A week ago, the Israeli Ministry of Education held a conference in Jerusalem for the state’s religious education sector (Ynet reports, Hebrew, English here). Education Minister Naftali Bennett was also present. The theme was “speaking about the values of the Jewish family in 2018, about education to healthy sexuality, modesty, feminism, values and Zionism.”
On the stage was an aging terrorist, Moshe Zar, a former founding member of the Jewish-terrorist movement “Jewish Underground” (in 1980’s), who said the following:
“I am known for saying ‘Build a house, it’s like you wiped out a hundred Arabs. Build a settlement, it’s like you wiped out tens of thousands of goyim [‘non-Jews’]’. That’s the truth”.
His words were applauded by a considerable number of the public, including the settler standing beside him, Yael Shevach, the widow of rabbi Raziel Shevach, who was murdered in January on a road in the occupied West Bank outside the settlement he lived in.
Israeli journalist David Sheen has provided the video with subtitles here.
The immediate context within the conference was about settlement in “Judea, Samaria and Gaza”. After a video was screened, Zar told about an attack that had occurred in a settlement and said that construction of the settlements is “our sweet revenge”.
“Our revenge, the revenge of all of us, will be only in the settlement of Eretz Israel” [the land of Israel].
Of course, when such genocidal euphemism comes out in mainstream press, you have to do some damage control. Thus, the Ministry of Education issued a statement distancing itself from Zar’s expressions:
“The Ministry of Education and head of the state-religious education condemn decisively Moshe Zar’s egregious words, which were said on his behalf alone. We are speaking of an unfitting expression which does not reflect the spirit and policy of the Ministry of Education, which acts a lot to promote all of the sectors in the Israeli society, including the Arab sector.”
Notice a few things here, which make this statement highly questionable:
First, state-religious education is exclusively Jewish. The claim of promoting other ‘sectors’ does not relate to the state-religious education sector itself. Second, how could the ministry not know of Zar’s ideology? He is known for it – he literally boasts of it (“I am known for saying”…). In the ’80s, he was part of “a terrorist group that planted bombs in the cars of Arab mayors and plotted to destroy the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem,” per the NYT. After the killing of his son Gilad in 2001 (who was a security officer of the Israeli settler Samaria Regional Council) by Palestinian militants, Moshe Zar vowed that he would establish six settlements in his son’s memory (a settlement for each letter in his name in the Hebrew spelling). Rabbi Raziel Shevach was murdered outside a settlement that Zar established in 2002 – Havat Gilad. In 2015, Zar expressed some regret for his past terrorist activities and objected to the ‘tag price’ revenge terrorism attacks, but nonetheless remained an avid proponent of the settlement enterprise. Even if the Ministry viewed Zar as a kind of ‘moderate settler’ who was no longer an ‘active terrorist’, still, they could not claim to not have known about his ideology, in which he replaced the bomb with the settlement, as it were. (Let it nonetheless be noted that Zar was buying up private Palestinian land for settlement since 1979, that is, simultaneously with his terrorist activity).
Then Zar issued his own statement to Ynet, clarifying that he was merely ‘misunderstood’:
“Of course I referred with my words only to Arab terrorists who killed my son Gilad and the rabbi Raziel Shevach and many thousands of Jews. I live with Arabs in co-existence from my birth, out of the belief that in mutuality it is possible to live in peace.”
This one is disingenuous on several levels. First of all, Zar did not refer merely to Arab ‘terrorists’. To suggest that this is naturally to be understood (“of course”) is like suggesting that the category, Arabs, equals terrorists. Second, he did not merely say Arabs, he added to it “goyim” (non-Jews). This added notion, which appears very calculated and even meticulously self-cited, brings this way beyond the mere tit-for-tat supposed context. It is very clearly a Judeo-centric notion of ‘Judaization of the land’ with genocidal undertones.
And then there is of course Zar’s claim that since his birth (1938) he lives in ‘co-existence’ with ‘Arabs’. Zar was not only a member of the Jewish Underground, he was also a member of Ariel Sharon’s Unit 101 which committed the notiorious Qibya Massacre in 1953. Some ‘co-existence’ that is.
So this is, once again, one of those somewhat uncomfortable slips of the tongue, in which someone says something that is just a touch too overt, and you have to do damage control and tell people to move on. Like when Education Minister Bennett said that he “killed many Arabs and there’s no problem with that”.
But notice what Zar was really saying, even in the conservative, watered down interpretation: Israeli settler-colonization of what Zionists consider ‘Eretz Israel’, is a form of bureaucratic genocidal “sweet revenge”.
You’re just not supposed to say it too overtly. The liberals, and especially the goyim, may start getting the wrong ideas.