As an American of Arab descent who supports and loves Israel, I feel a special obligation to post this regarding the fires raging throughout the country:

Israel should use this wave of eco-terrorism to clarify its relationship to its Arab citizens.

Immediately after the fires are extinguished, the following is necessary:

  1. The arsonists should be tried and given mandatory life-sentences (or death sentences if their arson results in deaths). 
  2. Their residences should be demolished, and their immediate families deprived of Israeli citizenship and deported to Gaza. The human environment in which this terror-birthing hatred was nurtured should also suffer consequences.
  3. All those who display support for the arson or the arsonists should be prosecuted. 
  4. Arab lawmakers who do the same should be stripped of their immunity and posts in the Knesset.  

In short, Israel should treat as enemy nationals those of its citizens who behave like enemy nationals. Citizenship is not a natural right, but a legal privilege granted on sufferance. What the sovereign state gives, the sovereign state may take away. Maintaining this privilege must be subject to explicit contractual conditions, the most basic of which is that the grantee will not abuse that privilege by attempting to destroy the granter. 

In many ways, these fires have forced to the forefront a question which most Israelis have refused to deal with for decades because it is a difficult one. But difficulty is not a valid excuse for avoiding an issue, especially if that issue touches on the viability and survivability of the state. 

You need only to imagine these fires being set in a situation where Israel is engaged in a war on multiple fronts with Iran, Hizbollah, and Hamas.  Of course, this may still happen. Such a  possibility effectively moves the question from the criminal justice to the national security portfolio. 

All Israeli Arab municipalities must take a public position on these acts of terror. Communities that refuse to do so formally and publicly should be put on notice that legal administrative steps will be taken to guard the state from their evident lack of commitment to its security. 

This is a moment of truth for the Jewish state. Israelis send their teenage sons and daughters to risk their lives to defend it. They cannot allow a hostile minority to quite literally burn it down from within. The time has come for Israeli Arabs to choose sides in this conflict, and to accept the full consequences of their choice. And they won't do that if the Jewish majority is too timid to press the question to them.

That question, which all Israeli Arabs, individually and collectively, must now answer is a simple one: which side are you on? 

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