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Abusing Soldiers in Hebron

28 April 2003

By Yisrael Ne’eman

“Your mother’s a whore!  You Nazi bastard, son of a whore, you should only burn in hell, all of you!”  The soldiers are taunted with words of incitement and do their best to ignore such hatred as they vigilantly look out for any potential terrorist looking to attack the celebrants.  At time teenagers threaten physical abuse or purposely move into restricted areas and have to be removed.

This Passover tens of thousands of Jews visited the holy city of Hebron where the patriarchs and matriarchs are buried in the Machpelah Cave.  Jews fled Hebron in 1929 after the massacre inflicted on them by the Arab community.  In 1968 the first Passover after the Six Day War there was the beginning of a return after 39 years.  Since then Kiryat Arba was built and parts of the Jewish Quarter of Hebron restored.

The insults screamed are those of Jews from the extreme ultra - far right wing militant faction emanating from the settler movement.  The same types are involved in fist - fights with soldiers on the illegal (by Israeli law) hilltop proto-settlements.

The argument between left and right over whether there should be a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is not the issue.  That is political – diplomatic.  This is a matter of respect for the army, the soldiers who risk their lives to ensure the safety of the Hebron Jewish community.  Everyone knows there have been plenty of terror attacks killing both soldiers and civilians.

The IDF should not have to deal with such punks and the adults who urge them on or show silent approval.  Where is the Jewish leadership in Judea and Samaria?  Everyone knows they are an ideologically committed group with enormous political and security related capabilities.  They cannot control a few thugs who constantly do them damage in their relations with the army, the average soldier and the everyday Israeli?

Where is the National Religious Party leadership of chairman - Minister Effi Eitam, Shaul Yahalom, Rabbi Yitzchak Levi?  And the National Union led by Avigdor Leiberman and Beni Elon?  Their voices are heard daily in the media.  Why don’t they put an end to this?  Where is the local leadership of the Hebron Jewish community?  Are they incompetent or unable to do something? 

This extremist behavior has been going on for years, it is not new.  There is certainly an issue of self - policing and for sure the extremists are known.  Or maybe such behavior is allowed in order to apply pressure to the government, to show there is a right wing much more extreme than those in elected office.  But the situation is intolerable and cannot be allowed to spill over into abuse of the army.  Certainly the Israeli right wing and settler movement can handle this ‘in house’.

Or maybe, for whatever reasons, they just don’t want to.