The title of democracy is not reached only by means of elections every four years. Much more is needed. Ostentatious declarations that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East can become a hollow affirmation of content if reality shows that important angles of institutional life suffer serious transgressions.
The rewinding of two events that have taken place over the last few years may offer a very suitable framework for facing the true process that Israeli society is experiencing in the hands of its current leadership.
In the first, a terrorist who travels on a bus unexpectedly uncovers a firearm with which he fires at gunpoint over the passengers, killing four and injuring nine others. Public circumstantially close to the site of the event climbs the vehicle and leaps over the trigger. Outcome: the terrorist dies in the skirmish.
The terrorist was buried and, by chance, the house of his family remained standing. With quick action, the police and secret services identified and judicially blamed those who lynched the terrorist. After a prolonged trial, 6 participants in the act were sentenced to prison for periods of up to 2 years. In the absence of convincing evidence to cause the terrorist’s death, the defendants were convicted only for attempted homicide and police assault.
In the second event, two terrorists armed with knives attacked two guards stationed on a roadblock. The quick action of one of them managed to neutralize the attack with the result of a dead terrorist and the other seriously injured, lying on the road. After about 10 minutes a military patrol was present, from which a soldier, on his own initiative, shot the wounded with a shot to the head. The soldier was brought to trial and finally, faced with a clear filming of events, guilty and sentenced for homicide. The decision of the penalty is expected.
So far two events with many similarities. Terrorist attacks in which the independent attitude of one or some of those who are situationally on the site leads them to do justice by their own hands. In both cases, the trials of the defendants ended with Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel. So far, the coincidences. Let’s look at the disparities.
In the first, Israeli Jewish soldier Eden Natan Zada opened fire on innocent Arab passengers on a bus in the Arab town of Shfar’am in northern Israel in August 2005. All the dead and injured were Arab citizens of Israel. Also, the 6 accused for lynching to Natan Zada were young Israeli Arabs. During his trial, a prosecutor representing the Israeli Justice Ministry refused to brand Natan Zada as a terrorist “so as not to contaminate the image of the deceased and assign him a humiliating nickname.”
In the second, Israeli soldier Elhor Azaria fired at his side without authorisation from his superiors on the head of the Palestinian terrorist who had previously been wounded, neutralised and lying motionless in the street. Yesterday, a military court unanimously ruled Azaria guilty of homicide and awaited a decision on her sentence for the next few weeks.
Jews use Nazi symbols against Israeli justice
Apart from comparing the actions of the judicial bodies in both events, it is much more important to confront the replicas and behaviours of significant sectors of society, the political strata, and above all, the attitude of Netanyahu as Prime Minister at sentences times.
The court’s ruling on the lynching of Natan Zada led to reduced expressions of Israeli Arab public support for those sentenced, above all by insistence on their innocence by arguing political persecution. The rest of society, parties, political personalities, including Netanyahu himself, took a vow of silence.
On the contrary, the irritation before the severe sentence of Natan Zada acted like trigger that liberated aberrant and undemocratic instincts that every day are rooted more and more in important parts of the Jewish component of the Israeli society. Hordes of outspoken Jewish extremists demonstrated violently in front of the court with songs that would have to shudder to the foundations of any normal society. For much of Israeli Jews this phenomenon has already become an annoying though admissible popular folklore.
The Israeli society continues its normal life after listening passively horrific death threats to Gadi Aizenkot, Chief of the General Staff of the Army. “Gadi, be careful, Rabin is looking for company,” shouted the mob, and everything went on. Not only that. Social networks were charged with thousands of insults, grievances and threats to the judges and prosecutors who intervened with the sole result of a single detainee, yes, extreme custody to judges that their lives are in danger. What a difference with the action of the forces of order when the suspect is not Jewish!
Instigation: blow up a grenade on the Judge of Azaria
This freedom of action from the mob of outspoken extremists is not accidental and its engine makes it grow permanently. This existential danger of Israel and the Jewish people is born by the inspiration of insinuations of the highest governmental level. Nothing different can be thought from the moment that before the tremendous knock that these Jewish protesters gave to the democratic bases of the country, ministers and the own Netanyahu worry quickly, solely and exclusively of finding the most appropriate and brief way to pardon the homicide .
Threat of rebellion for the Azaria cause
Sadly, the human and democratic values that should universally be the basis of a country’s institutional behaviour in Israel must pass through the filter of Jewish exceptionalism. It all depends, after all, on the ethnicity of the terrorist and the homicide.
The majority behaviour of indulgence and tolerance in the face of these events in Israeli society is a clear example of the ingrained process of ethical and political redefinition that the current leadership is imposing on Israel and the Jewish people. Every day it becomes more difficult the coexistence of Judaism with universal democratic principles. The only democracy in the Middle East is being hastily converted into Jewish ethnocracy.
Herzlya – Israel 5/1/2017