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Dear All,

Have copied and pasted the article below.

Regards,

Steve.

Financial Times today 6 August 2015
Israel signals tougher line against Jewish terror John Reed in Jerusalem
A firebomb attack on the Dawabshe family home near Nablus where their 18 month child Ali was killed on 31 July 2015 which came a day after the stabbing of six people by an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man at a gay pride march in Jerusalem, shocked Israelis, angered Arabs, and was condemned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, after persistent criticism from human rights activists and Palestinians for failing to prosecute Jewish hate crimes against Arabs, the Shin Bet has arrested three suspected extremists. Signalling a new, tougher line against “Jewish terror”, they have also begun subjecting Israeli terror suspects to the same long-term “administrative detention” orders used against Palestinians, allowing for their long-term incarceration without indictment or trial.
The criminal probe is confidential, but authorities have released a drip feed of documents that have shocked Israelis by appearing to expose a subculture of radical young men who reject state and religious authority and appear bent on sowing communal mayhem. Head of a Jewish extremist group Meir Ettinger appeared in court in Nazareth Illit , Israel, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. Israel said Tuesday it was interrogating the suspected head of a Jewish extremist group in the first arrest of an Israeli suspect following last week’s arson attack in the West Bank that killed a Palestinian toddler and wounded his brother and parents. According to the Shin Bet security agency, 23-year-old Ettinger was arrested late Monday for “involvement in an extremist Jewish organization.” He wrote on his blog last week, “The rabbis are afraid to say the word of God clearly when it comes to matters of the Land of Israel,” adding that the laws of the Israeli state were “null and void”. Mr Ettinger, a grandson of the far-right American-Israeli Rabbi Meir Kahane, has become the best-known figure in what the Shin Bet claims is an extremist cell aimed at bringing down the Israeli state. Mr Ettinger was arrested on Monday in connection with the burning of a Christian church in Israel’s northern Galilee region in June. In another blog post, he criticised the Israeli government for allowing what he called “idol worship” at churches and mosques.
The Shin Bet this week also arrested Mordechai Mayer, from the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, and Eviatar Slonim, a third suspect. Lawyers and family members of the three men have said they are not guilty of any wrongdoing. None of the men have been implicated in connection with the Duma firebombing. Israelis describe attacks like it and the arson at the church in the Galilee as “price tag” attacks because they are carried out by extremists as retribution for government moves seen as harmful to settlers’ interests. The firebombing of the Dawabshe family came three days after Israeli police, acting on a Supreme Court order, demolished two illegally built buildings in the settlement of Beit El near Ramallah, where they clashed violently with young settlers. The attackers in Duma spray-painted the words “Revenge!” and “Long live the Messiah king” on the family’s house and the killing sparked the revenge firebombing of a car in Jerusalem that injured an Israeli woman.
Israeli government officials and many commentators are describing the extremist violence as the work of a few wrongdoers on the margins of society. Shlomo Fischer, a research fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute and expert on Jewish extremism, says the recent attacks are the work of “neo-Haredi [Jewish ultra-Orthodox] activism.” “These are people who are contemptuous of the law, contemptuous of regular morality, and they are active,” Mr Fischer says. “We seem to be talking about scores of people, not thousands and not hundreds.”
Palestinians, however, are drawing a direct line between Jewish radicalism and the Netanyahu government’s continued building in settlements, which they say paved the way for the Duma attack. Palestinian leaders and human rights groups have documented thousands of Israeli attacks in recent years on Arab property and people, ranging from the uprooting of olive trees and vandalism of religious sites to shootings and stonings. Al-Haq, a Ramallah-based human rights group, said this week: “The condemnation of the arson attack by PM Netanyahu and others is disingenuous.”
Israeli elected officials have in some cases expressed support for the views of militant settlers, if not the use of violence. Naftali Bennett, head of the pro-settler Jewish Home party in Mr Netanyahu’s coalition, visited Beit El last week to express solidarity with the settlers, and described the decision to demolish two buildings as a “provocative, extreme act”. Moti Yogev, an MP with Mr Bennett’s party, said after the demolition that a bulldozer should be used on Israel’s Supreme Court, which is a target of scorn among far-right Israelis because of its perceived liberal bias. Violent attacks aside, Jewish extremists have been pushing the boundaries of democratic discourse in Israel with inflammatory remarks critics say amount to incitement. On Wednesday Benzi Gopstein, head of the far-right, anti-Arab group Lehava, made national headlines in Israel when he said at a panel discussion at a religious seminary in Jerusalem that he supported burning Christian churches as “idolatry”. When his remarks caused a furore, Mr Gopstein said they were not a call to action, but made in regard to theoretical Jewish law.

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4 thoughts on “

  1. Hi Steve

    Thanks for your piece, most of which I believe I read in the Guardian?

    I totally abhor the horrendous violence, One of the issues about all the ISIS publicity is the side-lining of other issues in the area.

    I just wanted to point out that there was a gay pride march in Israel. Many readers may be surprised at that. I think that shows that there are Israelis who are prepared to stand up to the government and risk attack – as sadly happened this year, with a fatality. This attack had happened before, so why was the perpetrator released just a few days before the march…?

    Please can you make sure your readers are aware of Israeli protestors against what their government does? You may not encounter this, but I do: people start saying: “the Israelis do this…” then it becomes: “the Jews do this….”. There are many protest groups, I’m sure you know that?

    Perhaps it’s also worth checking out the Palestinian view of homosexuality, and how gay people fare there, in particular the Hamas attitude?

    It was nice to meet you at the Ancora theatre with your Mum! I sat there thinking – I know that guy…

    • Dear Barbara,

      Have read what you wrote on 6 August. I’m in the process of writing a further post, once I’ve done so I’ll respond to it.

      Regards,

      Steve.

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