(photo credit: Courtesy)
The demolition of three homes at the Migron Heights outpost by the army was
conducted in an unprofessional, brutal and primitive manner. Three families were
awoken after midnight as soldiers in riot gear and bulldozers descended on them
and demolished their new homes – only constructed after Passover. The male heads
of the families serve in the IDF and one of the mothers had only two weeks
before given birth. Twelve young children witnessed their homes being torn up
and their personal possessions destroyed. The cruel and insensitive manner in
which the police implemented this eviction was utterly disgusting.
words of background. Migron, located five kilometers north of Jerusalem, was
founded in 2002, a few days prior to Operation Defensive Shield, with the tacit
approval of the Ministry of Defense which endorsed it “as an independent
community for all intents and purposes, including the matter of budgets and
assigning it an official status.” In 2003 it received NIS 4.3 million from the
Ministry of Construction and Housing Commission which stated that land is the
property of the Custodian of Government and Abandoned Property.
year, in response to a petition by Peace Now activists who appealed to the
Supreme Court, the inhabitants of Migron were ordered to leave their homes or
face eviction because their property was located on land now deemed to belong to
Palestinians. Thus overnight a government sanctioned settlement was transformed
into an illegal outpost. Fervent debate on this issue ensued, and the matter is
still under review. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is urging the government to
authorize the settlement.
NOBODY DENIES that all citizens must obey the
law. However, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of this issue and even
assuming the families of the three homes demolished had broken the law by
failing to fulfill police instructions to evacuate, the brutal manner in which
the army bulldozed their homes in the middle of the night was unconscionable. It
is also unacceptable for the IDF - a people’s army - to be obliged to act as law
enforcement in such situations.
The government, the Ministry of Defense,
the Supreme Court and the other authorities who initially authorized the
settlement and have now abandoned them have much to answer for.
having said that, nothing could remotely justify the obscene and thuggish
reprisals perpetrated by as-yet unidentified criminals.
operate under rule of law. When hilltop youth go on a rampage they are not only
guilty of criminal behavior but defame the entire settlement
Desecrating a Mosque or any house of worship is vile and
contrary to the values inculcated in us as Jews who suffered from such bigotry
over the centuries.
Vandalizing an IDF base is anti-Zionist, anti-Israeli
behavior which all, especially those from the national camp, must condemn as
If, as hinted, religious Jews were involved in this abomination,
they have disgraced the Torah and such Chillul Hashem (desecration of God’s
name) represents an evil force utterly alien to our tradition which must be
rooted out from our midst.
However, unless found guilty in a court of
law, it is critical that Migron families, who are known as idealistic and
law-abiding citizens, are not held responsible for perpetrating these abominable
The suspicion is that the vandals are wild “hilltop youths.” The
late National Religious minister Dr. Yosef Burg once confided to me his concerns
about settlers living in small isolated communities surrounded by masses of
hate-filled Arabs. His fear was that this animosity could distort their own
outlook and values and infect them with bitterness and hatred. Alas, that may
indeed have become a reality.
Such criminal behavior must be condemned
unconditionally, in particular by leaders of the national camp, rabbis, national
religious Jews and spokesmen for the settler movement – many of whom, to their
credit, have already done so.
And when the perpetrators are arrested,
they should be treated as criminals and punished with the full severity of the
law. Such behavior cannot be tolerated in any law-abiding state.
state and the courts have and will continue to make mistakes.
legitimate protest mechanisms that can be applied which may or may not succeed.
But even if the state acts in error and individuals feel that they have been
treated despicably, that can never justify acts of bigotry or sabotage against
the state and the nation.