Last Tuesday evening, a 35-year-old man, a schoolteacher and father of five from the Bedouin settlement of Hura, drove his car to Beer Sheba. There, he saw an elderly Jew riding his bicycle. He rammed him with his car and killed him. He drove away from the scene and stopped at a gas station, where he spotted a woman standing with her back to him. He stepped out of the car, drew an 8 inches long blade knife and stabbed her in the back. She turned to him and he stabbed her again. She fell on her back so he leaned over and stabbed her until she stopped moving. She died. He got into his car and drove on. Near a roundabout, he pulled over, went into a clothing store and drew his knife. He stabbed three people there, two men and a woman. The woman died. He went back to his car and saw an elderly man driving through the roundabout. He accelerated and crashed into the car. The elderly man was hurt and stunned. The schoolteacher got out of the car, drew his knife, and stabbed the elderly driver multiple times until he died. At that point, a bus driver saw what was happening, drew a gun, approached the attacker, and told him to put down the knife. The attacker jumped on him, too, but the bus driver pulled back and pulled the trigger. The stabber collapsed and died within seconds; the killing spree was over.
It is hard not to wonder how a father of five, a schoolteacher who spends his days educating children, can become so monstrous toward people from another faith. But when you think of what he himself was taught—that killing Jews, any Jew, not necessarily soldiers, rewards you with heaven above, admiration below, and a lifelong financial support for your family, courtesy of the Palestinian establishment, it becomes more understandable.
Indeed, the reward came right away. Hamas praised the killing, and the social media post in Arabic that the Israeli government posted about the slaying got more than 4,000 jeering faces within hours after posting.
In his past, the assailant spent five years in jail for membership in ISIS. Clearly, he had been filled with hatred from his youth, which led to his joining ISIS, and the hatred he absorbed there lived long after his release from jail. Indeed, the applause on social media proves that killing Jews is praiseworthy in the Arab society as a whole.
There is a solution to the problem, but it takes courage. Currently I do not see who among Israel’s leaders has it, but the solution will not change if we stall. It will only become more evident that there is no other way.
There are two steps to the solution. Since hostilities have reached a level that risk innocent civilians, the first step is to separate the two populations. Arabs and Jews can no longer live together; it is a fact of life, written in blood.
Jews and Arabs have a common father: Abraham. Just he said to his brother Lot, “Is the whole land not before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; and if to the right, then I will go to the left,” Jews must part from their Arab cousins.
The second step in mending the situation is to solidify Jewish unity through education. There will never be a military solution to the belligerence of our haters. As our leaders and sages have been telling us since the inception of our nation, the only thing that can dissolve the world’s hatred toward us is our own internal unity.
We, the nation that conceived the notion of loving others as ourselves must implement it on ourselves and set an example of unity and mutual responsibility. If we do, the world will welcome us, including the Arabs. If we do not, we will continue to suffer from senseless killings and the world’s hatred toward us will only grow more violent.
For more on the significance of Jewish unity, see my books Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour, and The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord.