price tag 311.
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
As a graduate of Yeshiva University and resident of Gush Etzion, located over
the “Green Line,” I was extremely bothered by Rabbi Yosef Blau’s September 13
column titled “Price Tag – paying for our educational failures.”
accurate that following the destruction of three homes in Migron two mosques
were vandalized, but until anyone is convicted for this heinous act why is Rabbi
Blau automatically assuming that this was a so-called “price tag” act carried out
Arutz 7 reported this past June that Arab residents of the village of
Karyut, near Eli, set fire to olive groves in the area and then blamed the Jews
of Eli for carrying out the act. In fact while Eli’s firefighters and security
team put out the blaze, the Arabs who started the fire, along with left-wing
Israelis, were on hand with their cameras to film the incident. The motive for
this libel was simple: portray the “settlers” in a negative light, so that they
will once again bear the wrath of the international community via the
But if Rabbi Blau is correct and it was Jews who damaged the
mosques, where in the article is his proof that the “education” given in schools
affiliated with the “religious Zionist system” is the cause for these acts?
While Rabbi Blau describes various outlooks in which a nationalist religious
student may come to the conclusion that his life is “superior” to that of an
Arab or a left-wing Israeli, the rabbi doesn’t site specific examples which
support his theory. In other words, where are the rabbi’s sources to back his
views? Rabbi Blau essentially goes on – while tip-toeing and using a carefully
chosen vocabulary – to indicate that the children who attend these types of
schools are attracted to “black and white,” thus are messianic radicals who
believe in settling in all of the Land of Israel without showing a willingness
to compromise for peace.
Unfortunately it seems that Rabbi Blau from his
perch in New York has fallen into the mainstream media’s trap of classifying the
“settler” community as being a bunch of gun-toting Messianic crazies not
committed to peace. I would invite the rabbi to visit my community or the dozens
of other communities where “normal” Israelis live and work and want nothing more
than peace with our neighbors. That being said, many of us have seen “land for
peace” compromises in the recent past that have not brought us closer to the end
of the conflict.
Therefore simply because one doesn’t subscribe to
“pragmatic compromises” that doesn’t indicate that he or she, or their teenage
children, is running to set a mosque on fire.
While Rabbi Blau seems to
be focused on condemning the apparent actions of a fringe minority, and don’t
get me wrong, if it was a group of Jews who carried out these actions then it
should be condemned, a brief search in The Jerusalem Post archives doesn’t
indicate that the Rabbi ever went on record in this forum to condemn the arson
mentioned above, or any desecration of Jewish sites including the Tomb of Joseph
in Shechem. In other words, if the rabbi is preaching “tolerance” of other
views, why doesn’t he also criticize those who are rabidly against a Jewish
right to live in Judea and Samaria?
As the former spokesperson for the Yesha
Council, the official representative of the Israelis living Judea and Samaria, I
know firsthand that any confirmed “price tag” act of vandalism is condemned in
the harshest terms. In addition, our communities have an excellent daily working
relationship with the security forces, the IDF and the police, and any attacks
against fellow Jews are unacceptable. We appreciate their presence and their
On the flip side, after witnessing how the Gaza pullout led
to an unprecedented wave of rocket terror many of these security personnel on
the ground truly understand the importance of maintaining our homes where they
are. I would invite Rabbi Blau to come to Israel and witness this relationship
I would also invite him to visit religious children’s schools
in Israel, especially in Judea and Samaria, to see that he has been misinformed.
While the importance of settling in all parts of the Land of Israel is taught,
incitement to violence is not on the syllabus.
The writer is the former
spokesperson for the Yesha Council and is the author of the recently released
Itamar Makes Friends: A children’s story of Jewish brotherhood by Gefen
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