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Terrorist Kach Soldier - A blow to Sanity, Peace, Israel, IDF and Zionism

08/05/2005

An AWOL IDF soldier, extremist settler-supporter and member of the outlawed Kach terror group [1] murdered four Arabs on a bus in the Israel Arab town of Shfar'am yesterday,. An angry mob boarded the bus and lynched the young man, Eden Natan-Zada, 19. who was wearing his IDF uniform at the time. The dead are bus driver Michel Bahus, 56; passenger Nader Hayak, 55; Hazar Turki, 23, and her 21-year-old sister Dina.

We Israeli Jews, and the IDF as well, must admit our shame and agony, and we must apologize for this murderous and barbaric deed, done in the name of an unspeakable ideology that masquerades as "Judaism" or "Zionism." We must also remember that the Kach supporters who attack Arabs today may attack their fellow Druze IDF soldiers tomorrow and "leftists" and "Hellenists" as they call us the day after. The "leftists" include none other than Prime Minister Sharon. The extremists have already performed a "Pulsa Di Nura" Jewish voodoo ceremony against him, such as the one that was performed before PM Yitzhak Rabin was murdered.

We must not allow ourselves "discounts." This was not the act of a solitary madman. Apparently, it was his "peaceful" protest against the disengagement. Police have detained three of his comrades who apparently knew of the attack and may have supported him. Natan-Zada deserted from the IDF because he refused to take part in the disengagement, and hid in the extremist settlement of Tapuah. His parents pleaded with the IDF to get his gun and retrieve their son, but the IDF did nothing. Was it just army "balagan" and "yehiye tov" (it will be OK) syndrome, or perhaps there are a few people in the IDF who are not exactly unsympathetic to the aims of the extremists? Can we really believe that the IDF and the police can never find the settlers who attack Palestinians, or if they find them, they can never find corroborating evidence?

However, the Israeli right cannot simply blame the IDF. Tapuah is their "turf." People in Tapuah and their friends knew where Natan-Zada was, and knew what he was planning apparently, and did nothing. It is reprehensible for those who should have acted to try to cast the blame elsewhere.

When an Arab Palestinian terrorist blows his nose the wrong way in Nablus, a dozen IDF soldiers can be outside his house in a few hours hunting him down. Yet here was this man, our own soldier, armed and dangerous, living in a settlement that we support with our own tax money, and nobody did anything - the IDF did not pursue him, his neighbors did not inform on him.

This tragedy is partly the result of the lax and forgiving attitude that the government has taken toward the lawless opponents of disengagement - and towards lawless settlers in general. Settlers who murder Palestinians are rarely punished. Settlers who break the law and incite to break the law are forgiven as "patriots." The same attitude that allowed the illegal outposts and the constant incitement to break the law, is largely responsible for the deaths of those four Israeli citizens. The government is getting a stiff neck from looking the other way.

Tapuah in Hebrew means "apple." The settlement of Tapuah is a rotten apple. It is not alone. Similar sentiments are nurtured in Izhar. We Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs, have been subsidizing these places with our own tax money, so it is our fault too, for not speaking out loudly and clearly before. We have been paying for these settlements, where zealots beat up Israeli soldiers, and inveigh against the "sinful" government, Arab Israelis and anyone else who doesn't suit their twisted world view. The fanatics who live there, many of them Americans, regularly entertain European and American audiences with their mad and racist visions of "Zionism" and drag our name, our image and our country in the mud. We, who complain about EU subsidies to Hamas, have been nurturing these hatcheries of terrorism and hate in our midst, giving them subsidies, security and IDF guards. Isn't it time we said "enough?"

The shooting incident must be seen in the context of the larger struggle that is being enacted before our eyes, a struggle that will determine the nature of Israeli society and the future of Zionism. As Gershon Baskin wrote recently in True Zionism : [2]


Zionism was not about conflict with neighbours. It was about creating a just, progressive and humane society based on "Jewish values" for Jews to live and prosper, both in spirit and in substance.


We cannot find any trace of "Jewish values" left in the actions of people like Eden Natan-Zada, or any worthwhile human values at all.

Baskin notes:


How could these people -- with their messianic vision and value system that justifies treating the "other" as less equal than Jews -- and I be part of the same nation? We have the same roots, we share a common heritage, we come from the same places, yet there has been a split; for some time they and their kind have been very different from me and my kind.


A part of Zionism, has been hijacked by fanatics. The terror in Shfar'am, iwas not the result of one man going berserk. It was the result of an entire part of the Jewish people, and of the Zionist movement, going berserk.

Opponents of the disengagement have the illusion that their movement is entirely pacific and nonviolent. A supporter sent me a series of photos that showed anti-disengagement demonstrators praying and talking to soldiers and generally trying to be lovable. That is their self-image. Unfortunately, as the murder in Shfar'am proves. an ideology based on dogmatic interpretations of religion and exclusivist claims cannot remain non-violent. We cannot imagine a non-violent Hamas, because their ideas themselves center on violence, conflict and aggression: they want to take the land from the Jews. Similarly we cannot imagine a wholly non-violent settlers movement whose nonviolent aims are to take land from another people.

There is no doubt that anti-Zionists will make the most of this event, to prove that "Zionism is Racism" and all their other hate slogans. Why shouldn't they? We can protest all we want that these racists are not what Zionism is about. We are sincere in believing that Kach people and Greater Israel advocates [3] are not representative of Zionism, but as long as we allow them to exist among us, and flourish with government support, we are not very convincing. The settlers and the supporters give anti-Zionists a full license to smear Zionism and even Judaism with the guilt of this act, by proclaiming day and night that they and only they are the "true Zionists" and that settlements [4]and Zionism are one and the same. As quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Israel Harel had this to say about settlements:


"In the Israeli ethos, the Zionist ethos, settlements are of the essence. That's why we came back," said
Harel, a newspaper columnist. Uprooting them, he said, would spell "the utmost negation of Zionism."


THe "Zionist ethos" was to buy land in Eretz Yisrael and build settlements on it, not to take the land by force. We didn't come back to murder people and steal their property. Leave that accusation to the Hamas. We certainly didn't come back to mow down people in public transportation. Zionism must not become the Jewish Hamas or the Jewish Jihad Suicide squads. If settlements like Tapuah and Gush Katif are the "essence of Zionism," then most of us "Zionists" will want to get off the Zionist train.

However, contrary to the views of people like Israel Harel, settlements in Gaza are not Zionism, and Zionism will not come to an end when a few people move out of Gaza or Tapuah. Zionism did not come to an end when [5]Hebron had to be abandoned in 1929, and it didn't come to an end when Gush Etzion [6]was lost in 1947. Zionism didn't come to an end when David Ben-Gurion [7] retreated from from Sinai and Gaza in 1956, or when Menachem Begin[8] retreated from all of Sinai in the peace agreement with the Egyptians. Zionism will come to a most tragic end if we allow it to be hijacked by extremists and turned into something it was never meant to be.

We need to stop this collective madness now, whether we are secular, or orthodox, left or right, Jewish or Arab. We must recreate a country, a society, an ideology and an army of which we can be truly proud, with no discounts.

Ami Isseroff

Notes with URLs - (for those who will view this as text only):
1. Haaretz http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MewNews/message/28521
2. Gershon Baskin, True Zionism - http://www.zionism-israel.com/true_zionism.htm
3. Ami Isseroff, Occupation and Zionism http://www.zionism-israel.com/occupation_zionism.htm
4. Los Angeles Times - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MewBkd/message/17224
5. Hebron abandoned - http://www.zionism-israel.com/Hebron_Massacre1929.htm
6. Gush Etzion abandoned and Kfar Etzion Massacre - http://www.zionism-israel.com/Gush_Etzion_Massacre.htm
7. Biography of Ben Gurion - http://www.zionism-israel.com/bio/biography_david_bengurion.htm
8. Biography of Begin - http://www.zionism-israel.com/bio/biography_begin.htm

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000367.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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