losing the zebra image

Motzei Shabbat VaYetze, 9th of Kislev, 5776 Jerusalem

Chanoch Ne’eman (c)

I asked my friend after shul Friday night. “How was your week?” “Could have been better”, he replied. Indeed it could have been. At least five more people were killed by terrorists in Israel this week. A fine Israeli I know once said we act like a herd of zebras; we know the lions are going to come and pick some of us off every once in a while, but we don’t think we can do anything about it.

However, that is not true. We are not zebras and we can do something about it.

Deterrence. We need to figure what would create deterrence, and then do that. Obviously what we are doing now is not creating deterrence. Deterrence is the price you put on your enemy’s actions, so that when he does his gain-loss calculus before deciding to attack you, he decides not to.

Obviously there are many people who, in their gain-loss calculus, are willing to either lose their lives while attacking Jews, or to sit in prison for a long time for doing so. They are prepared for that loss.

What gain do they get by attacking Jews? They get notoriety. They get respect from their peers. They get the sadist’s joy of power of destruction for a short time. All these things are obviously outweighing the loss for them, as they see it.

Occassionaly, reluctantly even it seems, Israel does a feeble effort like destroying a terrorist’s home. That indeed helps, a little perhaps. But that is not really very much, and as we see, is not enough to create deterrence.

I believe that if a terrorist’s family was deported from Israel, it would create more deterrence. Alternatively, the terrorist’s family could be jailed. And it could apply to all terrorists, Arab or Jewish.

Some say, “that is not fair – perhaps the family did not support him?”

To which I reply: that is correct. It is not fair. At least in the cases, usually a minority, where they do not support him. But, we should not do it because it is fair, we should do it because it creates deterrence.

Living in Israel is a privilege. For a Jew, and all the more so for a non-Jew, who is welcome to live here if he behaves like a good citizen.

No right or privilege exists in a vacuum. It co-exists with a lot of other people’s rights and privileges. The right of Israelis to live in their land free of terrorism outweighs the privilege of a terrorist’s family member to live here, when deporting or imprisoning that family could cause other potential terrorists to refrain from their acts.

Israeli Ambassador to America Ron Dermer, often has said in his talks, that he often asks himself in regard to various policy questions, “What would America do?”

Indeed, what would America do, if, for example, Puerto Rican citizens, across America, were repeatedly stabbing, shooting, and running over White Americans? Or Black Americans?






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