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In 2002, a riot at Concordia University forced cancellation of a speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Regardless of our political positions, we all remember this shameful incident with barely suppressed rage. It was an insult to academic freedom, and to us as Jews and Zionists. We were all indignant that university authorities knuckled under to the dictates of the vicious mob. Pro-Palestinian writers were naturally gleeful about the incident, and lauded it with more than the usual measure of mendacious vituperation about Israeli war crimes and inventions that Netanyahu advocates mass transfer of Palestinian Arabs (Here is a sample: http://tinyurl.com/2tu4f7).

An even greater outrage to the dignity of the Jewish state and its representatives has occurred. A minister of the Government of Israel has been cursed, beaten, kicked and spat upon at an academic institution.

What should be done to those who drag the sovereignty of the Jewish people in the mud? Isn't every Zionist organization, every Zionist blogger, every Jew who loves Israel, rushing to condemn this barbarity? Shouldn't the authorities arrest those malevolent anti-Semites that dare to insult our government and its institutions? Surely, if such an incident had occurred at a UN anti-racism conference, or at Columbia University or Concordia, we would all be demanding an apology and swift action by the authorities. Surely those who speak out incessantly against academic boycotts of Israel in the name of freedom understand the need to respect the views of others, as well as the dignity of representatives of a sovereign state, which has been sacrosanct since ancient times.

These events did not take place in a foreign bastion of anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic hatred. Unbelievably, they took place in Israel, in Jerusalem. Israel Education minister Yuli Tamir was attacked by a vicious mob while paying a condolence call to respect the memory of the eight Merkaz Harav Yeshiva students who died in last week's terror attack. It happened at an institution that touts itself as the heart of Zionism, but is apparently nothing of the kind. It happened at an institution that claims to embody the best of Judaism. It turns out that "the best of Judaism" condones the beating of Israeli ministers. Further, it justifies the violation of the sanctity of the Shiva mourning period. What sort of evil and degenerate barbarians introduce violence at the most heartbreaking of human and religious observances?

Incredibly, there are those who justify this outrage in the name of Zionism and Judaism, because they, like the degenerate mob, disagree with Yuli Tamir's political opinions. Incredibly, the heads of this Yeshiva have the temerity to refuse to grant Prime Minister Ehud Olmert the "privilege" of visiting the Yeshiva, a state supported institution to pay a condolence call. The Yeshiva and their supporters may hold whatever political opinions they like. Violence and dishonor of the elected representatives of our state is not an acceptable method of expressing those opinions. If there is no government and no state, the status of united Jerusalem or the future of settlements would be as irrelevant as the arguments between Litvaks and Hassidim after the Nazi invasion of Poland.

The tragic deaths of these youths united all of Israel for one brief moment. The aim of the terrorists, whether they strike at Merkaz Harav or Kibbutz Metzer, at Sbarro's pizzeria or Sderot, is the same: to drive us out of our country by sowing terror, fear, panic and discord. They could scarcely wish for a greater victory than dishonoring the government of Israel and dissolution of Israel into anarchy. The mob that beat a minister of the Israeli government did the work of the mobs in Gaza and their masters.

The modern state of Israel and its institutions are the shining achievement of Zionism. Those who care about Israel are duty bound to defend the physical safety and the dignity of the officials of the state and their dignity. They represent the dignity of the Jewish people, not this or that political opinion. Make no mistake. Those who participated in this violence are tearing down everything that we have built here in the last hundred years with their own hands. Those who support them are betraying the Jewish people as perfidiously and perversely as the worst anti-Zionists.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2008. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000505.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 5 Comments

Stan Kohls:

When Orthodox Jews start dancing in the streets and handing out candies to celebrate the murder of unarmed civilians who qualify for death by virtue of being "the Other", or actually sending a suicide killer into an Arab school in East Jerusalem, Gaza or the West Bank, etc., you can paint such portraits of moral equivalence.

The attack on Yuli Tamir was horrific, but down in great grief, anger and frustration at the government's inability to protect its citizens within Israel's borders and not because they were orchestrating a Hamas-style puetsch against members and supporters of Fatah.

Lynne T, Tuesday, March 11th


Sounds like Israel has its own version of Hamas. The inflexibility of the religious fanatics of Merkaz Harav make any accomodation with Israel's neighbors very difficult. But without this accomodation, how can Israel survive?

stan kohls, Tuesday, March 11th


Oh I see that you didn't bother to mention that the Education Minister Yuli Tamir also happens to be a founder of ultra-left Peace Now who has used her position to the detriment of religious education - cutting budgets, preventing national service girls from teaching in public schools, and more prior to the tragedy that engulfed their Yeshiva. Oh dear oh me, Ehud Barak got quite a different reception from the same crowd. Even more civilized the Maariv newspaper in an editorial opined afterwards, "Yuli Tamir should not have gone to the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva. While this is an educational institution, Tamir did not visit it in order to inspect its curriculum and administration. She arrived after a security event, knowing that as a 'leftist', she stood to be on the receiving of end of all kinds of violence." On consideration of what you wrote above sir, you are a ideologue who lacks integrity.

Larry Riteman, Tuesday, March 11th


I find it disgusting not only for the contemptuous uncivilized behaviour that you refer to, but I also find disgusting your sanctimonius villification of these peoples' lapse in judgment, this is sophistry with no desire to analyze the context, this government has inflicted on their fellow Jews. Mr. Pragmatist your not, Mr. Democrat your not, your content portrays you as an ideologue attempting verbal conjury

Larry Riteman, Monday, March 10th


We are all upset about this horrendous terrorist act that occurred at Mercaz Harav in Jerusalem. In the hour of grief we received a reminder of the right wing religious Zionists' intolerance of those whose world view is different. It is the same mould that fosters hate and division in Israel's society and who knows, even future assassins. The cynical use of the mourning period to castigate the left and progressive elements in Israeli society is despicable! They behave as if the elected Israeli government is their enemy.

Shimon Z. Klein, Monday, March 10th


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