Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Radical New Face of the Jewish Settler Movement

I have noted a few times before that many of the Jewish terrorists that have terrorized Palestinians in the Occupied Territories come from the USA. They are more radicalized than most Israeli Zionists who were born inside Israel. Many of these terrorist Jews live inside the Occupied West Bank creating newer Jewish settlements there while making the lives of ordinary Palestinians simply miserable. Though the Israeli government considers these outposts unauthorized, it provides them with electricity, running water and security. (The international community, meanwhile, considers all the exclusively Jewish settlements Israel has established in the territories it conquered in the 1967 Six Day War to be illegal.)
These settler movements are also financed by rich Jewish donors and Christian evangelical movements from the USA and Europe.


Many of the young Jewish American settlers live with the so-called hilltop youth, a loosely affiliated group of Jewish settlers in their teens and 20s who live away from their parents on the hilltops surrounding established settlements. Members of the group have perpetrated so-called “price tag” attacks, using firebombs and spray paint to damage Palestinian property.
.Their Livelihoods in Flames: Palestinian protesters stand amid blazes set by settlers to their olive groves last October near Yitzhar, a West Bank settlement known as a bastion for extremists.
[Picture: Their Livelihoods in Flames: Palestinian protesters stand amid blazes set by settlers to their olive groves last October near Yitzhar, a West Bank settlement known as a bastion for extremists.]
Many of the Jews are willing to overlook such crimes by their fellow youths. Even any interrogation by Shin Beth is unwelcome, as they say: “Jews don’t torture other Jews. Stop the inquisition.” The hilltop youth have always had power, which they wielded through violent acts, often under the cover of night. But for most Israelis, these were distant events perpetrated by extremists in the West Bank, a kind of Wild West they rarely think about or visit.


 The hilltop youth are now an established entity. Several hundred adolescents from both sides of the Green Line — including some girls — roam the West Bank hills. Some are yeshiva dropouts. Others are students of Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh of Od Yosef Chai yeshiva, in Yitzhar. Ginsburgh, a prominent scholar of Kabbalah and a member of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement, has concocted a potent ideological brew for this new generation of Jewish radicals, spouting mystical admonitions to live in nature and Kabbalah-based rationales for Jewish racial superiority and violence against Arabs.
Meanwhile, two other prominent rabbis at Od Yosef Chai have given the hilltop youths’ penchant for attacking Arabs even stronger religious legitimacy. In their 2010 book, “The King’s Torah (Torat Hamelech), Part One: Laws of Life and Death Between Israel and the Nations,” Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur declared, “The prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’” applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew.” Non-Jews, they wrote, are “uncompassionate by nature” and assaults on them “curb their evil inclination,” while infants and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed, since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.”


Up until 2013, Od Yosef Chai yeshiva received government funding and support. It has also received money from American donors.
For years, hill-top youth members have been committing vigilante acts against Palestinians, torching olive groves and defacing mosques. But until recently, Israeli leaders in the mainstream have been reluctant to label them terrorists — a term usually reserved for Arabs. Israeli courts have also done little to punish this kind of behavior. In 2013, Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, defined price tag activity as “illegal organizing.” And according to a report by the Israeli rights group Yesh Din, just 7.4% of complaints filed by Palestinians from 2005 to 2014 have ended in indictments against Israeli civilians.
Terrorist Victims: A relative stands inside the burnt-out home of Saad Dawabsha, who was killed alongside his infant and wife when Jewish extremists firebombed their house in the West Bank village of Duma last July.
[Picture: Terrorist Victims: A relative stands inside the burnt-out home of Saad Dawabsha, who was killed alongside his infant and wife when Jewish extremists firebombed their house in the West Bank village of Duma last July.]
Now, the arson attack in the Palestinian village of Duma last July, which killed an 18-month-old infant and his parents, appears to show that the hilltop youth are capable of not only destruction, but murder, too.
It also turns out that several of those detained as part of the Duma investigation have U.S. citizenship. That may reflect the disproportionate presence of Americans among settlers overall. According to Sara Yael Hirschhorn, an Oxford University scholar, some 15% of all settlers are Americans, compared with 2% to 3% of all Israeli citizens. The prominence of Americans among those detained echoes the historic leadership roles Americans have played in Israel’s contemporary right-wing radicalism, from Kahane, a native New Yorker, to Ginsburgh, who was born in St. Louis and spent much of his youth in Philadelphia, and Baruch Goldstein, the Brooklyn born-and-raised physician who in 1994 murdered 29 Muslims at prayer at the Cave of the Patriarchs, a site in Hebron holy to Muslims and Jews.
Eliezer Shekhtman who moved to Israel from Chicago believes that Jewish civilian violence, which he calls 'values', against the Palestinian civilians has a place in the greater political scheme.
During Hanukkah, Shekhtman was a guest at a Jewish wedding at which a group of young men danced while waving guns in the air. One thrust a knife through a photograph of Ali Saad Dawabsheh, the infant killed in the Duma fire. Video footage of the wedding was leaked to the press, causing mainstream Israelis to recoil at the radicalism in their midst. Shekhtman said he did not see the man stabbing the photo. But the idea did not scandalize him.
“It doesn’t bother me. I don’t know if the father threw stones or if he didn’t, or if the baby would have thrown stones or wouldn’t have if he lived till the age of 15 or 20. Come on, it’s a picture.”The indigenous Palestinians see themselves abandoned by the powerful nations of the UN and thus, in sheer hopelessness are now resorting to nihilistic activities trying to harm Israeli Jews and getting killed every day by the trigger happy Israelis- civilians and security forces alike.
Naomi Zeveloff  has written an article in the Forward on this subject, which is worth reading and can be accessed by clicking here.

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