The Educator Who Can’t See Arab Blood

Moshe Hagar is an ex-colonel who now heads the religious pre-army academy, or mekhinah, at the settlement of Yatir south of Hebron. Such academies provide a year of study after high school, before army service. The idea is to increase motivation and develop leadership skills. The Hebrew web-page for Hagar’s academy (on a government website) says that its purpose is to encourage students

to internalize Judaism in various planes of life and to prepare them for meaningful army service that includes maintaining both a religious and nationalist lifestyle, and to take upon themselves the personal obligation to make a meaningful motivation during and after military service.

The curriculum, says the site, includes studying “Jewish faith” and musar (ethics).

Last Wednesday, Hagar was interviewed on Israel Radio about the religious right’s protests against the withdrawal from Gaza three years ago. His comments provide an insight into his view of faith and ethics. The key comment:

In the end, the disengagement passed with zero casualties…*

That the disengagement protests passed without casualties would surprise the residents of Shfaram, an Arab town in northern Israel. They’ve just marked the third anniversary of the terror attack carried out in their community by Eden Natan Zada, a far-right soldier who’d gone AWOL in protest against the disengagement. Natan Zada killed four people in Shfaram. (Natan Zada was himself killed by Shfaram residents, who will reportedly be charged with lynching him.)

Two weeks later another disengagement opponent, Asher Weisgan, killed four Palestinians who worked at the West Bank settlement of Shilo. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to four life terms. A report on his sentencing noted:

Weisgan, a settler from Shvut Rachel, said his objective had been to prevent the disengagement from proceeding.

For Moshe Hagar, it seems, the blood of Arab victims was invisible, unnoticed at the time, unremembered.

To be precise, though, the word “casualties” (and the Hebrew word that Hagar used) refers not just to fatalities but also injuries. Hagar has also forgotten the evacuation of Kfar Darom, where

dozens of youngsters barricaded themselves on the synagogue rooftop, and assaulted soldiers and police officers. Many police officers were injured in the clashes.

Apparently, Israelis in uniform also don’t count as casualties when they are injured by members of Hagar’s ideological camp. This is a strange attitude for someone responsible for inculcating Jewish ethics and respect for those serving the country.

To this I should add: First, the fact that the disengagement passed without more injuries and deaths was in part due to a remarkable, and unique, effort to train soldiers to maintain calm and use minimal force in facing protesters. Had, for instance, the police been as well-trained to deal with Palestinian protesters the day after Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in September 2000, perhaps no one would have been killed that day. The protests might have sputtered out instead of taking fire as the second Intifada.

Second, in the name of the Whole Land, the anti-disengagement protesters sought to maintain a situation in which a few thousand settlers controlled over a quarter of the Gaza Strip’s land, a situation in which settlers had full political rights while the rest of the Strip was at best a colonial protectorate. No one in the Gaza settlements proposed that in order for Gaza to remain under Israeli rule, the Palestinians be granted the rights of Israeli citizenship, including the right to vote for the Knesset. They wanted to keep the settlements’ peculiar institution of a two-tier political and legal reality. Not only were the protests often unlawful and sometimes violent, they were intended to maintain a racist reality that was an affront to Israeli democracy. (Though all historical parallels are rough, this is the basis for my rhetorical comparison in a previous post between an Israeli stamp adorned with the orange ribbon of the anti-disengagement movement and an imagined American one commemorating the KKK.)

Third, the left erred before the disengagement by not objecting more strongly to the manner in which Ariel Sharon left Gaza – unilaterally, outside of any diplomatic process with the Palestinians. Leaving in that manner, Israel empowered Palestinian extremists and undermined supporters of a political agreement. Clear-eyed people saw that danger, and did not speak loudly enough. Leaving was necessary, but not in that manner.

*Corrected version. The original version of this post mistakenly said “without.”

22 thoughts on “The Educator Who Can’t See Arab Blood”

  1. More trash from you, just like you wrote in the stamps thread. You say:

    ———————————————
    For Moshe Hagar, it seems, the blood of Arab victims was invisible, unnoticed at the time, unremembered.

    ———————————————

    I say “for Goremberg, Shimon Peres and the rest of the ‘progressives’ who brought Arafat and his terror gangs, the blood of the Jews AND Arabs which was spilled in the terror war he unleashed is INVISIBLE”.
    What did Arafat do BEFORE Oslo? He unleashed a civil war in Jordan, leading to thousands of dead. What did he do after that? He unleashed a civil war in Lebanon that lead to tens of thousands of dead. So Peres, with the support of blind fools like yourselves, said “bring Arafat and his terror gangs to Israel, they will provide security for us”. We said “but they are mass murderers!”. You all said “it doesn’t matter, he’s ‘changed’.” Well, he didn’t change. There are thousands of families who lost loved ones in the terror attacks which began immediatel upon his arrival (before St Rabin was killed)’, people maimed or crippled for life, millions of dollars of damage. So where is the fellow who foisted this monstrous crime on Israel? Peres is now President. And you are ignoring the blood that was spilled because of a crime you knowingly supported. YOU ARE BLIND TO THE BLOOD THAT WAS SPILLED!

  2. More trash from you, just like you wrote in the stamps thread. You say:

    ———————————————
    For Moshe Hagar, it seems, the blood of Arab victims was invisible, unnoticed at the time, unremembered.

    ———————————————

    I say “for Goremberg, Shimon Peres and the rest of the ‘progressives’ who brought Arafat and his terror gangs, the blood of the Jews AND Arabs which was spilled in the terror war he unleashed is INVISIBLE”.
    What did Arafat do BEFORE Oslo? He unleashed a civil war in Jordan, leading to thousands of dead. What did he do after that? He unleashed a civil war in Lebanon that lead to tens of thousands of dead. So Peres, with the support of blind fools like yourselves, said “bring Arafat and his terror gangs to Israel, they will provide security for us”. We said “but they are mass murderers!”. You all said “it doesn’t matter, he’s ‘changed’.” Well, he didn’t change. There are thousands of families who lost loved ones in the terror attacks which began immediatel upon his arrival (before St Rabin was killed)’, people maimed or crippled for life, millions of dollars of damage. So where is the fellow who foisted this monstrous crime on Israel? Peres is now President. And you are ignoring the blood that was spilled because of a crime you knowingly supported. TO YOU , THE JEWISH AND ARAB BLOOD THAT WAS SPILLED AS A RESULT OF THAT CRIME YOU SUPPORTED IS INVISIBLE.

  3. Acknowledging the negative results of the unilateral nature of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Aaron David Miller argues in his recent book, The Much Too Promised Land, that, were Sharon to have attempted to negotiate, Israel still would be occupying Gaza.

    Have you considered Miller’s point? (This is a genuine, non-polemical question.)

  4. Mr Burns-
    You obviously didn’t read what I wrote-I EXPLCITLY mentioned Arab victims more than once, not to mention Arafat’s Arab victims in Jordan and Lebanon. The Palestinians were the BIGGEST victims of the Oslo crime.

  5. No matter what has been done to one in the past, one is still responsible for what one does at the present time. This applies to groups as well as individuals.

    Who can ever forgive the suicide bombers who take innocent lives? What drives suicide bombing if retaliation for past events?

    Your post put me in mind of something I recall reading in one of Twain’s books. A boiler explosion on a steamboat brought a remark about how it killed some niggers but nobody was hurt.

    The other night I watched The Battle of Algiers. The French colonel in command in Algiers in response to press queries about torture responds by asking if anyone wants France to leave Algeria. If not, then the methods used to maintain control must continue. In the end, though the colonel is successful in crushing the organized resistance, the Algerians themselves rise up spontaneously against French authority. Though it is not specifically stated, the implication is that the French in France are so repulsed by the brutal repression that they decide to look for a way out.

    This is the most powerful motive for action – the idea that I (we) cannot do what I am doing and live with myself, because if I do then I am not who I think I am and in failing to stop I am destroying myself. M. L. King Jr. knew this in challenging whites to see themselves for what they were as opposed to what they claimed to be.

    The Palestinians have no M.L. King Jr., but this is the tragedy of Israel’s occupation.

  6. Y.Ben David: It’s hard to tell where you are going with such vitriolic comments. The bromide ” lets reason together “seems to be lost with such outbursts. It sounds strangely familiar to the Serbian right wing ,that justify their atrocities on the Croatian and Albanian cooperation with the Nazis’.

    Name-calling does not substitute for meaningful disagreements ,something right-wingers haven’t learned yet.Nationalism seems to have been at the heart of most of the wars in the last 100 years

    Maybe Mr. Peres has learned from the sad experience of the Lebanon adventure certainly Sharon didn’t.

    Some my friends when they hear some of my opinions say ” aren’t you proud to be an American?” I say no! I’m proud to be a member of the human race not some accident of birth to identify me as a person.”Of all the causes which conspire to blind,

    Man’s erring judgement,and misguide the mind,
    What the head with strongest bias rules,
    Is pride ,the never-failing vice of fools”

    Alexander Pope 1688-1744

    I think the Israeli right should consider the aforesaid quote in the future

  7. George, having human genes is no less an accident of birth (or conception, if you will) than being born in a particular country or to particular parents. It’s not a feather in your or my cap that we’re human beings, just like it’s not an ant’s fault that it’s not. We can only pride ourselves on what we make of it.

  8. Y. Ben-David,

    Looking back at what you wrote, I did misrepresent you. I apologize.

    That being said, the whole idea that the Arab Palestinian blood spilled primarily by Israel is really the fault of Arab leaders like Arafat is a classic way for Jewish Israelis to dodge responsibility for their acts.

  9. Fiddler: You are so right I stand corrected ” proud” was a poor choice of words.i’m glad my life worked out better that my genetic baggage which includes a heart that needed five bypasses to keep going and diabetes

  10. Y, so what? What difference does it make what Arafat may or may not have done? That’s simply a diversion and irrelevant to Gershom’s post.

    What I think you’re trying to do is cancel out any guilt the settlers may bear by bringing up some bad thing that some Arab/Muslim did somewhere in some place in time. So it’ s a wash then, isn’t it Y? And we therefor can’t fault settlers, can we?

  11. Mr Hilborn-
    If you notice, the tone of my comments has certainly changed. This is because I was and am still outraged by Gershon’s comparison of the Jews of Gush Katif to the Ku Klux Klan. I am willing to accept an apology for that vile comparison, which to make it even worse, was made during the 9-day period of mourning for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem which we are now in the midst of.

    He knows better than anyone that that is a false analogy….but I stand by what I said in the thread about the stamps…if he insists that by them being “settlers”, this automatically makes them like the Klan, then he is no better himself.

  12. Mr Burns,

    Who is responsible for the millions of Germans who died in the Second World War-Hitler or the Allies?

  13. Y, though we seem to disagree on other matters, I think the KKK comparison was a bit vulgar.

    I’m sure Gershom is now furiously composing a deep and heartfelt apology to the Klan for equating them to Gaza settlers.

  14. Y Ben David : One other thing I wish to take issue with you and that is the mocking of the memory of Yitzhak Rabin by calling him “St. Rabin”.You can show your displeasure in a more meaningful way rather than besmirch him in such a tacky way. This Christian considers Rabin to be a giant along side so many “also rans” and a credit to Israel and the rest of the world who paid the ultimate price for his beliefs

  15. As I did not hear the interview, I cannot be sure but I am more than convinced that when Hagar said “In the end, the disengagement passed with zero casualties…”, his context most probably was (and the question he answered was not quoted) that the media had threatened the Israeli public with the picture of extremist settlers and their frothing-at-the-mouth supporters seeking to scare them that pandemonium and anarchy were about to break loose. The “casualties” Hagar, I presume, was referring to were those supposed to be have been caused by the protestors against the army, police, politicians and what not.

    The comment about the invisible Arabs could be made about almost anything more than half the left-wing politicians say.

    In other words, a low-blow by Gershom.

    P.S. Weisgan eventually hanged himself in jail. Someone could think that was an indication as to his general mental state – at the time of his suicide and perhaps at the time of his murderous attack on Arabs.

  16. Yisrael Medad is probably the last person who should refer to a “low blow” –unless he renames his blog MyLowBlows.blogspot.com. Like most settlers, Yisrael has far too much time on his hands, and he uses much of his time (and much of his blog) to disparage those who believe that Israel’s land grabs are unsustainable –politically, economically and morally.

  17. Shimon, I hope you don’t mind me recalling to you the basic principles of democracy, which include freedom of speech. I think my arguments on behalf of the revenant population in the Jewish national homeland are logical, rational, cogent and fairly indisputable. Sometimes I express an opinion that, I am sure, could be phrased better but I was born in The Bronx. Please point our any outrageous disparagements and I promise to review my language.

  18. Sorry, Yisrael: A settler is a settler is a settler. However much you may want to re-brand your morally repugnant colonies with reference to the “revenant population in the Jewish national homeland,” you will not succeed.

    Quit Palestine, and go back to the Bronx. You and other Jewish supremacists have brought nothing but misery to our country.

  19. Shimon, the Arabs will appreciate it if you back to Poland or Morocco or Russia or wherever YOU came from. Why do you have more of a right to live here then us American olim?

  20. For Ben-David and Yisrael,

    It seems that you don’t understand the basic point here: American olim are welcome in Israel, but why should they make aliyah to the West Bank and Gaza? These are areas that are considered Palestinian territory under international law.

    Such a simple fact…..Perhaps your ulpan didn’t teach this?

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