Two things characterize the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred in Israeli cities recently: 1. The assailants were Israeli citizens, born and raised in Israel to Bedouin and Israeli Arab families. 2. The terrorists were inspired by ISIS. This wave may subside, but the trend going forward is clear: There will be more and more terrorist attacks within Israel, perpetrated by supporters of ISIS, who come from Israeli citizens of Arab or Muslim descent.
Not all Arabs and Muslims are terrorists. Many of them simply want to lead their lives in peace and enjoy the affluence that living in Israel enables them to achieve. Nevertheless, the education they receive, the media outlets that broadcast to the Arab speaking population in Israel, and the ambience they grow up in leave them no choice but to become a society that inherently rejects the presence of Jews in Israel (to which they refer as Palestine), and the existence of the State of Israel altogether.
Over the past several years, the State of Israel has invested many billions of dollars to promote education, housing, job opportunities, and community services in Arab and Bedouin communities in Israel. Regrettably, because of the inherently anti-Israeli disposition, it is not generating any closeness between Arabs and Jews, and it is failing to generate gratitude among Arabs toward the state or foster any sense of commitment toward it.
It is not only the recent terrorist attacks that prove it. After the attacks, spontaneous celebrations broke out in several Arab towns within Israel. As I said, it is the ambience that fosters the next killers.
But the heart of the problem is not the hatred of Israeli Arabs toward Israel. The heart of it lies among us, Jews. Our own division is fueling their hatred and audacity. The more divided we are, the more our haters feel emboldened and their hatred intensifies.
Just as with any form of antisemitism, the fuel behind the entrenchment of ISIS among Israeli Arabs and Bedouins is our own division—first and foremost within the State of Israel, and subsequently, among Jews the world over.
If there is no peace among us, we will have no peace with anyone. ISIS is only a meter that shows us how hateful we are toward each other. Its life’s marrow, its oxygen, its fuel is our hatred for each other.
Inadvertently, the Jewish people determine how the world will treat them. Our foes may be Muslim, or Christian, or proponents of social ideologies such as Nazism or communism, but in the end, the fuel behind them is our own division, our odium for one another.
Hitler derided our division and feared our union. So did Henry Ford, and many other antisemites throughout the ages. Fittingly, our sages have repeatedly lamented our division as the progenitor of our downfalls, and praised our union as our source of success.
No other nation is expected to display internal unity. When other nations are united, they are feared. When we unite, we are loved.
Nothing about us is the same as it is for other nations. Our roots are different: We are descendants of eclectic natives of countless tribes and nations who had joined together under the tenet of loving others as themselves. Accordingly, the world expects us to show that we care for one another regardless of our circumstances.
When we succeed, they praise us, and when we fail, they scorn us and say that we are redundant. The more brazen ones among them try to do away with us, and the rest of the world tacitly supports them.
Accordingly, when we try to appease the world by dispensing billions on what we regard as their needs, they consider it bribery and do not hate us one bit less for it. On the contrary, it only increases their contempt toward us. In doing so, they are telling us what they really need from us: to focus on each other.
This is why the heightened level of ISIS activity that we are witnessing in Israel these days means that we have grown more separated than before. Accordingly, the only action that will turn down the hatred is to strengthen our internal unity.
You will find more on this topic in my book The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism.
Police and forensics over the body of one of the terrorists. Two Israeli border police soldiers were killed and five people were injured during a shooting terror attack. The two terrorists, Israeli arab citizens, were killed by the police. According to the Israeli police, one of the terrorists attempted to join ISIS a few years ago. ISIS claims responsibility after the attack. Hadera, Israel. Mar 27th 2022. (Photo by Matan Golan/Sipa USA)