’t. My understanding is that there are a good number of “refuseniks” who do jail time instead of fighting for the IDF. And since Israel is of course much smaller than the U.S., I have no idea of the comparative numbers of Israeli refuseniks vs. American Vietnam draft dodgers. This would make an interesting, and difficult, study.

      I’d offer another main aspect to your question: Ultra orthodox Jews (many of whom are settlers in the West Bank) can be exempt from military service on religious grounds. So while officially being a member of an Armed Forces unit is off limits to these holy men and women, terrorizing and occasionally murdering their indigenous neighbors as pious civilians is permitted by Yahweh. And again, as far as the numbers/percentages of the population that takes advantage of these exemptions is beyond my knowledge.

    • annie on December 7, 2014, 11:54 pm

      horizontal, i somehow missed this comment before but will answer it now.

      i am of that era, vietnam, so off the top of my head i would say nobody had ever heard of this enemy. nobody explained to anyone why they were our enemy or why we were going to war. lots and lots of people were coming back dead.

      vs being raised from as early as you can remember and indoctrinated to think of others as “others” who are out to kill you. being raised from birth knowing when you graduated from high school you were going into the army. (whereas i didn’t know anybody growing up who went to the army except people who were in ww2 (which was a loooong time ago in another age) so going to war was rare and deathly.

      whereas, israeli soldiers who die in conflict are relatively rare. most occupation forces are more like prison guards trained to abuse people with no harm to themselves (rocks, scary/not) against a civilian population.

      and while vietnam was mostly against a civilian population everyday the fighter were formidable. the body bags were coming home. if everyday israeli soldiers were coming back in body bags, or if they were fighting against an armed foe (like hezbollah) the occupation would end much faster. remember how fast the ground invasion ended when they lost 60 (or so). they pulled back and relied on all out air campaign/slaughter.

      israeli soldiers for the most part are cowards and you can tell that by who they target. either during a massacre like in gaza or down time where they just threaten innocents by driving thru refugee camps or villages and grabbing the children or teargassing and kidnaps teens at night and most of the population is unarmed. you have an 18 yr old kid abusing children, what kind of fear is that for the soldier? very little. there are some who opt out but not many. the rest go along with it and become complicit. not that different than an american soldier going to iraq and slaughtering civilians. some will know it’s wrong and want to come home, but most become indoctrinated and just push the drone button to drop the bomb to kill the villagers. they are convinced they are doing the right thing and the children they kill is rationalized because they are fighting terror.

      if americans kid were brainwashed from an early age to hate their neighbors they too would turn to the right. but we are not. also, vietnam came during the civil rights movement. there’s nothing comparable in israel. instead it’s the growth of the kahanists children raised by fanatics and nurtured by society who, along with the government, protects them.

  10. tumblin_tom on November 19, 2014, 10:03 pm

    If they were Palestinian this would be enough for Bibi to act as judge, jury, and executioner.

  11. Taxi on November 21, 2014, 12:03 am

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