On price tag crimes and unbased assertions

Until anyone is convicted why is Rabbi Blau automatically assuming that this was a so-called “price tag” act carried out by Jews?

September 19, 2011 21:54
4 minute read.
Price tag vandalism (illustrative)

price tag 311. (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)


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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.”

It is 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 by Jews?

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 media.

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 protection.

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 firsthand.

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 book Itamar Makes Friends: A children’s story of Jewish brotherhood by Gefen Press.

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