I was wrong.
When Rabbi Miki Mark’s family was ambushed by Palestinian terrorists in a deadly terror attack near Hebron last month, a Palestinian couple came to their aid. In fact it is likely that this couple saved the lives of the critically hurt wife, and the two injured children not just by physically helping them, but by protecting them from further attacks while waiting for the authorities.
I thought it was great that the Arab couple helped; ‘great’ in the way that I would think of any human being helping another. But not anything extraordinary in that they were Palestinians. Because I do not assume all Palestinians to be terrorists. I would never have expected one person to be more likely to be a hero than any other person, regardless of their background, color, religion or where they live. And I still wouldn’t.
The following, however, is the piece that I was missing. The Arab man lost his job for helping Jews. He was fired. For. Helping. Jews. He was terminated for daring to help pull terrified and injured children out of a car that had been shot at and had flipped over. For daring to try to save the life of a father who had just been brutally attacked. For daring to help protect innocent people from more would-be terrorists. For daring to show his humanity…
What I was missing is that it’s not that ‘all Palestinians are terrorists;’ It’s that Palestinian society does not tolerate their own people being kind or caring – or human – to Jews or Israelis. They cannot tolerate any kind of normalization, cooperation… or just plain kindness. So yes, there may be many Palestinians who are of the ilk to save the life of a Jew; perhaps even most. But we’ll never know… Because the society – more like a big mafia – does not favor this natural humanity. In fact it suppresses it at every turn.
Yes, I was wrong. And I stand corrected. These Palestinians were absolutely heroes. To every stretch of the word. So please, Israel, let us set an example of how humanity works. Let us reward this true hero and provide him the work permit he needs so that he can find employment in Israel. It is the least we can do.