I had not even left the parking lot of Ben Gurion Airport Thursday when I learned there had just been another terrorist attack that morning. The fourth in a week.
This one took place near my home, on a bus that my kids use often. A Palestinian Arab terrorist boarded, carrying a screwdriver, and stabbed a 28-year-old man before being "neutralized" by another passenger with a gun.
It's understandable that you might not be aware of this specific attack, or what's being called the recent "wave" of terror attacks in Israel. It's not Ukraine, and Arabs killing Israelis is rarely news unless Israel responds, and the media can make a "cycle of violence" inference, finding a way to blame Israel for the hate-inspired Arab violence. In just a week there have been four terrorist attacks, leaving 11 dead.
While some foreign media have mentioned it in passing, most have not. That two of the terror attacks were conducted by Israeli Arabs, and that four of the victims were not Jews, is not insignificant. Two were Ukrainians, and two were Israeli Arabs, both of whom worked in Israel's security forces.
Whether the "wave" grows to a "flood," or a "tsunami" is anyone's guess. Pundits are looking at the risks, as Israelis are limiting going out in public to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There's no second amendment in Israel, but because of most Israelis doing military service, and the daily threats like we are experiencing (including many others unreported because there are no injuries), many Israelis do carry weapons openly. The prime minister has called upon those with a license to carry to do so, as in each of the four recent terror attacks, it was armed Israelis who neutralized the terrorists.
Arabs killing Jews is not news. It's even acceptable to many in the media as a twisted variation on "boys will be boys." It's not newsworthy because that's what Arabs do. Other than the fact that four of the victims were not Jewish Israelis, why these attacks are taking place now and their implications are important to understand.
That two of the attacks were carried out by Arab citizens of Israel is alarming. It brings back memories of near pogroms conducted by Arab Israelis on Jewish Israelis in several mixed cities last May. Estimates are 500,000 illegal weapons in the hands of Arab Israelis alone.
That's one for every four Arab citizens. Alarming. A close Arab Israeli friend, concerned by the trend of increased violence within the Arab community, notes that most Israelis will only pay attention when, like now, the Arab-on-Arab violence spills over to impact Israeli Jews.
There's been a need to do something to fix this situation for some time with the murder rate among Israeli Arabs skyrocketing. Perhaps this will be the catalyst. It's one of the reasons Arab Israelis voted for Ra'am, the first Arab political party to enter a governing coalition, to look out for their interests, with the awareness that hate, incitement and armed terrorists are bad for all Israel.
Why is all this happening now?
The first of these attacks happened while the historic Negev Summit took place where Israel hosted the foreign ministers of Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and the UAE for an unprecedented gathering. It's intuitive that one catalyst for these attacks is that the Arab Islamist rejectionists see Arabs and Israelis getting along as bad for business. Their only language is hate; and they respond to expanding peace with violence. Naturally.
In the Palestinian Authority, PA, they see themselves being left out of the dialogue, and therefore want to assert themselves the only way they know how: terrorism. Violence is their currency. There's no large or vocal peace camp within the PA. In fact, to be too pro-peace or, God forbid, pro-normalization of relations between Israel with Palestinian Arabs, can be life-threatening in a culture that incites and celebrates violence, even providing stipends to terrorists and their families.
But the truth is that the Palestinian Arabs are being left out. It's not because they're not welcome at the table. It's because they have no desire or ability to be at the table. While Israel's defense minister called upon PA President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the terrorism, it's not like it really matters. Even if he cared, Abbas cannot condemn terrorism because that would pit him against the masses of Palestinian Arabs and competing terror groups who would either pounce on Abbas as being irrelevant, or seek to oust him, something that would likely involve his no longer being alive. That one of the terrorists came from the "armed-wing" of Abbas' own terror group, Fatah, is not a coincidence. Political parties with "armed wings?" Yes, you read that right.
Given the hate that's been allowed to foment in Palestinian Arab society, that terrorists and terrorism are literally celebrated, branding all victims with the dehumanizing term "settler," it's understandable why Abbas doesn't condemn these. It's cowardly, immoral and wrong, but understandable. That is, of course, if he even thinks it's wrong.
Also, Ramadan has begun, the Islamic holy month. It's nothing new, but Ramadan brings with it significant increases in violence and terror. Israelis know it intuitively, but there are statistics to back it up. The rest of the world finds Ramadan violence acceptable, or just doesn't care.
It's the worst form of racism, by not holding them to a standard that's normative in the West and, rather, letting them behave the way they do with no consequences, and not expecting better.
It is twisted that adherents of any faith would celebrate their holy season, much less a whole month, by killing others. And it's only slightly less twisted that others would see this and not call it out. If the wave of terror currently plaguing Israel grows to a flood or a tsunami, these are the reasons why. To defeat it involves more than neutralizing one Arab terrorist at a time, but combatting a hate-filled ideology that is nurtured in our backyard, and disregarded from abroad.
Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He is president of the Genesis 123 Foundation, which builds bridges between Jews and Christians, and writes regularly for a variety of prominent Christian and conservative websites. Inspiration from Zion is the popular webinar series and podcast that he hosts. He can be reached at InspirationfromZion@gmail.com.
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