by Dr. Aryeh Bachrach
Arab MKs' identification with murderers adds fuel to the fire that has sparked the recent terrorist attacks by Israeli Arabs
Imagine that members of the French Parliament were to meet with the families of the murderers who carried out the terrorist attacks at the kosher supermarket and the Jewish school. Now imagine what we are experiencing, the bereaved families and those wounded in terrorist attacks, when Arab Knesset members here in Israel have the audacity to meet with the families of those who killed our loved ones.
The MKs will claim that they met with the murderers' parents out of the need to find a solution to a humanitarian problem, but none of those same Arab MKs bothered to make any sort of humanitarian gesture and come and condole the families of the murdered. A reminder: Jews have gone to offer their condolences to the families of Palestinians who were killed in two revenge terrorist attacks, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the victims of the Duma arson attack in the hospital.
Why should we search for examples? When news spread of the revenge attack in the village of Duma, the head of Almagor and I published a message in the media condemning it. I didn't hear any similar declaration from Arab MKs when my son, Ohad, and his friend Uri Shahor were murdered while hiking in Wadi Kelt [in July 1995]. The opposite. Ever since, I've heard Arab MKs talk about why the murder of Israelis is understandable, even justified: "What were they doing there, anyway?"
As someone who has followed the fight against terrorism ever since my son was murdered, I cannot accept the theory that the Arab MKs who met with the families of terrorists do not reflect the opinion of the majority of their constituents. If only that were true.
But we are talking about elected officials sent to the Knesset time and again by the Arabs of Israel. Some of them have changed sides to lend moral and practical support to the Palestinian Authority. Consistently, at every watershed moment in dealing with Palestinian terrorism they line up with the enemy, in Knesset debates and in committee meetings. Discussions of more stringent punishments for terrorists nearly always encounter opposition by Arab MKs, including the moderate ones.
Arab MKs concern themselves not only with the dead terrorists (as they explained the meeting with the murderers' families), but also go in and out of prisons to visit the murderers who are still alive and get them better conditions. An entire industry of glorifying and supporting terrorism exists "thanks" to the loose justice system.
Statements of praise for and identification with terrorism are intentionally leaked from internal meetings.
The Al-Midan Theater in Haifa is just one example from the world of "culture" that lauds struggle and terrorism against Israel. We are now seeing the result of our years-long failure to take action.
When we complained, we were told that they were just words, blowing off steam. But words kill. Words, speeches, and gestures identifying with murderers are fuel on the fire of terrorism that has created the recent terrorist attacks committed by Israeli Arabs. If we don't wake up and take action, we'll see increased terrorism by Arab Israelis, justified by the claim that "there are words, and there are actions."
It's very important that the heads of all the Zionist parties have woken up and issued wall-to-wall condemnations. But declarations must lead to practical steps: setting legal boundaries, an iron fist against incitement on social media, harsher punishments for calls to harm Arab police officers instead of absurd plea bargains, such as Sunday's deal with MK Hanin Zoabi. MKs who incite belong on the defendant's stand in court, not behind the Knesset podium. Anyone who seeks coexistence must not accept such behavior by his partners on the other side and allow his people to remain exposed to terrorism.
Dr. Aryeh Bachrach is head of the Bereaved Parents' Forum of the Almagor nonprofit association, which assists victims of terrorism.
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