Blazing and Razing: Tempers and Demolitions

Can you feel the heat? Tempers are blazing throughout our country. Not just because of the increase in terrorist activities. Not just because the prices of Milky and cottage cheese are too expensive. No. Tempers are blazing because of the injustice of our High Court of Justice and their recent ruling to delay the command to demolish homes of accused terrorists.

It was a common practice, under Mandatory rule, to raze the homes of accused criminals, terrorists, rebels, and those who attacked British authorities. And it was successful. Families of the guilty were now homeless. It was a kind of collective punishment which many thought was unfair but which was successful at that time.

When an Arab home is razed, the parents, instead of reprimanding their rebellious children, blame the Jews. Instead of asking “Why did you do it? Now look what has happened to us. Because of your terrorist activity you have made your family homeless, to sleep like dogs in the street”, they praise their wayward sons and daughters, showering them with sweets for their “heroic and brave” deeds to defy the soldiers and police of the Zionists. The cry is heard throughout the rubble of their demolished homes: ”itbach al yahud”.. kill the Jews.

Our government, including several members of the opposition, favor the demolishing of homes seeing it as more effective than merely imprisoning the guilty youth. For that reason, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave the order to raze the homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank (our Judea and Samaria) of those found to be guilty of committing crimes against Jewish life and property. Some homes were razed to the ground.

And then, the Arabs who hate us as Jews, who hate Israel, who despise our laws, turned to the very courts which they hate in order to petition for a halt to the demolitions.

And our judges who sit on the benches of justice, “wise” men and women, knowledgeable of law, overturned the demolition command temporarily until each petitioner’s request could be addressed.

Should we be proud of our wise men of Chelm? Our elected leaders say one thing, our military leaders agree, our population in the majority agree, but the “bench-warmers”, upholders of the law, place law supreme above the safety of human lives.

I regret that we do not have a death penalty for the crimes of murder, treason, rape, and revolution against law and order in our beautiful land. But we are a humane people, a merciful people, sons and daughters of a merciful God. Many civilized nations have kept the death penalty as an option. Why have we not?

Our tempers continue to blaze while, for the moment, homes of Arab terrorists cannot be razed.

It is written in our sacred texts, “tzedek tzedek tirdof”, translated as “righteousness, righteousness shalt thou pursue”. I prefer a different translation: justice, justice shalt thou pursue.

Arab blood is not redder or more pure than the blood of slain innocent Israelis who walk, shop, drive their cars and are met with a hail of bullets or a knife in the back.

“Ayin tachat ayin” was an early biblical principle of justice. It was Moshe Rabbenu, Moses our law-giver, who changed that principle. Instead of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, the perpetrator was required to pay a certain sum of money to the victim.

That too is a law which we need to enforce. Families of murderers or terrorists must be required to pay a fine and compensation to their victims or survivors.

In the meantime, I have little respect for the judges of the High Court in our democratic nation. And if I could be the leader of our nation who makes the decision, demolition would be the order of the day.

And a happy retirement to the members of our High Court of Injustice.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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