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The recent spate of terror attacks in Jerusalem has sparked calls to "do something" from all quarters. Everyone offers a 'solution' that suits their ideological convictions and political needs. Following the latest depraved bulldozer attack, there were again demands to destroy the houses of suicide terrorists.

The problem with the suggestion of destroying homes of terrorists is that other than letting off steam, it seems to serve no purpose. An IDF study had earlier indicated that the policy did not deter terrorists, which is why it was discontinued. It makes sense, If a person is willing to blow himself to bits or face certain death, they are unlikely to worry about having their house destroyed. A man who abandons his family and gives up his life to kill Jews is probably not really concerned about whether or not his family will have a place to live while he is enjoying his 72 perpetual virgins in paradise.

On the other hand, dovish Israelis suggest that acts of terror originating with Jerusalem Arabs should be a motivation for giving up Arab parts of the city. There are perhaps good reasons for compromising on Jerusalem and turning over Arab areas to Palestinian rule. Jabel Mukaber and Shuafat were never Jewish national or religious symbols. That is a matter for political consideration. But responding to terror by making concessions is a really bad idea. When I lived in Jerusalem, in the area that had been part of Israel since 1949, a Katyousha rocket landed a block from my apartment, on Kaf Tet November Street. Should Israel have given up Kaf Tet November street in order to avoid terror attacks? In the fifties, terrorists infiltrated and attacked just south of Rehovot. Should we have given up Rehovot to avoid terror attacks?

The most obvious solution has not been suggested. Retreating in the face of terror and blowing up houses are not taboo, but this solution apparently is. The last three attacks, the two bulldozer attacks and the attack on Yeshivat Merkaz Harav, were carried out by Arabs who worked for Jews. Without advocating denial of employment to all non-Israeli Arabs, is it nonetheless too much to suggest that if more Jews were available to do these jobs, there would be less non-Israeli Arabs doing them, or to demand periodic in depth security checks? If some Yeshiva students had studied bus driving, not a forbidden occupation by Jewish law, perhaps the tragedy of Merkaz Harav Yeshiva would have been averted, and if there was an adequate pool of Israeli bulldozer operators, offered a reasonable salary, the bull dozer attacks would not have taken place. A fanatic with an Islamist skull cap who works for less money than Israelis but goes on a rampage and injures or kills people is not a great "bargain." Apparently however, advocating decent wages and Israeli labor is a forbidden idea, unlike retreating in the face of terror or destroying houses of presumably innocent relatives.

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/00000584.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: 3 Comments



On the name, I'm sorry it must be mj bad typing which I see I have repeated in the last message, and will try not to do again.

On the more substantive issue, I think your facts have convinced me that what I still think will work with the Gaza families will not work with the bulldozer families.

In addition, I now see that this sort of collective punishment of Israeli citizens is not compatible with the principles of a free and democratic society.

Unfortunately, I don't see that your solution of hopgin for more orthodox Jews to take up bulldozer driving is any solution, especially in the short term.

And it does not help that organs like the BBC keep sending out misleading headlines.

All the best, John

John Furedy, Friday, July 25th

Theories are nice, facts are inconvenient. In both cases of bulldozer attacks, the families insisted publicly that they oppose terror and violence. That is not like the Gaza terrorists. Moreover, the IDF study showed that there was no deterrent effect from the destruction of houses, while we know that it causes radicalization and gives opponents of Israel an "issue."

Why do you insist on calling me "Ari?"

Ami Isseroff

Ami Isseroff, Thursday, July 24th

It is true that for the murdered the 72 virgins (together witih his positive self esteem at being a martyr for the cause) is likely to outeigh any penalty suffered by his family.
However, while growing up, this murderer has been encourgaed by other members of his family to view maartyrdom in a positive light, and that family encouragmenet is likely to decrease if other family members know that they will lose their house as a consequence of his martyrdom, even if the family may be lauded by their peers. The family is also likely to think twice before encouraging another of their sons to be given to the cause.

So I don't think that the motives of the individual martyr is the only issue to consider in connection with punishing the martyr's family.

In contrast to this solution, I think Ari's solutoin of getting more orthodox Jews to take up bus driving over torah study, this mahy be a good idea, but surely Israelis cannot wait for this solution to be implemented. Better, I think, to deal with the undesirable behavior of Israeli-Arab martyrs by punishing the famlies which have nurtured them and which gain presstige from giving martyrs to the cause.

All the best, John

Ari and I had a similar argument about the policy of wiping our the spots from which rockets are fired, with a 24 warning to reduce civilian injuries. I think the same principle of behavior modification applies there, but in that case there is the added difficulty that weapons have to be emploiyed outside Israel, rather than what is essentially a civil aciton that occurs also when a super highway is put through a neighbourhood some of whose occupants are not happy about it.

John Furedy, Thursday, July 24th

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