Stop Calling Israel’s Response “Revenge”

How is arresting people who may have information on the kidnapping of three Jewish boys “revenge”? How is bombing the infrastructure of Hamas – the terrorist group directly responsible for this kidnapping and murder – considered “revenge”? How is bombing strategic targets in Gaza to stop rocket fire on Israeli civilians “revenge”?

I’ve seen many articles lately accusing Israel of only seeking revenge against the murderers of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel. I’ve even seen writers accuse Israel of “collective punishment” against the Palestinian-Arabs in Judea and Samaria. These accusations are based in pure emotion and misrepresentations of the facts.

The IDF arrested hundreds of Palestinian-Arabs while searching for the three innocent teenagers. Soldiers arrested those suspected of possessing information about the crime or those involved in Hamas (the terrorist group responsible for this act of terror).

Arresting people with information about the crime and people with ties to the organization that committed the crime is not “collective punishment” or “revenge.” Rather, it is a logical way to find those responsible for the crime.

Those who accuse the IDF of taking revenge in this respect also may not understand the impact a kidnapping has on Israeli society. The kidnapping and murder of three innocent boys in Israel brings the entire country to tears; it is the most devastating thing that can happen to the Jewish state. To put it into perspective, demographically speaking, it is the equivalent of terrorists kidnapping and murdering 120 American children.

If this (G-d forbid) ever happened in the US, we would expect the American military to do everything it can to bring back its boys and find the terrorists who committed the heinous crime. Just like Israelis expect the IDF to do everything it can to find the terrorists who murdered Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali, even if it means temporarily inconveniencing the lives of Palestinian-Arabs in Hebron (which is only necessary because Hamas operatives commit the war crime of using civilians as human shields and hiding in densely populated civilian areas).

Many activists also accuse Israel of “revenge” after it bombed terrorist targets in Gaza. But bombing the terrorist group responsible for these murders and weakening its infrastructure is not revenge. Rather, it is a logical step to weaken the organization’s leadership and hinder its ability to commit a similar crime in the future.

These strategic bombings in Gaza also aim to thwart the dozens of rockets Hamas has fired into Israel in the past few days. This is not revenge; it is defending Israel’s civilians from terror. Even if Israel decided to launch an operation with the intent of obliterating Hamas, it would be a logical move to stop rocket fire at civilians and prevent further kidnappings from taking place. It would not be “revenge.”

A young Arab teenager was murdered by what appears to be an act of revenge. This is a terrible crime and the terrorists (who are presumably Jewish) responsible for this crime should be locked in prison for life.

Many are claiming this is an example of Israel taking revenge. However, this is not the case.

If proven to be a crime committed by Israelis, the criminals who did this represent a microscopic minority in Israel. Nearly all of Israeli society, including the Israeli government, condemned this crime. Israel did not commit this crime; rather, a few idiots did. We must remember that every country in the world has racists who do terrible things; Israel is no exception.

On the other hand, the Palestinian-Arab governments advocate for these acts of terror. Both the PLO and Hamas continuously tell their people to hate and kill Jews. Hamas even advocates for the kidnapping of Jews. Furthermore, both the PLO and Hamas celebrated the murder of these three boys and joked about it in their media outlets.

We must make this distinction while talking about revenge: The Israeli government promotes peace and condemns acts of terror, while the Palestinian-Arab governments continuously promote this terrorism.

It makes sense that bloggers feel emotional at this time, as Israel is going through a very difficult series of events. However, we must not let our emotions allow us to lash out at Israel for responding to the worst of terrorist attacks in a logical and normal way.

About the Author
Zach is the Managing Director of ZOA Campus, the campus branch of the Zionist Organization of America. Before working for the ZOA, he worked in Israel advocacy in Tel Aviv. Zach is a graduate of the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism.
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