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March 10, 2016 7:40 am

Insecurity Is Not Inevitable

avatar by Judith Bergman

Email a copy of "Insecurity Is Not Inevitable" to a friend
American stabbing victim Taylor Force. Photo: Facebook.

American stabbing victim Taylor Force. Photo: Facebook.

The primary responsibility of every government is to provide security for its citizens so they can go about their daily business without fear of death or injury. When this security is fundamentally lacking, we are no longer talking about a society going about its normal business, but about a state of anomaly, whether the society and its government explicitly recognizes this or not. This means that the basic, most fundamental pact between the government and its citizens lies in tatters.

Israel is living in a state of anomaly. Those who will say that it has always been so — that the current state of unceasing terror in which more than 30 people have been killed and almost 400 injured in terror attacks since September is no different — are dangerously missing the point. Those who come up with a world of excuses as to why the situation cannot be remedied and daily security on the streets reinstated are even more off target. The only question that matters from the point of view of Israelis who are performing their civic duties — serving in the army or sending their children to do so, paying their taxes, being law-abiding citizens — is why the other half of this societal contract, their right to physical security, is not being upheld. One has a fundamental right to go about one’s daily life without fear of being shot, stabbed, rammed by a car or hit with a rock.

The answer to this question can never be that the international community may not like the measures needed for the government to provide such security. Physical security is every human’s primary right. Nothing can stand above it. Besides, the international community, or what passes for an “international community” these days, has already proved beyond all doubt that it cares nothing for Israeli lives. The European Union keeps pumping millions of euros into the Palestinian Authority, despite the fact that the PA is an authoritarian and undemocratic regime that ceaselessly indoctrinates its own citizens to murder Israelis and ruthlessly abuses and brainwashes its own children in the process.

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The international community does not care about Israeli lives, but it cares tremendously about Israeli houses. It spends endless hours debating “settlements” and the soil on which these “settlements” rest. It is Jewish houses, sheds and vegetables, not knives and guns and the Arab terrorists who wield them, that the civilized Western nations have a problem with. How many more decades do we need to learn that crucial lesson?

At least one person was killed and more than a dozen were wounded in a series of terrorist attacks across Israel on Tuesday. The next morning, two terrorist attacks occurred in Jerusalem, with one Israeli critically injured. What is there left to debate? There have been dozens of stabbings, shootings and vehicular attacks to date. This is not normal. This is not something we should accept. This is sheer insanity.

And yet Israeli society goes on every day, almost as if nothing abnormal is happening. Because we have to, because we are tough, and “life must go on.”

But there is a tremendous fallacy in this. It endows the status quo with a dangerous legitimacy, as if we have all collectively told ourselves that such is our fate and that there is no other way. Why? Because the world might not like it if our government used harsher measures that would effectively root out the terror from our streets? The economy might — or might not — suffer if we were to care less what our trade partners think of our security policies. Personally, I would much rather suffer with a bad economy than with an anomalous and horrific security situation.

Perhaps millennia of exile and political anomaly — living without our own state or the possibility for self-determination and consequently being subjected to the whims and mercy of foreign rulers — has settled in the Israeli genome, leading even the most patriotic Israelis to unwittingly and subconsciously believe that this kind of security situation, unlike that of any other civilized nation on earth, is just the “Jewish normal.” It is not, and if we wish to be a full-fledged state, respected by other states in the world, it can never be the “Jewish normal.” Strength is the only thing that garners respect. And strength means upholding one’s most basic and fundamental rights.

Every Israeli has a fundamental and inherent right to physical security, but we seem to have forgotten this and dangerously accepted that this is how it is, that we always have to watch our backs, our children, our supermarkets and our doorways for Arabs with knives and guns. We must understand that it does not have to be this way. Such a disastrous and anomalous situation is not inevitable. It is one that we have chosen and continue to choose, every single day, for as long as we allow ourselves to be stabbed, shot, rammed by cars, and showered with rocks while we go about our business as if it were normal.

Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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  • Bev Moore Lukasevics

    Excellent article Judith! Well written and concise. And I agree with your article and the title, “Insecurity is NOT Inevitable.” As I have not yet been to Israel, and am only really learning now from new friends just how insecure life can be there, I do not want to make stupid or embarrassing comments. Let it suffice to say that I agree….perhaps it is time for the citizens to speak up that accepting life like that is no longer agreeable. My prayers go up for Israel every day that God will protect his country. My prayers are also for my own country and that our next president will once again be a friend and ally to Israel.

  • px fragonard

    “We” have chosen to live this way? No. The enemy has decided we have to live this way. The enemy plays “destroy Israel” 24/7 on its broadcasts, in its mosques. Give your head a shake. “We” have agreed to every proposal to share the land. They have said no. Then tried to destroy us, again and again.

    Wars taken in self-defense are legal to occupy, moral to occupy, and are necessity to occupy for the defending power and for world peace at large? Why? Because there is only one disincentive to war: you can lose.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Spero

    I agree with this article.

    Rabbi Aryeh Spero

  • stevenl

    The Gvt is not doing enough.
    All over Europe there are increased numbers of police forces and even army troops.
    IL must expel the family of every individual who participates in terrorism or who is caught even before acting or in possession of lethal weapons or any individual involved in political incitement. It is a state of chronic terrorism that must end regardless of what the Int community think. This same Int. community has been complicit of the Muslim terrorism since 1948.
    What does the IL Gvt not understand.

  • The incitement that motivates Arabs to murder Jews and tourists comes from the PLO terrorist entity. The path toward normality involves replacing the PLO terrorist entity with Israeli governance.

  • Dave

    And what exactly do you propose be done, beyond the deployment of extra police to respond to attacks? You article is nothing but empty hot air. Listen rather to someone like Benny Gantz, ex-COS of the IDF, who speaks of the importance of Israel in general and the IDF in particular maintaining its ethical values.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    This article is unsettling, for the topic is anomalous for the human condition. Our government here in Israel has to find a way, a creative way, to protect its citizenry in addition to those who wish to tour our nation. It is incumbent upon our leaders who have been elected to protect our human rights to stop the terrorism now with a thump as it is so capable of doing if it values the lives of the innocents who cannot protect themselves against unanticipated mayhem in their quotidian existence.

  • Paul

    It took leaders like Rabin and Sharon (finally) to realize that our conflict with the Palestinians cannot be solved by force.Our military people and intelligence people state this over and over.
    The more harshly we try treat them, the more we strengthen their will to resist. We have been strengthening their resolve for almost fifty years of occupation. If the West Bank belongs to the Jews, include it in Israel ! If not – get Israeli settlers out of there !!
    So far, Israel has sat on the fence, opting for NO decision, since making the west bank part of Israel would turn us instantly into an arab-majority state.
    Arik Sharon put it very well: he said, you cannot hold another people at the end of your rifles forever. Time is working against us. We are strengthening our enemies.

    The only victory Israel can achieve is, to end the war and make peace.

  • s. robinson

    As a senior citizen, having made aliyah just a few years ago, I read with awe and trepidation Judith Bergman’s article. It so very directly, sensibly and tragically historically, tells it as it is. I mourn the killing of Taylor Force. I feel I have lost one of my own: family, friend, wholesome individual with a world of promise woefully disconnected from what could/would have been a meaningful life. And in line with Ms. Bergman’s writing, it wasn’t his fault (as if Jewish “fault” is part of our dynamic). I’m making a copy of the article which I look forward to reading to anyone who has any possible answer to Israel’s today!

    • Sonia Willats

      I fully agree that Israeli citizens should not have to accept daily drivings-over, stabbings and shootings by one group of it’s citizens (a minority who claim ownership and deny the historic right of the rest) against the other. It is a form of civil war. When I lived in Israel the ‘fashion’ at the time was bombs placed in dustbins, and in buses, apart from occasional commandeering of a bus or other such attack launched from Lebanon.

      Primary responsibility has to be placed at the door of the so-called “Peace Partner” – as the P.A. constantly rewards those who kill and maim Israelis, calling them “martyrs” and rewarding them financially.

      Behind this lies the whole focus of the White House, the EU and the International Press, who would have the world believe that this TINY NATION is the CAUSE of all of the problems in the Middle East, and that the ‘Palastinians’ hold sole historical title to this tiny sliver of land, whereas most ‘Palastinians’ originate from Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, includingn Erekat, who lies about his family origins.

      So who is to blame? The inflammatory incitement, and THOSE WHO FUND IT, like the US and EU, and the self-congratulatory liberal press.

      How do we diffuse this JUSTIFICATION OF MURDER AND HATRED? Obama and the White House seem to be core pillars of support for this ideology, but likewise the E.U. & United Nations, who were created to promote peace and propserity, but foster the opposite.

    • len

      The Devil is in the details.i dont think anyone in their right mind can disagree with Ms.Bergman’s comments however I didnt see any ideas from her on how to actually curtail these violent terrorist acts.

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