Note: This is a translation of an opinion piece published in the most recent issue of the Hebrew .weekly Besheva. Full disclosure: Libman is our oldest son's brother-in-law
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Leave the Kids Alone!
by Yehuda Libman
translated by Janet Kasten-Friedman
An open letter to the leaders of the Judea and Samaria Regional Councils:
I address you gentlemen with great respect for the important work you have done for settlement and public diplomacy. I have great admiration for your dedication to the development and growth of communities in the Shomron.
I don't know what the Defense Minister showed you when you met with him. With all due caution, I feel confident in saying: "He got you where he wants you!"
It started with pretentious proclamations that "we know everything!", and ended with calls to National-Religious rabbis and public figures to do collective soul-searching.
The ones who should now be doing some soul-searching are the people in charge of the legal and security establishments, and their clerks, who continue in the ways of their predecessors by skewing the law against the right-wing in general, and Judea and Samaria's Jews in particular.
Since the tragedy in Duma, a de-legitimization process has been conducted against many young men and boys. They were lumped together in one category, that of murderers and enemies. This de-legitimization was done without discernment, and without considering Jewish ethics or legal justice.
With the continued incarceration of these Jews, as the stories of brutal interrogation methods echo in the ears of the public, a massive campaign started. The public protested the using of "emergency measures" against these young men, and gave support to their families, who found themselves helplessly cut off outside a wall of secrecy and torment.
Unfortunately, the release of the "wedding dance" pictures has given a green light to collective stigmatization, and again we find ourselves to be a defamed and disgraced sector, expected to defend and justify our very existence.
Those kids grew up in the shadow of the exile and destruction of Gush Katif. They experienced or heard about the brutal scenes at Amona. The majority of them know all too well how the long arm of the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister systematically destroyed every collection of shacks throughout Judea & Samaria, while before their eyes, they see massive Arab building going up without being inconvenienced in any way. (What percentage of Arab buildings have building permits? Do you know? Does anybody know? -- JKF)
As parents and teachers of children of this age, we cannot count on the judicial and defense authorities to behave with justice or good faith. We cannot stand on the sidelines when our children are harassed by them, while the media blares incitement against us.
The present Defense Minister and all his assistants have torn out the development of new settlements by the roots. Throughout his period in office, he has blocked all natural growth in Judea and Samaria by refusing to issue building permits in existing communities. His fear of international censure and American pressure infuriates the heart of every Zionist Jew. Why should we listen to his preaching to us about the education of our children?!
The prosecutors in the Justice Ministry work day and night to expedite the conviction of every right-wing activist who gets caught up in a situation in which he must defend himself or his family. Any civilian or military action designed to strengthen the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel is quickly stymied by "legal advisors" who haunt every government ministry, security force or civil administration. As long as there is still a "Special Tasks Department" of the Justice Ministry, which was founded by the enemies of Jewish settlement from within, we have no reason to trust that establishment, nor their staff and their recommendations. That includes the responsible minister (Ayelet Shaked -- JKF) who until now enjoyed our great esteem.
The judges of the courts are only able to close their "right eye" in their infuriating judgments to destroy populated homes, synagogues, and neighborhoods standing for 15 years or more in our communities. With arrogant strokes of their pen they repeatedly reject every measure out of step with their post-Zionist ideology. Do you really expect us to trust them to protect the rights of our jailed children?!
The Israel Security Agency (Shabak) is important for the State of Israel; it has proven itself to be thorough and professional in the work for which it was created. The department working against espionage and subversion, which includes within it the "Jewish Division", has failed time after time in the last twenty years in their periodic attempts to declare the existence of a new "Jewish Underground" or "Jewish Terror Cell". Apparently there ain't such an animal! It doesn't exist and never will! The vast majority of the struggle is the spiritual/ideological issue of the nature of the Jewish State, and the campaign is above-board and visible to all. The Shabak authorities invest energy uselessly and destructively by searching for enemies among right-wing activists, a search which has no legal or moral basis. In a well-functioning legal system, the vast majority of the actions taken against right-wing activists would be performed solely by the police. Their lack of success in this assignment (to uncover a non-existent "Jewish Underground" -- JKF) causes them to repeat operational errors which lead to frustration, whose price continues to be paid by innocent people, past and present. Our children are feeling it, body and soul.
So please, leave the education of our children to us! We are diligently and responsibly teaching them the values of the Torah and its precepts, strengthening our presence in the Land of Israel, performing acts of kindness and helping other people, mobilizing for national security and national service, and standing strong for the honor of Israel which is the honor of the Almighty.
Now, council heads, esteemed and beloved community leaders, let us all regain our composure and give a to our Prime Minister in a single voice: leave the kids alone! Return to sanity and ethical behavior. Put your own houses in order in the bodies with which you have been entrusted. Join us in fulfilling the vision of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel. May G-d accomplish His purpose through us!