To contextualize the provocations of the so-called hilltop youth, and the possibly linked price-tag inanities, we need to visit unloved and forsaken southern Tel Aviv – From Neveh Sha’anan all the way to the Hatikva and Shapira Quarters. Their sordid streets offer an improbable but pertinent perspective for the barren rocky landscapes of Judea and Samaria.
It’s not instantly obvious but there’s much that ties the denizens of these seemingly disparate settings. In a word it’s disaffection.
Our mainstream doesn’t care about the Israeli remainder in areas of Tel Aviv that had ceased to matter to trendsetters. The same goes for those broadly denigrated as “settlers.” Tenaciously clinging to values long ago discounted by conceited talking heads, they’re physically and psychologically removed from Tel Aviv’s clubs and cafes, besides being anathema to the in-crowd’s fashion police.
The stories of those whom stuck-up snobs disown – whether they live only several run-down blocks away or beyond the sacrosanct Green Line – get no hearing, to say nothing of sympathy.
It’s enlightening to note how little fuss our tendentious media makes over some news items. Imagine the hysteria it would have pumped up had a Jew brandished a knife with a 40-centimeter-long blade, chased Arab passersby down a busy urban thoroughfare, stabbed six (one seriously) and then topped it all off with insolent V-sign gestures during his arraignment in court.
Incensed howls berating our innate racism would have reverberated around the globe. The breasts of generic Israelis would have been beaten with exultant relish and the din of righteous recriminations would have been earsplitting. Entire sectors of our society would have been lustily stereotyped. Blaming them would have been hoarsely held up as the progressive cause célèbre.
An Arab assailant would have excited less frenzy because our news-purveyors regard Arab attacks as expected, part of the course, dog bites man. Moreover, the copywriters of our conventional wisdom either subliminally anticipate no better from our enemies or, non-too-subliminally, they somewhat identify with the point of view of those who viscerally hate us. Hence, the hubbub would have been of exceedingly limited duration. Seen that. Been there. We deserve no better. It’s probably all our fault anyway. End of story.
But who altogether gives a hoot when the perpetrator is a Sudanese illegal and when the crime scene is smack dab in the shadow of Tel Aviv’s disused old central bus terminal?
The once hyperactive heart of the city has been ripped out, commandeered and relinquished to outsiders – mostly Africans. It has become an expanding exterritorial lawless sphere where few Israelis dare to tread. Most of us had written it off. Whatever happens there happens to foolhardy types who venture where they shouldn’t. Not our worry. End of story.
And so it was in the last week of June when Suleiman Abdul-Adham, a “Sudanese citizen” (whom our tireless reporters never even bothered naming), rampaged from Neveh Sha’anan Street (which ironically means “placid oasis”) to Bnei Brak Street. Some say he initially participated in a brawl with fellow-Africans. But all eye-witnesses agree that later, barreling furiously down, he indiscriminately knifed anyone in his way, including Ya’acov Omrad, a hapless 67-year-old Israeli shopkeeper, just then putting out the trash.
Other Israelis rushed at the attacker, tackled him and pinned him down until the cops arrived 20 minutes after the event. This, despite the fact that our constabulary claims it has stepped up patrols in Tel-Aviv’s worst crime hotbed, not remotely comparable to anything known elsewhere in the greater metropolis.
Numerous murders, robberies and violent rapes are routinely reported in the city’s dark seamy underside. Doubtless, way more go unreported.
The upside, however, is that the law was on hand in great force not too many hours later when the few leftover Israelis who had still not fled this and nearby squalid neighborhoods came out to protest against officialdom’s indifference to their plight.
Dozens of heavily armed border policemen were deployed against the sad residue of Tel Avivians who continue to inhabit the outskirts of the foul and derelict district, packed with an exotic array of foreign infiltrators, most of whom originally hail from the southern hemisphere. The once-so-familiar cityscape has transmuted into nothing short of an outcast alien scene.
There was no doubt who the public enemies were. They most certainly weren’t the African migrants, who strode by assertively and brazenly jeered the demonstrators.
The unsavory truth is that our media is very partial to the illegals and still favors calling them “Sudanese refugees,” a variation of the previously popular Darfurian moniker (although bona fide refugees from the Sudan’s Darfur region never constituted more than a minuscule fraction of Tel-Aviv’s sub-Saharan population).
The “refugee” adjective is geared to justify leniency and arouse compassion, even if undeserved. It’s the pet politically correct ploy wielded by our homegrown self-appointed custodians of the collective conscience. They tend to be faithful followers of fads and – of course – naturally leftwing.
Therefore, much as they love African gatecrashers, they scorn the Israeli have-nots hounded by said Africans. There’s no room in leftist human rights discourse for the hard-luck experiences of Israel’s non-too-photogenic proletariat, the sort that doesn’t earn enough, doesn’t groom well, isn’t articulate, resorts to unrefined vocabulary, may be traditional or even – heaven forefend – semi-religious and doesn’t vote for lists preferred by the beautiful people.
It’s chic to look down on slum-dwellers fighting for the dilapidated homes they can’t replace and it’s even more chic to fawn over the foreigners who scare the living daylights out of the choice-deprived Israeli working poor.
The problem of course is that while the smug establishment ignores what doesn’t suit its bon ton, tensions keep festering.
They get worse with each gruesome gang-rape, with each home invasion (i.e the recent case in which an Eritrean illegal tried to violate an Israeli eight-year-old asleep in her own bed), with each murder (like that several years ago of 68-year-old Esther Galili who was brutally beaten to death by Eritrean Ya’acub Bashir al-Fadel, on Rehov Hagra – around the corner from what had been her home for decades) and with each harassment (like that inflicted on Hatnu’a MK Elazar Stern by another Eritrean who pounded Stern on the head, snatched off his kippa and stepped upon it demonstratively).
But when dwellers of Tel-Aviv’s disadvantaged sections demonstrate against the African takeover, they’re disdainfully scorned as racists by elitist pseudo-idealists who themselves reside in posh “refugee-free” zones.
On occasion, these prosperous preachers further respond to their fellow Israelis’ grassroots outcry by organizing counter-demonstrations by a mélange of Third World economic migrants, all claiming to be political refugees and cynically harping on Jewish Holocaust-born sensitivities.
Steam is building up. Like it is in Judea and Samaria, where Arabs hurling deadly rocks and firebombs are largely ignored by the media, where violence against Jews is tolerated, where the victims are blamed and denounced, where dead Jews get less attention than stupid anti-Arab graffiti.
In Tel Aviv and beyond, the lack of minimal understanding breeds hopelessness and hopelessness breeds alienation. When people are estranged and pushed into dark corners, they eventually break bounds.
Crazies thrive where no steam can be vented and where protest is discredited and stifled, where no sane options are left, where no course corrections are possible, where no avenue of action with a sliver of a chance to succeed is left open, where imperious adjudicators of superior tastes consider some of their compatriots transparent or worthless.
But there’s an even deeper irony.
Those who most vehemently defend African infiltrators, demand they be legalized here and offered all the perks of Israeli citizenship, also demand the expulsion of all settlers – hundreds of thousands of them. Those who want illegals to be made fully at home in this country, aspire to make fellow Israelis homeless.
Leftist propaganda serially spooks Israelis about hanging on to even a scrap of territory won in the 1967 war of self-defense forced upon us. Pointedly omitting mention of this country’s nine-mile wide waistline and the acute vulnerability of its densest population centers, leftists warn that Israel will lose its Jewish identity should it fail forthwith divest itself of all its strategic assets and evict the “settlers” therein.
Lopsided logic decrees that such suicidal sacrifices are mandated to maintain Israel’s Jewish majority since this state was founded to afford Jews the one place on earth where they aren’t an endangered minority. The cure for endangerment is greater endangerment.
It was in the name of this Jewish majority that the Left foisted the Oslo folly upon us in 1993. Yet few Israelis are aware that as part of its Oslo undertakings Israel had admitted 150,000 Palestinian Arabs ostensibly to facilitate “family reunions.” Needless to say, their numbers have since swelled and massively inflated Arab population proportions within Israel proper – all in the name of safeguarding the Jewish majority.
The political Left, moreover, bitterly battles legislation geared to prevent a further Arab influx into the Jewish state under the fraudulent guise of “family reunions.” The very notion that Israeli/Arab-Palestinian couples can “reunite” beyond the Green-Line grievously offends leftist sensibilities. Our Left hankers for the migration of ever-greater number of Arabs into our Jewish-majority midst – all in the name of that hallowed Jewish majority.
Simultaneously, leftist ringleaders cannot abide the notion that Israel requires its purported peace partners to recognize its legitimacy as a Jewish state rather than as an undefined de facto entity and candidate for future Arabization.
However viewed, the common denominator between disingenuous leftwing slogans and contradictory leftwing actions is the weakening of Israel as a Jewish state.
The Left eagerly espouses whatever weakens Israel – be it yielding territory to ever-implacable enemies, importing hostile Arabs, opposing legislation to reduce the danger of being overrun by would-be annihilators or even undermining efforts to deport illegal (often Muslim) Africans.
Therefore, what opinion-molders choose to overlook – to dismiss as trifling, to relegate to oblivion – is no less important than what they choose to hype – to blow out of all proportion, to seize upon as expedient agenda-boosters.
Indeed, the downplayed and the played-up invariably testify to the same phenomenon. They are two sides of the same coin of hypocrisy.Sarah Honig is going on leave and will be back on July 26.