There is a cancer growing in Israel. A Jewish cancer. The “Flame” or Lehava in Hebrew, are the fascist-like black-shirted extremists whose only mission is to beat up, kill and maim Palestinians and other non-Jewish minorities in Jerusalem.
An offshoot from the murderous followers of the outlawed Kach and those who heralded the assassination of 29 Muslims at prayer in the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron by the Israeli fanatic Baruch Goldstein,. the Lehava fanatics continue to spread their poison on the streets and byways of our Holy City.
Not only have Moslems been attacked but also Christian clergy, priests and nuns, whose lives are dedicated to the service of God.
I recall two incidents in past years when I was witness to this hatred and Jewish fanaticism, all contrary to the teaching of our sacred Torah. Once in Galilee I saw two yeshiva students, black coats, payot, and short beards attack an elderly Greek Orthodox priest as he was walking. They approached him, cursed at him in Hebrew and spat upon his clerical garb.
In total disgust, I chased them away, calling out their shame, and I ran to the Greek priest, greeted him in a few words in Greek, cleaned the spittle from his robe and apologized in the name of all decent Jews for the disgraceful act of non-reverence by zealous Jewish youth. He nodded his head with an “efxaristo” (thank you) and continued walking, meditating silently.
On another occasion I was shopping in the Armenian quarter of the Old City adjacent to St. James Monastery. A group of three or four priests were walking out of the gated monastery when an ultra-Orthodox Jew approached them, shouting at them in Yiddish “Arois, arois fun unser land, goyim”… get out of our country, using an impolite term for non-Jews.
All of us need to remember that our country is also called the Holy Land and it is indeed holy to the three monotheistic religions…. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All three faiths and their adherents love the land and revere its holiness.
Recent attacks on Arabs in Jerusalem by Lehava fanatics is a disgrace which must bring shame to decent people. Our police bear much of the guilt and responsibility because, although they and our authorities will deny it, the truth is that our police mainly close a blind eye to Jewish disturbances against Arab citizens while at the same time enforcing the law upon Arabs who attack Jews. We cannot abide a dual standard of justice in a democratic State.
Meir Kahane’s movement (Kach) was outlawed by our government as a criminal organization. His followers in Lehava must also be outlawed, arrested and brought to trial for crimes which they commit against innocent Arab by-standers . Lehava must be labeled a Jewish terrorist group and must be liquidated.
They are doing to our non-Jewish minority what the Poles did before and even after the war to their Jewish minority. For centuries Polish anti-Semitism targeted Jews wherever they could be seen.
In 1931, my wife’s grandfather boarded a train in Warsaw to attend the funeral of his mother in Dzialoszyce. A band of Polish teen-agers approached him on the train and with scissors in their hands they cut off his payot, cut much of his long beard and removed his wide black hat and yarmulke, threw it on the train’s floor and stomped upon it. Passengers seated in the nearby rows saw it, laughed, and did nothing to help a poor and elderly Jew en route to bury his mother.
In that year the cardinal of Poland, Augustus Cardinal Hlond issued the infamous cry “Zydzie do Palestyna”… Jews, go to Palestine. The anti-Semitic cry was followed by his two successors, Cardinal Sapieha and Cardinal Wyszinski. Poles were uprising to create pogroms and to intimidate Jews and boycott Jewish shops and professional personnel, doctors, lawyers, professors, etc
At that time, my wife’s grandfather decided it was time to leave Poland forever and he, his wife and five of his six children emigrated to Palestine. The sixth child remained in Poland and she died in the Warsaw ghetto.
Lehava is regrettably following a similar hateful pattern. “Non-Jews, get out of Israel”.
Hopefully, tragic history will not repeat itself. Hopefully our police will be more vigilant and fair. And hopefully our courts will declare Lehava, its leader Rabbi Gopstein, and its maniacal followers a menace to civil society and will liquidate Lehava from our midst.And a growing cancer will be eliminated.