Monday, February 26, 2007


Taking Revenge in Advance

My latest posting on the Israel National News "Back to Sanity" blog (4 Adar 5767):

On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority terrorists attempted to blow up Jews in Tel Aviv's central bus station. When the would-be bombers were captured, the Islamic Jihad announced that it was to be their operation and it is part of a renewed bombing campaign they're calling "Winter Thaw". They threaten many more attacks on Jews and, possibly, Americans.

A short time after the bomber and his accomplices were caught - coincidentally, I am sure, *wink, wink* - Israeli special forces found and killed the Arab terrorist responsible for making the bomb that didn't go off (and many others besides).

Then, Islamic Jihad announced that it considers the death of its bomb-maker - who had just provided the tool intended to kill a lot of Israelis - as a "crime". Not only that, but the "crime will not pass without revenge and revenge will come soon."

Wait, wait, wait.

They already said they are going to attack us left and right anyway. So, how will we know when their attack is "revenge" or just part of the "regular" attacks we are intended to be hit with now?

Did the Islamic Jihadists sit around this afternoon and say to themselves, "We were going to carry out 10 terror bombings, but NOW, for revenge, we are going to carry out ELEVEN! Feel our vengeance, you Zionist pigs!"
I hope readers of this blog will allow me to shamelessly quote an article I wrote for National Review Online in 2002:

"Perhaps the word 'revenge' also has a different meaning in Arabic than it does in English. Fourteen people have been killed in several terrorist attacks since the assassination of [Hamas terror leader] Shehadeh in Gaza ten days ago. Every Palestinian Authority faction, not just the Hamas, has taken part in recent attacks, all claiming that their actions were 'revenge' for Shahadeh's death. The only trouble is that, during an equivalent ten-day period prior to the Shehadeh assassination, a total of 15 people were killed by PA-based terrorists. Were they victims of 'preemptive revenge'?"

And I returned to this theme (and phraseology) in 2004, as well:

"Was that attack - designed to kill hundreds, at least - preemptive revenge for the death of Ahmed Yassin one week later? Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calls such things as the threats of 'revenge' for the Yassin assassination 'reversal of causality.' It is a common feature of Arab propaganda efforts on every front in our bitter conflict."

So, here we are again - another Arab cry for a "revenge" that they were planning to carry out anyway, if only they could.

Many people - including some Israelis, especially those on the political Left - hear the Arab cries for "revenge," then note that those cries are followed by terrorist attacks, and reach the completely ridiculous conclusion that Israeli air- or ground-strikes eliminating terrorists somehow "provoke" the Palestinian Authority Arabs to carry out more terrorist attacks. Such IDF successes, we are told, breed more suicide bombers.

Well, I might be convinced that's true... if I had severe short-term memory loss.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


A Child Understands

My latest posting on the Israel National News "Back to Sanity" blog:

28 Shevat 5767, 2/16/2007

Do I tell him or not? Will he hear about it from some other source or not? And if I do tell him, what do I say? Do we discuss his feelings?
That was part of my internal debate when I heard about Arabs (and perhaps non-Arab supporters) uprooting thousands of trees planted by children from the B'nei Akiva youth movement in honor of Tu B'Shevat. My son, you see, had been part of that nationwide B'nei Akiva tree-planting campaign.

I realized that the trees that were targeted by the anti-Semitic vandals were not those my son had planted, for they were in a different part of the country, but they may as well have been. The Arabs who uprooted trees planted by Jews in the Hevron Hills would just as easily have uprooted trees planted by Jews in the Sharon Plain or in the Galilee, if they had the opportunity.

To the Arabs, those trees represent Jewish sovereignty, Jewish attachment to the land and Jewish continuity - especially when the tree saplings are themselves placed in the earth by young Jewish "saplings" growing free in the Land of Israel.

And you know what? They're right. That is exactly what they represent.

In my son's school and in B'nei Akiva, the kids learn about the origin of Tu B'Shevat in Jewish agricultural practices and Jewish law from the period of the First and Second Temples. Aside from the technical legal aspects gleaned studying the Mishnaic and Talmudic sources, there is a more subtly derived lesson: if Jews were discussing agricultural religious laws some 2,000 years ago, then that means that Jews were (and are) integral to this land.

A child educated in our ancient Jewish sources doesn't ask "why would they do that" when he hears about Arabs ripping up trees planted in the Hevron Hills; rather, he asks, "How dare they do that?"
A child educated in our ancient Jewish sources isn't fooled by imaginary "green lines" of relatively recent vintage.

So, I decided to let my son read the news reports on the incident. I believe that he already understands the situation much better than our current government ministers.

(But how do I explain to him that Jewish leaders are calmly planning - with Arab and American chieftains - the uprooting not of trees, but of thousands of our people from over that imaginary line?)

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