Security guards secure scene after a Palestinian rams car into crowd waiting for a bus

A terrorist ran over 4 innocent kids on the way back from school in Newton, Massachusetts. That is, of course, not a real headline or real news, but change Newton to Jerusalem, Ramat Gan, or Haifa and it very well might be. Israel is in the midst of one of the largest waves of terrorism since the Second Intifada in the early 2000s. Knowing this fact is vital to understanding why Israel took a hard pivot to the extreme in the most recent election, where a nationalist hardliner like Itamar Ben-Gvir rises to power.  

Americans and Europeans are worried about the recent election, and what they need to know is the problem is not Ben Gvir and his debatable past of being a semi-violent activist against the Palestinian ideology, he is merely the reaction to the underlying issue, the extremism, and glorification of violence within Palestinian society. Oddly enough, it was then-Senator Hillary Clinton in 2007 that warned this would happen when she blasted the school textbooks in Palestine that were being funded by American tax dollars. These textbooks elevated suicide bombers to god-like status, people who took with them women, children, and ordinary Israeli citizens going about their daily lives on buses and stores. The textbooks glorified the killing of Jews and portrayed Zionists as thieves and charlatans.

In any other western country no matter how liberal and accepting the government is, cold-blooded killers motivated by any sort of movement are never acceptable. The rise of Ben Gvir has nothing to do with a loss of liberal thought in Israel, but everything to do with the rise of extremism and violence against Israelis & Jews in particular. Ben Gvir's success is a direct result of car rammings, stabbing attacks, random shootings into Israeli communities, several high-profile attacks in heart of the Tel Aviv area. In the last year 2204 terrorist attacks have happened against Jews, Christians, and even Muslims in Israel, including Judea & Samaria. Fatah, the party of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas boasts an even greater amount of attacks, they claim it is over 7000 and even blame Hamas for it not being even higher.

Many leftists within Israel like to compare Ben Gvir’s popularity to the rise of fascism and radical nationalism in Europe during the 20th century. Some even dare to compare the Yarmulka-wearing Jew to prominent Nazi figures. The far-left party in Israel, Meretz, based their entire elections campaign on comparing Ben Gvir to a Nazi. What these aggressive spectators and perhaps genuinely concerned citizens forgot is that Ben Gvir campaigned not against them, but against a real, very vivid enemy hell-bent on bringing harm to Israelis.

On a weekly basis, every Israeli who has a smartphone will get at least three breaking news alert push notifications with a headline like “breaking: suspected terrorist attack......”. Defense Minister and former military Chief Benny Gantz himself admitted in a campaign event just a few weeks ago that the Israel Defense Forces gets over 1000 alerts daily regarding stone-throwing by Arabs within Judea and Samaria. Westerners see the images of stone throwers tossing rocks toward a border checkpoint, and the image of a teenager going up against a heavily armored soldier is prevalent. What the media never shows you are the more common rock-throwing incidents, where those same teenagers are hiding around the bend of a road, or on a hill overlooking a road and toss rocks at civilian cars, one incident a few weeks ago nearly killed an entire family.

One incident earlier this year had a baby hit in the head left with his skull exposed.

It is not like Ben Gvir is calling for the termination or exile of innocent people who have done nothing wrong other than being Arab, he is demanding that the violence against Israeli citizens and soldiers comes to an end by any means. He is not shaming the Arab people, at least publicly, for their traditions and religion, but rather urging them to obey the state of Israel’s rule. His policies include creating a death penalty in Israel and using it whenever a suspect is convicted of terrorism by a lawful Israeli court. 

As of now, a Palestinian who kills Israelis is sent to prison after a trial. They are allowed to attend university classes in prison and earn degrees while their families get paid by the Palestinian Authority. Typically, they are released in some prisoner swap where Israel releases dozens in exchange for one soul, or even the remains of an Israeli that was killed. There is no death penalty for terrorists and Ben Gvir believes there should be.

He is a strong advocate for the Israeli annexation and development of Judea and Samaria. Had Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas not stolen billions from the money the United Nations and countries like America provide, the infrastructure in Arab areas of Judea & Samaria would have been built out providing opportunities for Palestinians. Ben Gvir wants to provide opportunities for Palestinians as he believes it would lower the impulse to commit violence.

His party is a strong advocate of capitalism and believes in the free market. On the social aspect, they are strongly conservative and they are personally against the LGBTQ lifestyle but have no plans to change the laws in Israel that protect a person's right to self-expression. All of these policies that Ben Gvir’s party openly supports might be defined as extreme by some who disagree, but by no means are they murderous. The enemy whom he did such a good job campaigning against, Palestinian terrorism, literally tries to murder Jews on a daily basis. 

Israelis as a whole are increasingly becoming fed-up with terrorism and are losing patience. While most of the larger parties do fall into the right-center political arena when it comes to security and defense policies, clearly based on the most recent elections, that is not enough for many. 

Ben Gvir himself could not be defined as a reactionist. However, the citizens of Israel are demonstrating strong reactionism by giving a man like Ben Gvir the chance to fix what they think is wrong. No, Ben Gvir is not a Nazi or a fascist; he is not a killer, although some would argue that he would like to be at times. Ben Gvir is exactly what the Israeli public along with their Arab neighbors should have expected after years of Israel enduring terrorism. 

Ben Gvir is the obvious, instinctive reaction to a situation that seems to have no diplomatic solution. Sometimes Instincts can do the job fairly well, other times they result in childish emotionally charged decisions that lead nowhere; time and nothing else will be the judge of that. What the West needs to understand, as the liberal Jews are that the will of the people was to stop the extremism. To free police officers and soldiers from restrictive rules of engagement and allow them to shoot without following a complex series of protocols. To show the extremists in Palestine that Israel is not going to take it anymore and that there will be a collective price to be paid for terror.

The fact remains, Israel voted for the fifth time in four years. Democracy in action. There is no fascism, there is no autocracy, there is the will of the over 65% of the population that voted, and that will have said, enough is enough. To call Israel undemocratic because you don't like the outcome of a fair election is to undermine the demcoratic process in general, and that itself is a fascistic mentality.

Sign Up For The Judean Newsletter

I agree with the Terms and conditions and the Privacy policy