How Israelis Respond To Home Grown Militants


Reaction to the attack on a mosque in an Israeli Arab village this week was outrage, as it should be.

What’s distinguishes Israeli responses to Israeli acts of violence from Palestinian reactions to Palestinian violence is that Israeli leaders speak out forcefully against such brutality.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said these attacks have “no place in the state of Israel.” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the perpetrators were “criminals” trying to further damage Arab-Israeli relations.

Compare to that Palestinian leaders paying tribute to “martyrs” who blow themselves up in the hopes of killing innocent Israeli civilians and Islamic clerics urging their followers to kill Jews.

The fire at the mosque apparently was set by Israeli radicals, who wrote the word “price tag” on the outside wall of the holy place, in the village of Tuba Zanariya, in the Galilee. “Price tag” indicates that the radicals are acting in response to violence from Palestinians against settlers, or to the Israeli army for closing down settler outposts.

The number of militant settlers is very small, but the damage they can do is great. And the reports from authorities that some radicals are prepared to fire on Israeli soldiers is sad, and frightening.

More frightening is the very real prospect that the situation may well get worse before it gets better.

was editor and publisher of The Jewish Week from 1993 to 2019. Follow him at