by Dr. Reuven Berko
The violent clash in the town of Abu Snan in northern Israel last week was painted as an alleged "fight between ethnic clans over honor." And as always, after most initial inquiries into hostilities between clans in our part of the world, we find that the spark was provided by a seemingly random fight between two kids or over the honor of a female relative. In retrospect, one might innocently ask: How does a quarrel between two kids sweep such smart adults into the vortex of violence?
Delving deeper into the far corners of our memories and the cavernous valleys of our collective pain in this region, we find countless unfinished stories of murder and revenge passed down through generations; the defiled but unavenged honor of a woman who has long since passed; a child who never returned home; thanklessness or incitement. If we are lucky, responsible leaders from both sides, and government representatives, arrive on the scene. They pour some water on the burning coals, compensate the victims in some way or another, and then shovel yet another layer of dirt over the roots of the historic conflict, holding it at bay and postponing the next eruption.
In the case of Abu Snan, whose original residents were of the Druze and Christian persuasion, the matter is different. Throughout the state of Israel's existence, Muslim residents, among them Bedouins and rural villagers, were warmly welcomed there and lived together in relative good neighborliness. Over the years, however, the demographic balance changed due to natural growth and relocation. Recently, in the name of democracy, the guests of the village, who currently comprise 53 percent of the residents, sought elections through which to take control as the majority. The Druze hosts, who have dwindled to 38 percent of the town (the rest are Christians), struggled to accept the change.
Despite this, long-time residents of the town claim, it would have still been possible, even amid the new situation, to come to understandings in good faith and neighborliness and appease the majority without discriminating against the entitled minority. The highly pressurized situation, however, was exacerbated by the Islamic Movement in Israel, which added "pockets of gas" to the equation.
Residents of the north say that activists of the Movement, headed by Sheikh Raed Salah, are working to radicalize the Arab population in Israel in general to thwart the rising trend of integration into Israeli society.
Indeed, the Islamic Movement, which has deep pockets (mainly filled by Qatar), is inundating Arab Israelis with messages of violence and terror from the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Islamic State school of thought. The incitement toward hatred of Israel acts as a common denominator with the leadership of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel. Inspired by global Islamism, religious hatred of Jews, Druze, Christians and other minorities in our region has become a central motif of Islamic terrorism. In this process, claims of discrimination and legitimate demands for equality have been rendered superfluous, replaced instead by extremist Islamic falsehoods around Israeli plots to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque (which Israel defended from missiles fired in its direction by Hamas, and is better cared for than synagogues and churches in the Middle East that are defiled by Islamic zealots).
This incitement mixes well with the waves of Islamic terror in the region and with the mass murder of minorities in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. In the last week alone, dozens of Druze were killed in Syria by the Nusra Front. These ethnic and religious tensions have spilled over the border and threaten the small yet courageous Druze minority in Israel, categorized by Muslims like Raed Salah and his ilk as "murtad" (apostate Muslims) and as collaborators with the Jews.
In this thicket of Islamic incitement, Jews, Druze, Christians and other minorities are threatened by agents of radical Islam at home and abroad. The inciters of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who see Druze service in the IDF as an affront, are seeking to exact a price in casualties from them for their alliance with Israel. This is not about Facebook posts by some Abu Snan residents, nor is it about a woman's honor. When the Islamic Movement and the leadership of the Follow-Up Committee sent those impressionable students to the school in Abu Snan with their "Palestinian" keffiyehs (to protest the killing of the terrorist in Kafr Kanna), another Islamist stone was brazenly thrown into the well of coexistence. To remove the stone, Salah must be put in prison and his movement needs to be outlawed. After this is done, we will be able to move on.
Dr. Reuven Berko
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.