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Why there is a New Terror Wave in Israel

Ramadan, Ukraine and the Biden Administration have changed things for Israeli terror victims.

5.4.22, 11:53 | Yishai Fleisher | 57 reads
This article orginally appeared in Newsweek on 4/4/22. To read and comment click here.
 
On a chat group of friends, a female pal wrote: "I was on the train to Tel Aviv yesterday, sitting by myself, in a window seat. 2 Arabs (who obviously knew each other) sat next to me. One was scrolling up and down Facebook, and then he started watching a video on his feed—a man...doing like a sermon, shouting in Arabic, with his fist raised up.... I got up, and walked to a different seat."
 
This message may strike American readers as an overreaction. But just an hour after my friend wrote it, a Palestinian Arab boarded an Israeli bus at the entrance of her community in Judea, located 20 minutes south of Jerusalem, took out a sharpened screwdriver and stabbed a Jewish man. The victim suffered multiple wounds, had to undergo surgery and is now, thank God, in stable condition. Another passenger, who was armed, shot the terrorist dead. The whole scene terrified the other passengers, five of whom had to be treated for shock.
 
Such is the atmosphere in Israel, where three terror attacks—one by a Palestinian Arab, two by Israeli Arabs—have taken the lives of 11 people in the last two weeks. Not all the dead were Jews. One was a Christian Arab police officer, another was a Druze border officer and two were Ukrainian nationals. One victim in the latest attack was Rabbi Avishai Yechezkel, of the majority Ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, who was out for a leisurely walk with his toddler in a stroller. When he saw the terrorist coming, he crouched over the carriage to protect his son. The father was shot dead, but the child was physically unharmed—yet will grow up without his heroic father, alongside the unborn sibling his mother is expecting a month from now.
 
Celebrations followed in Palestinian Authority (PA)-controlled cities, while Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad issued congratulations for the "heroic operation." If terror was the goal, it certainly was achieved. I heard people interviewed on the radio after the first of the recent attacks say they were scared to go back to work and did not feel secure.
 
So many absurd things have been said about this terror wave. Some have called the attacks "lone wolf" acts because the murderers did not receive direct orders from anyone, but went out on their own.
 
Yet, watching Palestinian Authority TV for five minutes makes it abundantly clear that the PA is actively calling on supporters to go out and attack Jews. Rock throwers are glorified, Israel is vilified and the ubiquitous yellow flag of Fatah, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), features a "Palestine" in the exact shape of Israel crisscrossed by rifles of liberation. Pro-terror celebrations and rallies with chants of "From the River to Sea, Palestine Will be Free" testify that Israel is not facing a few rabid lone wolves, but rather a fully-fledged Jihadist ideology that has substantial societal, and financial, backing.
 
Others suggest that these attacks are an act of desperation due to poverty and lack of opportunity.
 
The facts do not bear this theory out either. You can see the reality by going to a PA-controlled city and looking at the cars people drive, the houses they live in and the fancy bags they carry. Moreover, two of the three attacks in the last week were carried out by self-proclaimed members of ISIS. ISIS is not about social welfare. It's about Muslim supremacy and ethnic cleansing—and that is what the leading Palestinian faction, Hamas, is about as well.
 
Why all this terror now? Because the time is right.
 
In the Trump years, the PA-PLO-Hamas was forced into hibernation. Money stopped flowing from the U.S. to the Palestinian cause and the rhetoric shifted hard toward a strong Israel. Now, under the Biden administration, the old talk of a two-state solution, of opening a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians and of condemning "settler violence" are back. Seemingly by design, Jihadist elements are coming back to life with a little help from their friends.
 
Additionally, anti-Israel Jihadis look at the left-leaning Israeli government and know they don't have to worry about a robust response, because an effective counter-terror operation would upset delicate relations with Arab and far-left coalition partners who could bolt—and thereby bring down the government.
 
And there are other reasons things are so hot. Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims, has arrived and coincides with the Jewish month of Nissan this year, when the week-long Passover holiday is celebrated. Muslims ascending to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem—and thereby "liberating Al-Aqsa" from the Israeli "occupation"—is a phenomenon that challenges the Israeli security apparatus for the four Fridays of Ramadan yearly, and this year tensions are even higher. To add even more fuel to the fire, anti-Israel Arab social media has been abuzz with a "prophecy" that Israel will be destroyed in the year 2022, and many are working to make it happen. And on top of everything, the Ukraine conflict has brought guerrilla war into social media feeds and awakened a bloodlust among those thusly inclined.
 
Both Israeli and Palestinian Arabs have managed to gather hundreds of thousands of illegal firearms in the last few years. Israeli security officials have been warning the public about it for a decade, but until now these guns were mostly the domain of criminal violence within Arab communities. However, now these weapons are turning toward Israeli Jews and the government's tepid response can not stop them.
 
There is no appeasing Jihad. The only way to address this terror wave is with a broad police and military operation to seize illegal weapons, hunt down Jihadists and bring back the Israeli deterrence which was lost in the last conflict in May 2021, when Israeli Arabs rioted in mixed cities, engaged in widespread violence, killed at least one Jew, and burned down 10 synagogues.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has now called on all citizens with licenses to carry their guns. And we will. Israelis are known for fighting terror with the resilience and positivity that places Jewish state among the world's happiest countries. As my friend Rabbi Uri Pilichowsky tweeted: "There were tweets claiming Israelis were scared and staying home today. I grabbed my cigar, Glock, and walked through downtown Jerusalem to meet a beautiful woman for lunch (sushi). Sunny Jerusalem is as packed as always!"
 
Yishai Fleisher is the international spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron.
 
The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.
 
This article orginally appeared under the title In Israel, the Jihad Impulse is Unleashed | Opinion in Newsweek on 4/4/22. 
 
1 Comments
1

Ezra commented:

So sad and tragic to read these heartbreaking stories of unarmed innocent Jews murdered by Arab terrorists. And definitely, the Israeli government must allow Israelis to own and carry guns for their defense and the defense of their Jewish brothers and sisters. Of all the countries in the world, Israel is the only one that has a trained and disciplined civilian population that knows how and when to use a weapon defensively.

11.06.2022 02:22