Monday, June 06, 2005

Jews Harass Arabs & Arabs Harass Jews

Well, happy Yom Yerushalayim to one and all. On this day in 1967, Jerusalem, including Har HaBayit (the holiest place on earth, where all Jewish prayers are directed on their way to G-d in Heaven) and the Kotel (its western retaining wall), was reclaimed by the Israel Defense Force. As I drove in my car this morning, I heard the tapes of "Har HaBayit B'yadeinu!/The Temple Mount Is Ours!" and couldn't help but be emotionally and spiritually moved even if my car remained still. It truly is a great day and it was a great victory because Israel is not quite Israel without Jerusalem. As Prime Minister Sharon said fifteen days ago, Jerusalem is "the eternal and undivided capital" of the State of Israel. Let's hope he, and any other future Prime Minister, never forgets that.

My sense of excitement was, therefore, devastated when I opened up Ha'aretz this afternoon and saw that Arabs threw stones at Jews who went up, escorted of course, to Har HaBayit this afternoon. Even though it's ours, it's not really ours.

But within seconds of finishing the article I received a phone call from a friend who was sitting in "The Rova" even more despondent than I was. Apparently, the residents of the Arab Quarter of Jerusalem were put under house arrest today to allow for Jews to celebrate in all of the Old City unimpeded and undisturbed. So, of course, lots of people took part in dancing through the streets to celebrate the land which is ours. But along the way, whenever the crowd my friend was with saw a poster that Arabic on it, they ripped it down. And whenever they saw an Arab sitting on their second- or third-story porch above, they'd start shouting and screaming and banging on anything in sight. At one point, an Arab man shouted back, sick of the noise and defacement of his property. This only incited the Jewish group (which I'd venture to call a "mob" but considering I try to be as precise as possible and was not there in person, I'll hold off), which started shouting louder and banging louder-no doubt "disturbing the peace." At some point, a Jewish yeshiva boy spat at the Arab above, hitting him on the arm. The man was defenseless and did nothing to respond as Israeli policemen rushed in almost immediately, helping to keep things from escalating further.

The question is (and it's not just Jerusalem but other towns and cities such as Chevron on Yom Tov, Shechem when people want to daven at Kever Yosef etc): When is it appropriate to force Arab residents to stay in their houses so that Jews can play outside? And should this practice be allowed to continue when those who are permitted to play take it a step further and destroy your property, destroy your peace at home for a day, and destroy your dignity?

I think that people should be allowed in (at least occassionally) and we should be allowed to celebrate the victory in the land we captured, but this kind of stuff is entirely out of place. After all, the man who was spat on today could very well be the next projectile-launcher tomorrow. Do we really need more of those?


Post a Comment

<< Home