An attack on an Israeli soldier is either an act of terror or an act of war…

Had his attackers been Arabs, the response would have been swift and decisive.  Either the soldier would have used his weapon and shot his attackers either seriously wounding or even killing them.  Had he failed to do so, security forces would have been deployed, arrests would have been made, where fathers, brothers and sons would have been dragged out of their houses, in front of their loved ones; arrested and taken away for questioning with serious consequences for some if not many.  A clear message would be sent to all “would be terrorists”.  Terror will not be tolerated and those who attack IDF personnel will be brought to “justice”.

Yesterday’s attack on an IDF soldier in the ultra-orthodox, Mea Shearim neighbourhood however, has gone without any such response. Essentially an attack on an IDF soldier by ultra-orthodox “extremisits” if you will; except for condemnation across the political spectrum, has been allowed to occur without consequences.  The perpetrators have more or less got away with it.  There have been a few arrests and some may even be scolded, but one thing is for sure…   There will be further attacks in the future.

Jewish extremists, be they religious, national or just plain racists have learned that in the eyes of the law, they are special.  They know that whereas Palestinians or Israeli Arabs who perpetrate such acts will suffer the full impact of the law and security apparatus, Jewish extremists in all their guises will be treated in a special manner.  Whether for political expediency, ideological identification or outright racism, these criminals who represent a clear and present danger to the security of Israel in addition to an immediate threat to the physical wellbeing of our soldiers; are given more often than not a free ride, or at worst wrapped on the knuckles and told to behave.

Those who guide and educate, or perhaps more accurately ill educate them are also left to spread their hate filled ignorance and perverted ideologies without fear of consequences.

Enough no more, whether it is extremist ultra-orthodox beating up a soldier, “hill top youth” settler extremists physically attacking soldiers while they carry out their orders, or other Jewish extremists attacking Palestinians and their property in so called price tag attacks, not to mention the attacks on IDF bases, personnel and even their families; only a Zero tolerance policy towards such behaviour will address the ever worsening situation.

Acts of violence against our soldiers are either acts of terror or acts of war.  All must be treated as such with the same consequences for all those who would perpetrate such acts.  If an ultra-orthodox man or group; physically attacks a soldier, the soldier should have the right, even obligation to defend himself, with his weapon if needs be.   When apprehended, these same attackers should then be prosecuted on charges of terrorism, where if found guilty, they receive the same punishment as applied any other terrorist attack.

Of course there are those who will argue that Jews should not be treated in the same manner as Arab or Palestinian terrorists and in this I might actually agree.

In my opinion Jews and any Israeli citizen for that matter; who attack IDF personnel in any manner whatsoever are far worse.  They betray the sacred bond between the IDF and the people of Israel.  Their acts are in effect, acts of treason.  They attack the very people tasked with their defence.  Israeli soldiers, our finest young men and women perform their duties in the IDF on behalf of us all and guarantee the security of each and every Israeli citizen regardless.  As such, we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.  Those of us who dare to attack or seek to harm them must understand that they will be treated as traitors and suffer the consequences to the full extent of the law.   Those who incite such behaviour must also be held accountable and prosecuted, without eception and wthout favour.  Zero tolerance means exactly that.  All those, without exception who seek or encourage others to harm Israeli soldiers will be harshly punished.

Only thus will people get the message.  Do not attack our soldiers!

In Israel we have a democratic process for all which has been hard won and is defended by the very same soldiers these people would attack.   If we don’t like government policies, there is a political system which enables us to challenge both the policies and the government itself.  Peaceful and non- violent protest is also and option.  Violence against our soldiers is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

About the Author
Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Gary Cohen is a writer, filmmaker and creative professional, based in Israel.