Black Smoke

Let’s play a little name recognition game: Esther Ochana – ring a bell? Or Yehuda Shoham?


If we move forward in time: Asher Palmer and Yonatan Palmer?


All were killed because of Arabs throwing rocks at Jewish cars. Esther Ochana, in Hebron, in January 1983, Yehuda Shoham, in June, 2001. And the Palmers, September, 2011.


Presently, three year old Adelle Biton is fighting for her life, following a rock attack on her mother’s car last night, near Ariel, in the Shomron. And according to today’s news reports, Arabs are continuing to try to kill people in the same way, from the same place where Adelle was injured, with others, last night.


Over the past few weeks Israeli leaders have been viciously assailing “Jewish nationalist’ attacks against Arabs. A few cases of Jews throwing rocks at Arabs has been reported, including one such incident in Jerusalem. The assault against such episodes reached France, when President Shimon Peres told reporters in Paris, “"Attacking Arab citizens is a terrible thing, done by a handful of people but leaving a very large stain."


I’m not in favor of unprovoked rock-throwing, or any other kind of physical attack, against anyone, Arabs, Jews, or anyone else. But, as long as I can remember, at least since I’ve lived in the Hebron area, that being about 32 years, Jews have been targets of, at the least, rock attacks. On the road going north, between Hebron – Gush Etzion –Jerusalem. And going south, towards, Beer Sheva. And even the short distance between Kiryat Arba and Hebron.


During the ‘first Intifada,’ during the late 1980s, before buses had plastic windows, dozens, if not more, people were wounded when boulders hit glass windows on public transportation between Kiryat Arba and Jerusalem. Over the years these attacks grew, as a malignant cancer, throughout other places in Judea, Binyamin and Samaria. Even road 443, leaving Jerusalem towards Modi’in has become a favorite of attempted murder by rock.


Of course, these rock attacks culminated with massive shooting attacks during the Oslo War, aka the 2nd intifada, in the early 2000s. For the past few years rock aggression has again reared its dangerous head.


I recall, prior to the Palmer killing, being told that a senior officer, (now a very senior officer) instructed his troops not to get overly excited about rock-throwing. “It’s sufferable,” he was quoted as saying. He visited the Palmers during the week of mourning, and I approached him as he left their home, querying him about this. Of course, he denied ever saying such words.


But I didn’t believe him then. And I don’t believe him today.


Rocks heaved at Jewish vehicles has almost become an Arab pastime, like baseball. And virtually nothing, but nothing, is done to stop it. The proof of that statement is that such ambushes continue, non-stop. Were proper action taken, they could be stopped. It’s a question of will. It seems that there are those who aren’t interested in preventing Jews, be they men, women, children or babies, from being injured or killed by projectiles flying through the air at moving vehicles.


Here in Hebron, for the past weeks, Arabs have continued throwing rocks at Beit Hadassah and at security forces, from the border area between the Jewish/Arab parts of the city. Tear gas and stink bomb odors have permeated our homes and streets, whenever the wind changes directions. But the attacks continue, and continue, and continue. And I don’t remember hearing Peres talk about stains on the Arab population in Israel.


This is outrageous.


A couple of nights ago, international excitement seemed to be contagious. White smoke was seen pouring out of the Vatican chimney. Simultaneously, here in Israel, ‘white smoke’ was reported puffing out of the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, when coalition agreements were being finalized, paving the way to a new government early next week.


But, at the moment, I don’t see any white smoke coming from anywhere. All I see is thick, ugly, smelly, black smoke, seemingly filling our skies. A black smoke, brought on by Jewish incitement, provoking Arabs, such as Peres’ ‘stain’ remarks, and other politician’s comments, people who are quick to the draw when a Jew looks cross-eyed at an Arab, but who remain speechless when Jews come under daily attack. This kind of smoke is poisonous, and must be dispelled prior to its doing too much damage.


The firefighters today, Bibi, Boogie, Avigdor, Naftali, Yair, and the others, must take quick, firm action, leaving no questions in the minds of Arabs trying to kill Jews, that they will get back, in return, what they are attempting to do to us. That’s why there are Israeli security forces. They must be ordered, on all levels, to put out the fire, now.


One of the ways that we can bring back the white smoke is, despite the issues, to continue driving the roads, visiting communities in Judea and Samaria. As Passover approaches, there will be plentiful activities throughout Jewish communities all over Yesha. I call upon all those in Israel during Pesach, to visit and support such communities.


Here in Hebron, our semi-annual music festival will take place on Thursday of Passover. Ma’arat HaMachpela, the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, will be entirely open, including the Isaac Hall, on both Wednesday and Thursday. Our neighbors around us must see that their attacks will not scare us away; to the contrary, more and more people will visit, and populate these holy places.


And our new government must know that we will not let them sit quietly in their air-conditioned offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv while Jews are bombarded by rocks and boulders on the roads.


The time has come to stop this black-smoke rock-terror, for once and for all.