Hate Crimes In Israel

Although one may argue that hate crimes against Palestinians is nothing new, but recent hate crimes in Israel against Palestinians and its own minority has taken a more menace turn. Mr. Netanyahu is doing for Israel what General Zia did for Pakistan. With Mr. Netanyahu’ blessings the ultra orthodox are gaining strength and moderates are dwindling. This trend is also affecting the political discourse in USA where Mr. Netanyahu is openly leading the Republican party in opposition of Iranian nuclear deal. The article below in NYT describes the disheartening response from liberals in Israel against recent hate crimes. ( F. Sheikh)

TEL AVIV — “This isn’t everyone,” my son said Saturday as we stood on the steps of the Tel Aviv City Hall, in Rabin Square. “There are more people coming, right?”

It was already 9 p.m., an hour and a half past the official opening of the anti-violence, anti-incitement demonstration. He’s not even 10 yet, but he’s already seen that square full of people demonstrating for less important causes and he’s sure that, as in every good Western, the cavalry is on the way, that tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of citizens horrified by the terrible events that occurred in Israel this week will be thronging the square. How is it possible that fewer people would come to demonstrate against the murder of children and innocent people than to demonstrate against the high cost of housing or the halt to building in the settlements?

The next day, Sunday, the newspapers reported that there were “thousands of demonstrators,” the word “thousands” designed only to conceal the empty spaces in the square. Skilled photo editors produced pictures for the front pages that made the relatively small crowd appear huge. That sad effort to enlarge the size of the demonstration was not a result of hidden political motives, but of a collective sense of shame.

Because the embarrassing truth is that a demonstration against two hate crimes — the firebombing on Friday of a home in a Palestinian village, which killed an 18-month-old boy, and the stabbing of six marchers on Saturday in Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade, including a 16-year-old girl who later died of her injuries — did not get many people out of their homes, definitely not in this especially hot, humid August. And that truth is not a pleasant one for anybody.

I’m old enough to remember Rabin Square, when it was still called the Kings of Israel Square, full of demonstrators on many occasions. I remember, as a teenager, hundreds of thousands of people railing against the Lebanon War after the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982 and a crowd so full of hope at the demonstration for the peace agreement, after which Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in 1995. I remember it full of men in their knitted skullcaps demonstrating against the disengagement, and the eager young people singing at the demonstration for social justice. But today it’s half-empty. Where are all the people who filled it then?