Save Lives First, Worry About Civil Liberties Later
The indisputable prime responsibility of any government is to protect the life and limb of its citizens. This overrides all other considerations, including civic rights and freedom of association and expression.
The world is currently facing the most severe global threat to Western civilization since World War II when, despite enormous human cost, the free world ultimately united and defeated Nazism.
Alas, from everything we’ve seen until now, the West has shown itself to be incapable of confronting the new barbarians, the Islamic fundamentalists, who have succeeded in exporting terror and creating mayhem in the leading cities throughout the world, most recently with the Paris massacre.
At the same time, a huge flow of preponderantly Muslim “refugees” has migrated to the European continent and could ultimately bring about the demographic dominance of Islam over much of the region.
It can be observed that wherever there is a Muslim majority, multiculturalism cannot exist. Indeed, there is every likelihood under such circumstances that Shariah law would replace democracy and bring an end to Western civilization in Europe.
Since its inception, Israel has been at the forefront of the battle of maintaining multiculturalism. Yet it is today the only state in the world whose right to exist is challenged by Islamic neighbors committed to the elimination of Jewish sovereignty in the region.
Israel’s conflict with its neighbors and the ongoing terrorism that it suffers are mistakenly portrayed as a territorial conflict. But the reality is that Islamic fanaticism and hatred of the Jews represent the primary source of the violence which has been intensified by the dramatic explosion of populist anti-Semitism in Europe and the fact that the political Left perceives Israel as a colonial occupier.
As a consequence, when calls are made to unite to combat global Islamic terrorism, as in the aftermath of the Paris massacres, Israel, which is on the front lines of the battle, is simply ignored.
Under such circumstances and in the light of the current intensive new round of murders in Israel by crazed religious fanatics who stab, shoot and run down pedestrians, the Israeli government must now consider introducing what would previously have been considereddraconian legislation to maximize security for its citizens.
No country at war with hostile neighbors would even contemplate tolerating groups within its actual borders that incite hatred against the nation and encourage terrorism. In any other, comparable situation, this would amount to treason. Yet the frenzied Islamic religious incitement against Jews and Israel not only emanates from Hamas and the PA but from Israeli Arab politicians and local imams, who are increasingly contributing to the escalation of the current climate and the intensity of the latest violence.
Such terrorist initiatives cannot destroy the state but they impact on the quality of life of Israeli citizens by exacerbating tension and fear.
It is thus high time for the government to employ more drastic measures to curtail incitement. The recent decision to ban the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel was long overdue. Its leader, Raed Salah, has close ties with Hamas and calls for the replacement of the Jewish state with an Islamic caliphate. He has been at the forefront of the campaign within Israel to generate religious hysteria and violence under the banner of “Al Aqsa is in danger,” falsely claiming that Jews intend to destroy the mosque. Salah will serve a new prison sentence for inciting his followers to violence.
Despite the inevitable wails from civil libertarians that Israel is becoming a “fascist” state, the government must now take drastic action and draft legislation to deal with Arab-Israeli parliamentarians who undermine the state and use the Knesset as a platform from which to engage in treasonable activities and supporting those seeking Israel’s destruction. This is highlighted by the fact that as many as 17% of Israeli Arabs are fully fledged supporters of ISIS.
The government must also toughen its response to terrorists and our law enforcers and the military should be instructed to shoot to kill any terrorists engaged in efforts to murder civilians.
Despite claims that destroying the homes of the families of terrorists is inhumane and amounts to collective punishment, this process should be intensified and, unless there are extenuating circumstances, families of terrorists should be aware that their citizenship and social benefits may be revoked and they could face deportation.
The bodies of terrorists and suicide bombers should not be returned to their families where they will be sanctified as martyrs.
Murderers who have been captured alive should not be sent to prisons that treat them with kid gloves. They should be denied conjugal and family visits or at least have these severely limited. In most cases, released murderers resume their terrorist activities and they should not be rewarded for their crimes by being provided with a state-funded education in the prisons.
The government is obliged to act harshly and intervene militarily in Arab-Israeli communities engaged in subversive activities. Administrative arrests of suspected terrorists or their collaborators should be widely sanctioned.
Above all, mosques with extremist imams incubating potential terrorists should be closed and those imams inciting hatred should be arrested and, if necessary, deported.
Hopefully, the Supreme Court will take into account these critical circumstances where the lives of innocent civilians are at stake, and adopt a less intrusive approach to legislation related to security issues, recognizing that for the time being, the need for public security must override possible infringements of civil liberties.
However, such a tough regime must be accompanied by major efforts to enhance the status of law-abiding and loyal Arab-Israeli citizens and provide them with every possible means of integrating and strengthening their status in the country.
Obviously, there is concern that such laws may enable occasional abuse. But any government behaving irresponsibly or crossing red lines would soon face a very hostile Israeli electorate.
These proposals will be considered politically incorrect and condemned by many civil libertarians and liberals as extreme and “fascist.” Yet even if all these recommendations were implemented, Israel would still remain one of the most democratic countries in the world and infinitely more enlightened and free than any Islamic country in the region.
What is involved is not merely protecting the quality of life in the nation. It is also based on the premise that we are confronting barbaric Islamic fundamentalists who will only be deterred by our determination to do whatever is necessary and employ all our resources to bring an end to the terror.
The campaign must go beyond Israel’s borders. Those in the PA, beyond Israel’s jurisdiction, must be made aware that incitement will not be tolerated. Hamas leaders who are publicly calling for and orchestrating more Jewish murders must once again be made the object of targeted assassinations.
The Weimar Republic, which preceded the Nazi Anschluss, was considered the most democratic government in the world. The lesson it bequeathed was that a democracy that fails to respond forcefully to antidemocratic or totalitarian elements within its ranks will be destroyed.
The overwhelming majority of Israelis are fully committed to a Jewish democratic state but are beginning to appreciate that we are obliged to respond brutally to the barbarians indiscriminately attacking innocent civilians in our streets. And if the price for saving Israeli lives is that bleeding-heart liberals or delusional Israeli leftists writing for Haaretz screech “fascism,” so be it. The vast majority of Israelis are far more concerned with preventing Jewish bloodshed than maintaining postures.
It is certain that the US, UK, or French government would act far more stringently if they faced Islamists within their ranks publicly calling for innocent civilians to be butchered.
It is high time to respond with common sense and not be influenced by those who either seek our destruction or feel that sacrificing innocent Jewish lives is justified in order to retain the support of bleeding-heart liberals. Even if the life of only a single innocent Israeli is saved, the price of encroaching on civil liberties will be justified.
Isi Leibler may be contacted at [email protected]
This article was originally published by Israel Hayom and The Jerusalem Post.