The recent stabbing of a teenager in the northern Jerusalem suburb of Ramot,
apparently by a resident of Beit Iksa, hit me hard.
I lived in Ramot for
23 years, 16 of them directly across the wadi from Beit Iksa. All during the
intifada when buses were blowing up all over the country, the men of Beit Iksa
walked across the wadi and up the steps next to my house to work as laborers,
without incident. Often, they passed me by in groups, watching as I tended my
fruit trees and grape vines. Sometimes I even offered them fruit, which they
smilingly declined or accepted. The sound of their muezzin and darbuka
(drums) filled my home. I accepted it as part of the experience of living in
this beautiful spot with its rolling hills and apple orchards. In fact,
during the euphoria of the Oslo Accords, I even sometimes imagined walking
across the wadi to visit and inviting some of them to my home.
rudely awakened by the Palestinian Authority election results in Beit Iksa,
where Hamas won a resounding victory. Tangible changes soon followed: powerful
new loudspeakers aimed at Ramot brutally blasted the singsong call to prayer
like a weapon. Home robberies, always a nuisance, steadily grew worse. One
night, robbers invaded my home as my son and his wife were sleeping
downstairs. The next morning, among other losses, we found two large
kitchen knives missing. On another occasion, I watched in disbelief as in
the middle of the night a dozen or so men leapt out of the house next door and
down into the wadi before police could arrive. My neighbor, who had been away,
arrived to find they’d not only stolen everything not nailed down, but also
urinated on her bed for spite.
While the police dutifully came and
investigated, they admitted helplessness. Under the Oslo Accords, Beit Iksa was
governed by the Palestinian Authority. Only the IDF could go in there. And for
that to happen, someone would have to do more than steal a
Nevertheless, most of us with homes adjacent to the wadi were
adamantly opposed to a security wall between Ramot and Beit Iksa, reluctant to
turn our lovely, rural backyard and heavenly view into an ugly border. So
instead we put in alarm systems, which regularly went off.
changed on October 22, a sleepy Sabbath afternoon, when Zaid Abd al-Rahman, a
20-year-old enrolled in Al Quds University, allegedly took the 10-minute walk
through the wadi, entering Ramot with a sixinch knife and attacking the first
person he saw, 17-year-old Yehuda Ne’emad, son of the local grocery owner.
Viciously, al-Rahman stabbed Yehuda twice in the back and twice in the stomach,
doing his best to kill him. As his victim lay in a pool of blood, al-Rahman
turned his attention to a twelve-year old girl and her six year-old brother. “I
was sure I was going to die,” she later said. “I took my brother’s hand and I
As a crowd gathered, Rahman, who apparently wasn’t interested at
that moment in martyrdom, ran back down the wadi.
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ECHOING A popular
sentiment, Meir Indor of the Almagor Terror Victims Association connected the
crime to the ransom paid four days previously to free Gilad Schalit: “The
publicity surrounding the deal turned murderers into culture heroes on the Arab
and Palestinian street... All this encourages Arab youths to try impersonating
the released prisoners, because they know, just as we know, that if they are
caught they will be released sooner or later.”
Ah, if it were only that
simple! If one could go to sleep a peaceful student and wake up a blood-thirsty
killer because of a single act of government policy! The truth is far more
Beit Iksa, six kilometers northwest of Jerusalem, has 1,600
inhabitants and two primary schools. Both are operated by the Palestinian
Authority. A 2009-10 report by Arnon Groiss of Impact-Se, the Institute for
Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Curriculum describes the
school books Rahman would have been exposed to as delegitimizing Jews and
Israel, denying their historical and religious presence and ascribing to them
dubious and nefarious characteristics, as well as assigning full blame to them
for the Middle East conflict and stressing the ideal of violent struggle for
liberation over peaceful negotiation.
After school, Rahman would have
been exposed to Al Aqsa Television children’s programs, like this one: “What do
you want to do to the Jews who shot your father?” says the cuddly
“I want to kill them,” a child’s voice pipes up.
want to do anything to them,” a little girl shakes her head at the bear. “Just
to expel them from our land.”
“But if we slaughter them, they’ll be
expelled,” the bear cheerfully corrects her.
“Yes, that’s right,” she
I suggest you watch this on Youtube, courtesy of Itamar Marcus
and Palestinian Media Watch.
Graduating from this kind of education,
Rahman enrolled in Al Quds University, with its Abu Jihad Museum, honoring the
master terrorist who engineered the Coastal Road Massacre. In 2007, Al Quds held
a week-long celebration honoring Yahya Ayyash, the notorious Hamas “engineer
credited for numerous deadly attacks and for inventing the suicide
On March 11, 2011, Al Quds (which has joint programs with
Brandeis, by the way) held a celebration of the 33rd anniversary of the death of
Dalal Mughrabi, a despicable Lebanese woman who landed on Israel’s coast in a
dinghy with a dozen other terrorists, killing nature photographer Gail Rubin and
then hijacking a passenger bus which she blew up with a grenade, killing 38
Israelis – thirteen of them children.
“Now we go to a glorious chapter in
Palestinian history... ” the Palestinian television announcer says, introducing
Mughrabi’s sister, who says: “This is a day of glory and pride for the
Palestinian people and a blow to the Zionists. She [Mughrabi] left a note to our
father saying to point all rifles at Zionists, so if you haven’t
The release of terrorist murderers was a bad idea for many
reasons. But while it might have emboldened him, it didn’t put the idea of
killing Jews into Zaid Abd al-Rahman’s head. For that, it took a village. If the
West is ever really sincere about tackling the problem of peace in our area, the
first sign will be the halting of all funding and cultural exchanges with the
likes of Al Quds “University.” It will be the attention paid to reversing the
damage done by years of toxic PA and Hamas brainwashing, the kind that turn
young people into monsters.
When the security fence goes up between Ramot
and Beit Iksa, as it inevitably will now, we are sure Palestinian apologists,
and Al Quds University and its television broadcasting system in particular,
will vent its fury at further evidences of Israeli “apartheid.”
should all know better who really built this fence.The writer has
authored numerous books, most recently
The Tenth Song.
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