Thursday, December 24, 2015

Two Paradigms for Israelis: One Evil - One Hopeful

Meir Ettinger, Rabbi Meir Kahane's grandson
I cannot begin to tell you how disgusted I am by these people. Especially since they are mostly religious Zionists youth that proudly wear oversize Kipot Seruga.  To celebrate in joy at a wedding - the brutal murder of an innocent child is so disgusting, that I am loath to call these people Jewish, let alone religious.

These so called ‘Hilltop Youth’ have descended to a new low. And there is only one person that can be blamed for it. Rabbi Meir Kahane. He is the grandfather of a Meir Ettinger, who is widely believed to be the leader of this group. Rabbi Kahane must be turning over in his grave.. As terrible as his rhetoric often was, I do not recall him rejoicing over anything remotely resembling the murder of a child. Even a Palestinian child.

Why is Rabbi Kahane responsible for this? Because it is his hateful anti Arab rhetoric that inspires these people. They are very open about that. They worship him and think they are following in his footsteps. Now it is true that the actual people responsible for that child’s death are the ones who murdered him. But it isn’t the murder I’m talking about. It is the rejoicing over it. There is no excuse for it. None. Zero. It is pure evil.

They may respond by saying that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. By which I mean the rejoicing over the murder of innocents one almost always see by devout Muslims. As was the case on 9/11.  For these people- the tables are now turned. It’s our turn to celebrate the death of one of their innocents, they will say.

That attitude is evil incarnate. It would be one thing to celebrate the death of a terrorist who killed or even attempted to kill innocent Jews. But it is a very different story when a baby is killed who could not possibly have been guilty of anything. Even if the parents might have been. For which there is no evidence. Not every Palestinian is a terrorist. Even Meir Kahane knew that and had some loyal Arab friends.  

But that seems to have been lost on these people. As has all sense of justice and human decency.

I know that rejoicing over an innocent person’s death is not a crime. But I can’t imagine terrorists groups not thinking about retaliating some way. Which Palestinains leaders can now  blame us for inciting them. (Not that they need a reason. But those miserable Hilltop Youth have certainly given them one.)

If it were up to me, these people would be expelled from the nation. I would simply throw them out. Let them go live somewhere else. I know that is wishful thinking. But that is how I feel. Let them go live on a desert island… or Mars for all I care!

Aside from the immorality of these people, they are doing more to harm Israel by acting this way than anyone can imagine. Aside from riling up Palestinian terrorists who don’t need much to kill us…Aside from adding fuel to the current spate of daily murders and attempted murders of Jews by individual terrorists… Aside from giving radical Muslim Clerics more to talk about – and inspire more terrorism… it brings us all down. 

When they do things like this in the name of Judaism it makes them no better than the people who celebrated the fall of the twin towers on 9/11.  Both are evil people who think they are worshiping God.

Contrast these people with the following. From the Santa FeNew Mexican
Every summer, 16 girls travel from Israel and Palestine to Santa Fe in an effort to sow seeds of peace between their countries. They spend three weeks telling one another their stories and getting to know their theoretical enemies as flesh-and-bone human beings. “Israel and Palestine are about the size of New Jersey, but the children don’t grow up together,” said Dottie Indyke, executive director for Creativity for Peace, the nonprofit organization that runs the summer camp. “They don’t go to school together. Their native languages are not the same. All they know is what they read or what they hear from their parents, and most of it is demonizing: ‘Those people want to kill you.’ ” 
This is what all young people in Israel should be doing. Palestinains and Israelis. Here is how one of the Palestinian participants put it: 
“I wondered how teens my age could talk in such a prejudiced way,” Shaden says. “All that time I had so many reasons to hate, to blame, and to take revenge. However, I remembered my father saying that rage should be released in a positive way, because otherwise it will lead to nowhere but worse places. He taught me to treat others according to who I am and not who they are. Consequently I converted my rage to an urge to make a difference.” 
A program like this is the paradigm that should be followed. Not the one of hatred spewed constantly at young Palestinian minds. Which begets the hatred of the Palestinains on the Jewish side. Which ends up fueling terror and retaliation.

It is just a shame that this kind of thing is so rare. This project is a drop in the bucket compared to the hatred of the Jews that is so pervasive among Arabs. That hatred is  so overwhelimng that a project like this almost becomes meaningless. All the goodwill learned in these sessions is squickly forgotten once they return home. The hate returns – as the adults keep reminding the children how evil the other side is.  

Which for Jews is bolstered by a continuous flow of daily attack by individual Palestinains so motivated to kill Jews they try to do it even if they die in the process!

And which for Palestinians is bolstered by the activities of people like the Hilltop Youth. It’s hard not to hate the people that want to hurt you.

Let me be clear. This isn’t about moral equivalency. There is no question that what Radical Islam does is a far greater magnitude of evil, both in scale and in number. But that does not absolve us of knowing what is the right response and  what is the wrong one. Clearly what the Hilltop Youth do is the wrong one. By orders of magnitude!

If only the model of Israeli Hospitals could be used. Hadassah Hospital is known as a microcosm of peace and harmony between Palestinians and Jews. All that work there are blind to the differences between them. There are no Palestinians. There are no Jews. Just doctors nurses and other hospital staff - all of whom respect each other. The care a Jewish doctor or nurse gives to a Palestinian patient is palpable. As is the reverse.

Unfortunately the hatred among us blinds us to the possibility of getting along. We are blid to the Haddasah hospital model. Or the Santa Fe, New Mexico model. But as bad as things are, at least we know that getting along with each other is possible. That gives me hope, that someday we can not only live together, but respect and even love one another as friends and neighbors.

If there is a bright side to what these Hilltop Youth did, it is that it should give everyone more resolve than ever to make peace with the Palestinians.

Of course the devil is in the details and nothing has really changed there. But I’ll say it once again. All the Palestinians have to do is stop trying to kill us; and stop indoctrinating their children to hate us. If that happens, Palestinians will have a state. It might take a generation or two to filter out all that hate. But there is no better time than now to start. Although I don’t really have that much hope that it will.