Danger: Barbarians

“We will have peace with the Arabs when they will love their children more than they hate us.” – Golda Meir

The recent lynchings of Israelis at the hands of Palestinian Arabs should give us all pause to think. We must evaluate the facts and fully internalize the truth about the enemy we (and in fact all civilized human beings) face.
In the first of these horrifying events (since the outbreak of the Temple Mount War on 29 Elul 5760/29 Sept. 2000), two reserve soldiers, who inadvertently strayed into the environs of the Arab city of Ramalla, were arrested by Palestinian ‘policemen’ and taken to the Ramalla ‘Police Station’, where a mob of locals stormed the station and beat the two to death. The bodies (after being thrown out the second-floor window) were subsequently dragged through the streets and further mutilated. (See eyewitness report )
A couple of days later, another Israeli was dragged out of the Ramalla restaurant in which he was dining, beaten to a pulp, shot and then burnt to a cinder together with his car. The third atrocity was that of a resident of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Gilo (situated right next to the PA autonomous town of Bet Jalla) who left his home one evening to throw out the garbage – and simply disappeared. His body was subsequently found bound and mutilated, punctured by tens of knife wounds.
The most infamous, by far, is the double lynching in Ramalla, which was captured on film by an Italian news crew. The entire world watched in horror as the image of a young Arab – standing in the room in which the lynch was in progress – appeared on their TV screens, triumphantly displaying the blood-stained palms of his hands through the window to the frenzied crowd in the street below. Nor was he alone. Other Palestinian savages were later photographed dancing outside, celebrating their great deed, blood-stained hands held aloft. (See photographs)
Who can forget the sight of a crowd of over a thousand Arab savages, literally jumping for joy, as they glimpsed the beating to death of an unarmed Jew through the window of their ‘Police Station’? Who could help but shudder at the footage of the the dead Jew being tossed out the window to the waiting mob below (so that they, too, would not miss out altogether on the windfall), who then began methodically pulverizing the face and body of the dead man with anything and everything at hand. (Reminiscent of a predatorial animal leaving the mutilated carcass for his brood to sport with?)
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The revulsion that civilized human beings feel at the sight of such a spectacle is natural and to be taken for granted. The mistake that civilized people make is to assume that their sentiments, their most instinctive reactions, are shared by all human beings .
There are barbaric individuals in (almost) all societies. What distinguishes a barbaric people from a civilized one is that in civilized societies, depraved individuals must perform their animalistic acts in secret, behind closed doors. Their actions put them beyond the pale of civilized behaviour, and they know it. Thus they must lead a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde existence to maintain their standing in society.
For the barbaric individual living in the midst of a barbaric society, however, life is very different (and much more rewarding). Hide his actions and inclinations? Quite the contrary! If performed in front of an appreciative crowd, his barbarism will earn him respect and standing. The tale will be told by many mouths, envious of his ‘strength’, of his ability to actually perform the deeds about which they only fantasize. His deed brings honour to his family for generations.
It is one thing to kill your enemy (even if only a perceived enemy). It is quite another to bludgeon him to – and well beyond – death, and then mutilate his body (see eyewitness account) . This is the mark of a barbaric individual. To do this, however, in the light of day, and then gloat over and celebrate one’s ‘heroic’ deed together with your peers, is something else again. It is the image of the blood-thirsty masses looking on in unabashed glee, rather than the killers themselves, that should sober us. This is the certain mark of a barbaric people .
To Jews, and to all civilized people, peace is something to be treasured. The concluding statement of the Mishna (the Oral Tradition) reads: “R. Shim’on ben H alafta said – There exists no vessel that contains true Blessing except for Peace” (‘Uqassin 3:12 ). The Jewish yearning for peace is plain for all to see. The plethora of ‘peace movements’ (misguided as they are) in our country: Peace Now, Yesh Gvul, Nethivoth Shalom, Four Mothers, Gush Shalom, to name but a few; the fact that many Israelis have a bumper sticker on their cars that reads simply ‘SHALOM’; the fact that Israel (foolishly and suicidally) has shown itself willing to make outlandish concessions to its Arab enemies in order (supposedly) to finally reach the promised land of peace – all these bear witness to this fundamental reality of the Jewish soul.
Fact: Not one Arab country can claim to possess even a single ‘peace movement’ or organization. (Can anyone recall seeing an Arab-owned vehicle – anywhere in the world – sporting a ‘PEACE’ sticker?).
In the two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan, that (for strategic reasons, and despite the unanimous opposition of their citizenry) signed ‘peace treaties’ (read ‘temporary non-aggression pacts’, to be terminated at will) with Israel – the local press, together with the intellectual and professional elites, are in the forefront of opposition to any rapprochement with Israel, and regularly repeat that no contact with Israel is to be tolerated.
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Why this dichotomy? Why is peace so dear to us but so expendable to the Arabs? If one asks the typical left-leaning Israeli “Why are you in favour of transferring parts of our Land to the Arabs?”, the Answer will almost certainly be “For peace. To save lives”. There’s the rub: the preciousness of human life. To us, human life is to be jealously guarded and cherished at almost any cost . The fact that so many Jews are willing to relinquish what they perceive to be their Land for reasons of piqua h nefesh (the saving of life) – as nonsensical and vacuous as this claim is – is eloquent testimony to the tremendous importance of human life in their eyes. Even those who know this position to be false and pernicious can appreciate the sentiment that underlies their position.
To the Arabs, however, human life and suffering – even their own – are cheap. War and killing are the high-points of their existence. They think nothing of sending their own children to stone and firebomb the enemy, despite the certain knowledge that some will die. From their point of view, suicide bombers who embrace death with exhilaration and glee are a normal component of warfare (and warfare is a normal component of life); as is deliberately targeting a school bus full of children to be car-bombed (as happened recently near Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip). Iraq did not hesitate to make use of poison gas against Iran. Assad had no qualms about annihilating 25,000 citizens of the Syrian town of H amma in order to remain in power. And only the Arabs could deliberately maintain their brethren in abject poverty in refugee camps, (rather than absorb them into their societies), choosing to capitalize on their brothers’ suffering to gain political leverage.
Don’t take my word for it. British journalist Patrick Sills reported on the Lebanese Civil War of the 1970’s for the London Observer . In one report Sills wrote: “In the corners of the streets of Beirut, small children exhibit bottles which contain human ears dunked in acid, like pickles or artichokes in vinegar. Bodies are laying in the streets immersed in their coagulated blood, some lacking their procreative organs, which were cut off and put in acid for exhibition by children…”.
Who among us is unaware of the almost daily, mantra-like repetition of the threat to wage Jihad (Holy War) against Israel (and the US, as well as Jews everywhere for that matter) – no matter what we do – in all Arab media? What are we to say about a culture which condones the murder of one’s sister if committed on the background of the discovery of an illicit sexual relationship conducted by said sister (Killing for the Family’s Honour’) – something which every resident of Israel hears on the news occasionally? And what of blood feuds between H amuloth (clans), that are sometimes nurtured for generations, due to an accidental homicide – again a not uncommon news item?
This spiritual and psychological reality manifests itself in other areas as well. Arabs do not respect the property of others. It is a fact (freely admitted by Israeli law-enforcement agencies) that almost every car stolen in Israel ends up in the PA. It is one of their major industries. Drive by the town of Yatta (south of Hevron), as I did a few months ago, and you’ll see what I mean: the outskirts of the city are ‘decorated’ by mounds of stripped cars. Many PA officials drive stolen vehicles; some have been stopped at Israeli roadblocks and had ‘their’ cars confiscated. (They, of course, were set free. We wouldn’t want to harm ‘the peace process’, now would we?) Alternately, just ask the countless kibbutzim and moshavim – who have had their agricultural and industrial equipment stolen or vandalized time and again – what it’s like to have Arabs for neighbours. Almost all such settlements in Israel have had either their crops destroyed, their hothouses torched or their water pipes severed. Many, as a result, are on the brink of economic ruin.
Death, destruction, more death and more destruction, mutilation, suffering and a total disregard for human life and property – these are the Arabs’ stock-in-trade.
Fact: Arabs can be seen walking and driving in Jewish towns and neighbourhoods – freely, without hindrance or fear of attack – even today, Teveth 5761/Jan. ,2001 after over three months of open warfare. Jews who attempt this in Arab-populated areas anywhere in the country, even within Jerusalem, do so at their own peril and, not infrequently, pay for this ‘crime’ with their lives.
There exists, to be sure, a minority of Arabs who detest their own society and people, who recognize them for what they are. But they are a minority, and a small one at that. They never have, and they never will, set the tone of the Arab street. They are powerless against the desert-born savagery of the vast majority of their brethren.
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The feeble-minded, bamboozled by a steady diet of moral equivalence and relativism, whereby all opinions and cultures are to be accorded equal respect and legitimacy, will at this point roll out the well-worn canard and begin to cry ‘Racism!’. This view, so prevalent in present-day Western society (particularly in the groves of Academe), is the great leveler; one may not express an opinion which may be construed to imply that a given nation, culture or moral system is in any way ‘better’ or (dare I say it?) ‘more correct’, or (Heaven help us!) ‘superior’. All ‘life-styles’ are acceptable and a matter of choice; there is no right or wrong.
George Orwell, author of the classic ‘1984’, bemoaned this phenomenon which he considered to be rampant among England’s intelligentsia: “When I first read D. H. Lawrence’s novels, at the age of about twenty, I was puzzled by the fact that there did not seem to be any classification of the characters into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Lawrence seemed to sympathize with all of them equally, and this was so unusual as to give me the feeling of having lost my bearings. Today no one would think of looking for heroes and villains in a serious novel, but in lowbrow fiction one still expects to find a sharp distinction between right and wrong … The common people, on the whole, are still living in the world of absolute good and evil from which intellectuals have long since escaped”.
A Tora Jew does not allow himself to fall into this moral abyss. Much in the Tora is based on clear-cut distinctions between peoples or individuals. The Tora does not leave us in the dark as to the true essence of Yishmael. A person who takes the Tora seriously will not be surprised or taken aback by any of the above. It is important that we (Jew and Gentile) know that this must be so. It is as the Book of Truth predicted: “And he ) Yishmael , father of the Arab nation) shall be a wild man of the desert ; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against his…” (Bereshith-Genesis 16:12) .
Our Sages of blessed memory explained the expression ‘wild man of the desert’ thus: “R. Yo h anan said – all nations are raised in a place of human habitation and civilization; he (Yishmael) is brought up in the desert . Resh Laqish said – ‘a wild man of the desert’ to be sure! All peoples rob and plunder property; he (Yishmael) robs and plunders souls (i.e. kills and murders without restraint)”.
As for the words ‘his hand shall be against every man’, the Midrash explicates: “He and his dog are the same; just as his dog eats carrion, so does he too eat carrion” (Midrash Bereshith Rabba 45:12) .
R. Yo h anan’s intention is to intimate that the essence, the very nature of the Yishmaelim, is the wildness and lawlessness of the desert. This is borne out by the fact that in this verse, the adjective, seemingly, precedes the noun: pere (= wild, desert-like) comes before adam (= man), in apparent contravention of Hebrew syntax according to which we would expect to read that Yishmael will be an adam pere . It is as if the Tora wishes to say that at root, Yishmael is a pere (‘a wild thing’, this acting as the noun), but in the form of adam (‘a man’, the adjective). R. Avraham ibn ‘Ezra seems to have had this in mind when he wrote: “[He shall be] lawless among men [i.e. pere among men] …and shall prevail against all with violence…” )Ibn ‘Ezra’s commentary ad loc.) . “He shall go out and ravage everything [in sight] “ concurs Ramban (ad loc.) .
Two latter-day Masters of Tora – the Nesiv (R. Naftali Svi Yehuda Berlin, Rosh Yeshivath Volozhin), and R. Shimshon Refael Hirsch – elaborate on these themes:
“If we are to explain [the verse] that he [Yishmael] shall be raised in a wild fashion in the desert, as Rashi writes, it should properly have said: adam pere , which would imply ‘a man who loves the life of the desert’. Pere adam , on the other hand, means ‘someone who disdains all refinement and treats all people as if they are of no value’ ; in his eyes everything is ownerless )hefqer) and there for the taking’ – as it states in [Midrash] Rabba. And others will relate to him in a similar fashion. Both these ideas are implied by the words: he sees all people as hefqer, and he shall be regarded as hefqer by all peoples” (Nesiv, Ha’ameq Davar, ad loc.) .
“He shall not be an adam pere , but rather a pere adam : the [element of] pere [wildness] in man. A man free from the yoke of other men and the laws of city dwellers, as it states (Yirmiyahu-Jeremiah 2:24) : ‘ Pere limud midbar ‘ (= a wild ass used to the wilderness); a wild animal, incapable of domestication…this one word pere describes the social nature of the Yishmaelites” (R. Hirsch, Tora Commentary, ad loc.) .
Hazal harboured no illusions about the Arabs, as evidenced by the following: “Our Rabbis taught: It once happened that R. Yo h anan ben Zakai was leaving Jerusalem riding an ass. He was followed by his disciples. He saw a young woman gathering barely grains from among the dung of Arab-owned cattle…Thereupon R. Yo h anan ben Zakai wept and said ‘How fortunate are you O Israel! When you perform the will of Hashem, no nation or tribe can prevail against you. When, however, you do not perform His Will, He delivers you into the hands of a lowly nation ; nay, into the hands of the beasts of a lowly nation’“ (TB Kethuboth 66b) .
This is the Yishmael about whom Hazal zs”l )the Sages) relate as follows: “R. Yirmiya of Difte said: I [once] saw an Arab buy a leg [of meat] in the market. He then cut out a hole from it and committed a sexual act with it, roasted it and ate it” (TB Avoda Zara 22b) .
Or again: “R. H anna bar A h a said in the name of the Academy of Rav: ‘There are four things that the Holy One Blessed be He regrets creating: Galuth (the Exile of the Jewish people), the Kasdim (the Caldeans, an ancient people), the Yishmaelim (the Arabs) and the Evil Inclination’“(TB Sukka 52b) .
A famous Midrash states: “When Hashem wished to give the Tora to Yisrael, He appeared to all the Nations. First He went to the descendants of ‘Esaw. ‘Will you accept the Tora?’ He asked. They replied ‘What is written therein?’. ‘Thou shall not murder!’. They replied ‘Our entire strength, and the strength of our father, is killing!’…He went to the descendants of Yishmael: ‘Will you accept the Tora?’. They replied ‘What is written therein?’. ‘Thou shall not steal!’. They replied ‘Our entire strength is that our father was a robber!’ as it states ‘And he shall be a wild man of the desert ; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against his…’“ (Sifre Devarim 343).
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This is why one cannot placate or appease the Arabs. Wild men of the desert cannot be appeased. You may take the Arab out of the desert, but you will never succeed in taking the desert out of the Arab. This is why one must never sign an agreement with them. One does not sign agreements with savages; they do not – and cannot – understand or respect agreements. (Ask the tribe of Qureaish, who signed a peace treaty with Muhammad and were nevertheless eventually wiped out by him).
This is why all talk of peace between Arabs and Jews is nonsense.
It is puzzling, therefore, to say the least, to witness a majority of the civilized world take the side of the Arabs. This despite ample evidence, by way of terrorist activity not infrequently directed against the civilized nations and their citizens, that we confront something inhuman and diabolical. If only they would recognize that this is not simply Jew vs. Arab, nor even Jewish culture vs. Arabic culture. We are dealing with the epitome of untamed animalism parading itself in the guise of religion – Yishmael , daring to challenge, and attempting to supplant, the epitome of morality and true civilization – Yisrael. If only they could conceive of the fact that they too are involved in this conflict of Titans: CIVILIZATION vs. BARBARISM, GOOD vs. EVIL.