What Germany should not learn from Israel

Now is not the time for Israelis and Jews to exploit these terrorist attacks as a means to curry solidarity and sympathy from Western nations normally hostile to Israel.

January 9, 2017 22:16
3 minute read.
Flowers and candles are placed near the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany

Flowers and candles are placed near the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Since the December 19 terrorist attack at the Christmas market in Berlin, more and more pro-Israel voices are urging Germany to learn from Israel how to prevent and cope with terrorist attacks.

“Use barriers to block trucks!” “Arm civilians!” “Execute the terrorist on the spot!” (Unless, of course, he is already wounded and on the ground, in which case it constitutes manslaughter, if we are to judge from the now infamous Elor Azaria case.) German authorities seem to be mimicking Israeli tactics. On New Year’s, police engaged, controversially, in racial profiling in Cologne to prevent a repeat of last New Year’s sexual assaults. German authorities are reported to have purchased anti-vehicle barriers from an Israeli company to secure public events.

Israel advocates also encourage Europeans to look to Israel for an example on how to manage terrorism while maintaining a thriving democracy, an attitude already full swing in Berlin. Life in Berlin goes on. The Christmas attack is old news. Unlike in Israel, though, Germans haven’t collectively mourned the victims. The German media has offered no profiles of their lives.

The attack is as impersonal and humdrum as a car accident.

I left Israel for Berlin early this year, in part to escape “lone wolf,” low-tech terrorist attacks like the ones that mowed down innocent people in Berlin and Jerusalem. It was simply becoming unbearable to live not necessarily in fear, but with the knowledge that the Israeli government is not protecting its citizens by taking the systematic policy shifts and military measures necessary to stop these attacks once and for all. Life simply became a game of “jihadi roulette.”

So, as I adjust to this new Berlin reality, I hope that Germany does not learn from Israel to allow such attacks to become routine, even as Germans seem to be growing more sympathetic to Israel’s plight. Nor should it learn from Israel’s policy of jihad appeasement that began in 1993 with the signing of the Oslo Accords that placed Palestinian terrorism headquarters in the heart of Israeli soil.

The migrant influx is to Germany what the Oslo Accords are to Israel: a Trojan horse meant to destroy the country from within. Just as German Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to acknowledge any mistake, the government of Israel has not yet admitted the country made a mistake in the handling of its own “refugee crisis” – the Palestinian refugee crisis, to be solved, as it were, with the creation of the Palestinian state.

The governments of both Israel and Germany have made dangerous decisions out of moral confusion, historic trauma and concern over public image. Just as Germans thought they must be humanitarian by hosting and feeding strangers hostile to its values, Israelis believed they must be humanitarian by giving hostile Palestinians self-governance.

Just as Germans thought they were “correcting” their evil, bigoted past by accepting a flood of minorities, Israelis thought they were correcting their dispossessed, victimized past by granting Arabs an ethnic state alongside their own Jewish, democratic one. Both countries sought the reputation of moral statehood. In both cases, Germany and Israel have compromised moral statehood by endangering their own civilians.

Israel, pressured by world leaders, has set the precedent, and until the Israeli government reverses the Oslo-inspired policies that have made terrorist attacks inevitable, it does not hold the moral high ground required to lecture or teach Germany. Israelis have every reason to be as critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they may be of Merkel, since Netanyahu still props up the antisemitic Palestinian Authority and pays lip service to the idea of a Palestinian state. Germany, following in Israel’s footsteps, has likewise propped up in its midst Islamic no-go zones whose inhabitants teach the kind of antisemitism that would make Hitler proud.

As an Israeli American, I can’t really tell Germany what to do.

But I can take responsibility for the actions of my own country. Now is not the time for Israelis and Jews to exploit these terrorist attacks as a means to curry solidarity and sympathy from Western nations normally hostile to Israel. Now is the time for Israel to set the example on how to vanquish Islamic terrorism once and for all, and not merely to live with it. Only then will Israel truly be the leader in fighting Islamic terrorism and the light unto the nations that it could be and should have been.

The author is a journalist based in Berlin and author of The Settler, a novel about the aftermath of the withdrawal from Gaza. www.oritarfa.com.

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