Monday, January 4, 2016

The Cost of False Accusations

Israel is in the midst of a terror wave. We've been in other waves of terror, otherwise known as Intifadas, several times in the past. It's hard to count how many because there are rarely clear beginnings and no clear ends. This one "began" in October. I don't think I remember the excuse given for this one but I know that the results have been tragic. 

Some say it began out of revenge for something Israel did, but honestly, that's nonsense. One thing that marks this period is the level to which the security forces are going to apprehend suspects. Sadly, the greatest efforts to apprehend Arab suspects of terror attacks against Jews seems to be the man on the street...the man with the gun who acts quickly to stop a stabbing attack, a ramming attack, whatever.

There are sometimes armed civilians but often these are quick thinking Border guards and other soldiers who realize in the first instances, that before their eyes, they are watching terror happen. Sadly, though, many of Israel's security forces are engaged in a balancing act, attempting to root out something that exists, but nowhere near the level they suspect. Terrified of appearing to fulfill the baseless claims of those outside Israel (many of whom are funded by Arab groups seeking to offset bad PR that results from the incessant Arab attacks), the Israeli government is indeed hell bent on a witch hunt against right-wing Jewish groups.

So, investigations were launched immediately after an Arab child was murdered in an arson attack (his parents later died of their injuries in the same attack). The security forces hinted and the media directly accused many Jewish youth. Administrative Detention is something left over from the time the British ruled this land almost 70 years ago. It gave the British the right to arrest and hold someone without trial. Israel has used this method in the past - primarily when there is an imminent threat of an attack. Justifiable, perhaps, under those conditions...but not when used/abused for political purposes. Three young that shady area of life when a man isn't really quite a man yet, but still a boy in so many ways...were arrested, including one boy from my neighborhood. They were taken from their homes and accused ...of what, we have no idea, but they were tortured, held without given the right to see lawyers and family. Some were tortured - beaten, held until they vomited, kept from sleeping for days. 

And in the far, only one person has been indicted, at least three have been released with no charges - including the boy from my neighborhood.

Can you imagine someone coming to your home...taking your son...beating him, keeping him from you,..torturing him...and then simply releasing him...oops, guess we were wrong? Guess someone gave us bad information? Bummer?


Collectively, these boys are referred to as Hilltop youth...simply because they have chosen to live a simple life on the beautiful mountains of our land. They farm, raise animals, learn and are deeply religious young people. I have been to some of these hilltops - some are without electricity...all are filled with love. These are not violent people...these are young men and women, sometimes individuals, sometimes families, who love their land and are deeply religious. They are not violent...for God's sake, they are farmers and pioneers living in an age when the world doesn't understand such simplicity.

A friend passed this letter to me, asking that people sign it. 

  • Yasher Koach is a way of saying thank you; it means wishing you strength.

  • Eretz Yisrael is the land of Israel, eternally promised to the Jewish people.

  • Am Yisrael is the people of Israel, eternally promised Eretz Yisrael.

  • Hashem is the God of Israel, Who is above all others.

  • Shabak...well, that's the Israeli secret security agency who apparently is so busy hunting down Jewish boys, they kind of can't be bothered with Arab terrorism.

I ask you to write to the email below (send your name and where you live (city, country is enough) and ask that your  name be added to this letter. It is a note of appreciation to the parents of these boys

The cost of false accusations is being paid by at least a dozen Jewish youth...please sign this letter of support to their parents and to them.

And may the strength of the Shabak finally be turned to fighting for Israel, not against her.

1 comment:

Shlomo Goren said...

Shalom, Paula,

I don't think I have ever responded on one of your posts - mainly because I usually have nothing to add to your inspired writing, and I generally tend to agree with most of what you write.

However, in this case I feel I need to speak out regarding this post, and particularly the letter you present here.

First of all, I must wholeheartedly support your call to remember that everyone in Israel, including those accused of the Duma attack, should be considered innocent until proven guilty. I also oppose the methods that were used by the Shabak in this case, and wonder whether the justifications provided for those methods were valid. I also acknowledge that at least some of the "suspects" rounded up and probably mistreated were, in fact, innocent of any connection to the attack, and thus their treatment was unjustified and worth an inquiry.

That said, reading the letter of support you posted here, I cannot but object vehemently. While there is certainly room to provide emotional support for families whose children are accused of horrific acts, that is a far cry from actively supporting the lifestyle, opinions and acts of those children. I don't think any parent in our society would consider a child who joined the "hilltop youth" a success in upbringing - not even the parents to whom the letter is addressed. Yet the letter doesn't offer sympathy with the parents - it applauds them for the children who left their house, and at the very least have displayed anarchist and somewhat violent opinions and behavior.

Regardless of the guilt or innocence of anyone in specific acts, nobody should be offering support or approval of those unfortunate youths who have broken off from society. They need rehabilitation, not applause. And I suspect their families would be the first to agree to that.

Respectfully yours,
Shlomo Goren,
Bet Shemesh

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