A Guide to Downplaying Jihadist Terror in Israel

Israel suffers from terror attacks carried out by Jihadists on a daily basis. Whether its rocket attacks from Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, shootings on the roads in Judea and Samaria (yes, even at ambulances), or firebombs thrown at Jewish homes in Jerusalem, we have it all, and yes unfortunately it happens each and every day.

But it seems that way too often our security services and perhaps our defense establishment tries to minimize these attacks, especially when they are deadly. Maybe this is an attempt to calm the general public when the truth is that we have been facing an upsurge in attacks since last summer’s Gaza Operation – and in reality ever since we signed the doomed Oslo Accords over 20 years ago.

Whatever the true reason is, it can’t be denied that time and time again we are seeing these attacks being swept under the rug. How is this done? In certain cases, deadly attacks are initially dubbed ‘accidents,’ and only days later when the general public is lulled back into our own realities, and the incidents are no longer worthy of a front page headline, are we told the truth.

Take the example of the September 2014, terror murder of Israeli construction worker Netanel Arami.

Police initially reported the murder as an accident when 26-year-old Arami, a father of three (his wife was pregnant with their third child when he was murdered), plummeted to his death from a high-rise construction site in Petach Tikva. After the police kept the details of the incident under wraps for two months, the Shin Bet finally acknowledged that Arab workers on the site purposely cut the ropes that Arami had been rappelling on in a ‘nationalistic’ terror attack.

And then there is the case of Asher and Yonatan Palmer, a father and infant son murdered on September 23, 2011, by a gang of terrorists who threw a boulder from a moving vehicle at the Palmer’s car traveling near Hevron causing it to flip over in a ditch killing them both. The incident, which occurred on a Friday afternoon, similar to the Arami tragedy was also initially labeled an accident.  

Only two days later on Sunday did reports begin to surface that the Palmer’s were murdered in a deliberate attack – which subsequently was determined by an Israeli military court to have been a premeditated and well-planned murder in which the terrorists practiced throwing rocks from moving vehicles for an entire month prior in order to enhance their skills to carry out a successful attack.

Another stalling strategy when terror isn’t labeled ‘terror’ from the start occurs in other types of cases where Israeli deaths can’t be attributed to mere accidents. Take for example the murder just last week of 70-year-old Israeli farmer David Bar-Kapara from Rehovot. While all signs indicate that this was a terror attack carried out by Arabs who crossed into pre-1967 Israel illegally and beat Bar-Kapara to death for being a Jew, the investigation continues with no definitive motives revealed, as day by day the story loses steam in the press. The victim’s family members however have no doubt that this was an attack in the name of Jihad.

A similar pattern unfolded after the death of 19-year-old Shelly Dadon from Afula who was murdered by an Arab cab driver on April 30, 2014. Police initially said it was a “possible terror attack,”and then Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch back-tracked saying it might have been a criminal attack. And finally only several months later did the Shin Bet say that it believes it was a “nationalistic” murder.

So what is really going on here? I can’t prove my theories about the true reasons the establishment is downplaying the terrorism time and time again. But I can say with confidence based on these cases, that this is an unacceptable phenomenon. It is certainly not fair to the families who are coping with unimaginable pain as the truth behind the murder of their loved ones is whitewashed. And it’s also not fair to the general public that has the right to be told that vigilance is needed, and most importantly has the right to be protected against these types of Jihadist threats.

About the Author
Joshua Hasten is the International Spokesperson for Gush Etzion. He is host of the weekly “Israel Uncensored” radio broadcast on The Land of Israel Network, as well as an international Middle East Correspondent in print and on television. Joshua is also a sought-after speaker around the world. His workshops and lectures on pro-Israel advocacy have impacted thousands. Joshua was the CAMERA organization’s 2009 Letter Writer of the Year, and is a member of the Judea and Samaria Speaker’s Bureau. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, he resides in Gush Etzion, Israel.