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Specter of Jewish Terrorism Is Growing in Israel

Allan Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
November-December 1998

Less than three years after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s security chiefs are again confronting the specter of Jewish terrorism, The Jerusalem Report cover story of Sept. 28, 1998 reports.  

In West Bank settlements and elsewhere on "the radical fringes of the right," The Report notes, "violent talk is more common than it’s been any time since the murder of Yitzhak Rabin—whose assassin...twisted citations from holy books to justify bloodshed...the growing sense that the government will soon agree to turn another 13 percent of the West Bank over to Palestinian rule are intensifying the feeling of abandonment that has set off extremist Jewish violence in the past. Recent weeks have provided numerous warning signs that desperation—and readiness for desperate action—are increasing; extremists accusing President Ezer Weizman of treason and Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai of murder; simmering violence against Arabs in the Hebron area; threats to shoot soldiers."  

Security agencies "are worried not only about revenge attacks on Palestinians but about the danger of assassination attempts against Israeli leaders, and of assaults on Islamic holy sites that could ignite the Middle East. ‘We have to take the extremist threats seriously,’ warns Assaf Hefetz, who retired last year as national police chief. ‘We know their potential.’"  

Many on Israel’s far right believe the situation is even more dire now than it was under Rabin: "Under Rabin, they could hope for a change in government that would end concessions to the Palestinians and put Israel back on track toward permanent rule of the territories. Now the right is in power and, to their horror, Oslo is still government policy. Netanyahu has already seen his features pasted up around Jerusalem in a keffiya, over the slogan ‘The Liar.’"  

According to The Report, "One thing that appears to have changed too little since the Rabin years is the influence of radical rabbis—and silence of many other religious leaders. Perhaps the most extreme is Yitzhak Ginsburgh, who heads the yeshivah at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, a tiny Israeli enclave inside Palestinian-controlled territory. A U.S.-born Chabad hasid, Ginsburgh declared a decade ago, after a group of his students went on a rampage in the village of Kifi Hatith killing a young girl, that ‘there is a difference between Jewish blood and Arab blood.’ Ginsburgh co-authored a book extolling (Baruch) Goldstein after the Hebron massacre..."  

Moshe Feiglin, whose Zo Artzeinu movement blocked major intersections in acts of civil disobedience during Rabin’s term, now says that, "The way Bibi’s acting creates fertile ground for Yigal Amirs."  

In The Report's view, "When it comes to fighting Jewish terror, the Shin Bet’s record is hardly glowing. It took the agency four years in the early ’80s to track down the Jewish terror underground, which sought both to retaliate for Arab terror attacks and to foil the withdrawal from Sinai. When Goldstein struck in Hebron, the army’s then chief of staff, Ehud Barak, likened the attack to ‘thunder on a clear day.’ And when (Yigal) Amir fired twice into Rabin’s back, it emerged that the Shin Bet had been looking out for an Arab assassin that night in Tel Aviv, not a Jewish one’...Repeatedly Jews convicted of violence or incitement have been released quickly, sending a too encouraging signal to extremists."

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© 2010 The American Council For Judaism.