As I was taking part in my daily reading of the Jerusalem Post the other day, I came by a very troubling article titled “Habayit Hayehudi assails National Union for ‘desecrating religious Zionism.'” For those who are unaware, the National Union is a coalition of far-right wing knesset parties. The base of this political faction mainly involves West Bank and former Gaza settlers. This extremist movement gained ground after the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. More gas was thrown on the fire when, most recently, settlers were removed from certain segments of the West Bank. As many read in the newspapers, that only resulted in attacks on IDF soldiers and Arab civilians. This movement’s up and coming stars are referred to as the “hilltop youth.”
In the article I was reading, MK Zevulun Orlev referred to the hilltop youth stating that “those who throw rocks at soldiers, and those who refuse IDF orders are not a part of religious Zionism.”
Don’t get me wrong, my views regarding Israel are typically hawkish, and I have had my fair share of hard-line stances. The issue of what Israel should do with its occupied territory is a complex one that should be dealt with in a rational manner (that goes for both the doves and hawks). Personally, in regard to what is currently going on, I do not think that it would be unreasonable if the Israeli’s elected Bibi Netanyahu and his Likud Party to run the country.
Having said that, I think everyone with a remote sense of rationality can agree that we should not be applauding the rebellious acts that are being committed by the “hilltop youth.” These extremists do not blend in with mainstream Israeli society; their settlements are like a “fortress of solitude.” My arguments for not unilaterally giving up occupied territory are usually ones that involve practicality, in which I like to make note of things such as national security. Holding onto territory can be a bargaining card IF (and that’s still a big if) peace is ever on the table. Contrary to that rational statement, the arguments for the expansion of settlements in the West Bank made by far-right settlers and their “hilltop youth” are ones that are based off of irrational, fundamentalist religious beliefs. In this sense, some of these settlers are no different than Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. Whatever your views on the settlements are, as Jews, we should not condone this kind of behavior. Jewish kids that throw rocks at IDF soldiers are no different than the Palestinian kids that threw rocks at soldiers during the Intifada. These kinds of actions only give more fire ammo to the anti-semitic scumbags around the world that cannot stand the site of Israel.
Recently, I also read another piece about the popular, controversial Israeli soccer team “Beitar Jerusalem.” The team’s fan base mostly consists of the National Union types described above. They shout racist slurs at Arab players, and, during a prayer in remembrance of the late Yitzak Rabin, fans started booing.
If there has been one positive aspect of this current war, it’s that it has finally united (hopefully for a long time) an Israel that was on the verge of shattering. That said, this division in Israel is a major problem that should not be ignored. The biased media loves making headlines that say things like “Jew On Jew Fighting” and it would make the terrorists’ job a lot easier if Israel were to implode from the inside.
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