Palestinian rioter in Jerusalem. (File, Hadas Parush/Flash90) Photo by Hadas Parush/FLASH90

Jews want to believe that only Arab extremists support terrorism in Israel, but the most recent wave of attacks has many people rethinking this conclusion.

Shipment confiscated knives photo Israel Police

Police confiscate shipment of tens of thousands of weapons headed for Jerusalem and the North at the port of Ashdod on Thursday. They were disguised as Christmas ornaments. (Photo: Israel Police)

In response to the recent escalation of violence in Israel, culminating this week with the massacre in a Jerusalem synagogue, Israeli citizens are trying to find ways to protect themselves and their families. A feeling of vulnerability has pervaded the Jewish community and shows no signs of abating any time soon with daily media reports of Arabs caught trying to enter Jewish communities armed with knives and other weapons.

Most Israelis want to believe in their hearts that the perpetrators of these terror attacks represent only a minority of Arabs living in the country. But the nature of recent attacks has left many people scratching their heads.  “You can’t tell which one is bad and which is good. That guy that works in the grocery store and greets you with a smile every morning?  That guy, yeah, he’s the one who just butchered a bunch of innocent men in prayer,” commented one resident from Gush Etzion.

Who Will Protect Jews From Terrorism?

Many people feel that the government is not doing enough to protect them, so they are taking matters into their own hands. In addition to a recent run on pepper spray, there have been reports that a sudden marked increase in applications for civilian gun licenses caused the government webpage to crash.

The fears are not limited to communities in Judea and Samaria. This most recent terror attack occurred in an area of Jerusalem which is not a “borderline community.” The victims were not activists or what some people call “settlers.” Har Nof is located in the western part of Jerusalem, where one would not expect such acts to occur. The increase in attacks over the last few months has many Israelis wondering whether the local Arab population can be trusted, especially when such horrific acts are praised and celebrated by Arab communities.

In some communities, citizens and politicians are demanding that institutions and businesses stop using Arab labor. The most publicized such incident came from Ashkelon mayor Itamar Shimoni.  Despite left-wing activists labeling it as an act of racism, Shimoni defended his call for temporary suspension of Arab construction workers in the city, citing security concerns. All across the country other communities have expressed similar ideas.

Beit Shemesh, an open city where hundreds of Arab day workers come to find work, saw a small grassroots rally on Wednesday afternoon calling for a similar suspension. The families of this community say they are concerned that Arab workers will perpetrate a similar terror attack as in Har Nof if they do not act to prevent it with a labor ban. A resident even posted a photo of the Jerusalem massacre on the community’s Facebook page with the caption, “This will be us if we are not careful”. Another post said, “These people represent a real and present danger not only to our way of life, but to our very lives.”

In response to these growing calls for termination, the commissioner for equal employment opportunities at the Ministry of Economy, Adv. Tziona Koenig-Yair issued this official statement:

“During these difficult times, I expect employers to exercise responsibility and leadership to encourage tolerance and equal opportunities, and not exclusion, particularly local authorities such as the Ashkelon municipality, which publicized that it has terminated the employment of Arabs in the municipality, a step which breaks the Equal Opportunities Law. Additionally, local authorities also have public responsibility towards all their residents, Jews and Arabs alike. Such authorities must show leadership and act to calm the storm, and not take collective action which may fan the flames. We all need to work together to improve the situation, and continue to work towards equality and tolerance for all citizens of the State of Israel, both Jews and Arabs.”

Despite the call for calm, many communities that were once receptive and welcomed Arab workers, remain suspicious.

Hamas and the PA Share Similar Goals

PA head Mahmoud Abbas officially condemned the Har Nof Massacre, but consistently calls the terror attacks a “natural response” to Arab and Israeli disagreements over issues such as the Temple Mount and construction of new Jewish homes in certain neighborhoods. Terrorist attacks are anything but a “natural response”. For Abbas to make such a claim only validates the Jewish response of suspending Arab labor due to security concerns. When Arab leaders make excuses for the massacre of civilians in a synagogue, how can the citizens who follow such leaders be trusted?

Combine those facts with the inflammatory calls for more violence from Abbas and the PA, as well as Hamas, the situation only becomes more dangerous. The reality is that the PA cannot be trusted to lead the Arab population any more than Hamas. Yet the PA is funded by the US and the European Union. We MUST end this. Click here to sign our Petition demanding that the United States and European Union stop funding the Palestinian Authority.

Author: Penina Taylor, United with Israel 

Do You Love Israel? Make a Donation - Show Your Support!

Donate to vital charities that help protect Israeli citizens and inspire millions around the world to support Israel too!

Now more than ever, Israel needs your help to fight and win the war -- including on the battlefield of public opinion.

Antisemitism, anti-Israel bias and boycotts are out of control. Israel's enemies are inciting terror and violence against innocent Israelis and Jews around the world. Help us fight back!