Last week, a house in Hebron was evacuated amidst extreme protest and violence. (link) I am aware that the legal status of that house is under discussion and contention. And yet, whatever the circumstances, the violence was shocking and more than troubling.
What we are seeing is a new violent streak in the Religious Zionist community, and new in two ways:
1. That it delegitimises the government , police and army. Since the Disengagement it has decided that the legal representatives of the State are undermining our Jewish presence in Israel and are thus illegitimate.
2. They now feel it is perfectly OK to smash Arab graves, set their homes on fire and to frighten and intimidate the Arab people around them
Just read this story from Hebron (from Jpost - link) and that is BEFORE all this mess.
So let's get this straight.
There is NO WAY that this violence by the Hebron settlers against soldiers, and Arab neighbours can be legitimised. Olmert called it a pogrom. That is what it looks like to me! It is violent. It is lawless. It involves awful crimes of abuse, intimidation, violence and destruction of property. I am embarrassed as a Jew to see Jews act in this way. Their Judaism has little in common with mine!
So where are the leaders?
Where are the Rabbis?
Where are the Rabbi Riskins, the Avi Gissers, the Tzohar Rabbis, the heads of the Yeshiva High schools, the Rav Aviners? The Yesha Council, The Yesha Mayors? Why is there absolute silence?
Today in the newspapers quite incredulously, there were two pieces lending support to these hooligans! (here and Here)
I'll tell you - these leaders and Rabbis are scared that if the talk out, they will be branded as leftists and enemies of eretz Yisrael etc. Well, they must not be intimidated! They must stand up and represent the Right Wing, and at the same time, reject violence and lawlessness. If the settler movement act with restraint, morality, dignity and legality, they will achieve far more. They will also control the moral high-ground. They might even be a Kiddush Hashem.
This violence needs to be decried in the most absolute fashion, or else, we are really dealing with a most dangerous momentum that will end in tragedy. Once it is legitimate to shoot at Palestinians and burn their homes, Jews will be next. Once it is legitimiate to intimidate and riot, there are no boundaries.
The time to act is NOW. It is already late. Leaders - speak out!
UPDATE (Wed Dec 10): Thank God, some leaders are speaking out. Here is a piece from Ynet about a letter from (Mori VeRabbi) Rav Lichtenstein expressing the Hillul Hashem of last week's events in Hevron and calling upon parents to direct and guide their children. - LINK. The article also talks about a conference tomorrow at Kehillat Yedidya. Unfortunately it is being sponsored only by far left-wing religious-zionist groups and hence it is likely that they will be preaching to the converted.