Light in place of fire

Light in place of fire is distressed about the spike in attacks, but not discouraged.

Tag Meir activists carrying signs of support (photo credit: COURTESY TAG MEIR)
Tag Meir activists carrying signs of support
(photo credit: COURTESY TAG MEIR)
When Gadi Gvaryahu first decided, almost instinctively, that he should do something in face of the growing phenomenon of “price-tag” attacks against Arab property, he never thought that years later he would still have to continue with this activity.
One of the founders of the Yud Bet Heshvan Circle – the movement created soon after prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, by religious activists for peace and democracy – Rehovot resident Gvaryahu is distressed about the spike in attacks, but not discouraged. That is because the Tag Meir movement – which means “light tag,” instead of price tag – continues to attract more members.
On Sunday morning, after the serious damage caused in yet another attack – this time, arson perpetrated at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Center for Bilingual Education in the Pat neighborhood – some 250 Tag Meir activists came to declare their support for the school, students and staff, and all of their families. Also present were city council members and students from the Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva as well other schools. Their signboards read “Light instead of terror,” and the atmosphere was one of shock and great sadness.
It didn’t take more than 24 hours for Tag Meir’s presence to be required at another site of an act of hatred: a response to the Jewish Nation-State bill that saw the Tel Aviv International Synagogue desecrated; the group made sure to put on a show of support there as well. But at the gates of the bilingual school in Jerusalem, Gvaryahu and his growing group of supporters did what they do in every such case. They not only carried signboards, they engaged in learning some Jewish texts that illustrate that Judaism doesn’t have to be aggressive, but rather involves respect for the “other” – whether they hold different views, or are simply non- Jewish.
That was the message Gvaryahu insisted on bringing this past summer to the bereaved family of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, an Arab boy allegedly murdered by Jews. Judaism has another language and message than the one conveyed by those who set Arab property on fire, desecrate mosques and torch a school in which Jews and Arabs study together.
Gvaryahu noted that the kindergarten in Pat had been suffering from such racist attacks for years. He reminded the audience that two years ago Tag Meir members were there when a bus transporting the school’s pupils was attacked by a group of Jewish rioters. “For the past four years,” concluded Gvaryahu, “38 prayer houses of Christians and Muslims have been tagged with offensive graffiti done by racist Jews, who desecrate, burn and threaten Arabs, Christians and Jews who hold different opinions.
“However, to this day, not even one indictment has been submitted to court. The State of Israel, which knows how to stop fighter ships at sea, seems unable to stop racist attacks on children in the heart of Jerusalem,” he raged. •