Anat Gopstein’s latest column to appear in Gilui Da’at:
A time for soul-searching
Last week we were informed of the terrible killing of the young man Ahuvya Sandak. A police vehicle rammed into the car of some youths from Maoz Esther, where Ahuvya was sitting, and led to the death of the young man and the shocking police version of the incident.
There is really no good answer to the question of what causes the Israeli police to develop such a sick obsession over the hilltop youth, to the point of numbness, detachment, alienation and loss of all Jewish moral emotion; there is really no good answer as to how it is possible to act with such brutality, and to cross every red line.
The ones responsible for the terrible treatment of hilltop youth are the Shai district police, and within it, the unit for nationalist crime, in the Yamar Shai police station, whose job it is to hunt down hilltop youth. “The Season”, the 2000’s version. For years the hilltop youth have been persecuted by the system and turned into the enemies of the state. The police and the (against) Jewish department of the Shabac – a violent political body, are leading the incitement against them, together with emotional distancing that allows for reckless violence and abuse.
“They’re anti-Zionists”, they call those youths, who do the most Zionistic act there is: Settling the land of Eretz Israel with great dedication, and standing bravely against the obsessive persecution and abuses from the authorities who in their clashes with them, burn the area and lead them to the edge. And who can try those youths for hating the state that persecutes them day and night? These are boys, most of whom are adolescents with dichotomous vision of ‘yes/no’, ‘black/white’, and less capable of accommodating the complex ‘gray areas’; these are youths, most of who grew up in state-supporting homes, some of them sons of well-known rabbis. The exaggerated “state-ist” approach that sanctifies every step taken by the establishment, is unacceptable to them. They are not whipping boys, and they do not embrace those who hurt them.
To our great misfortune, Religious Zionism has put them on the other side of the fence, as love and inclusion are reserved for Jews who do not observe Torah and mitzvot. This is contrary to common sense, according to which love for Jews starts from within the home.
“You shall not stand by the blood of your brother”. We cannot be silent and abandon these youths to a ruthless system. In the parsha of the beheaded calf, when a murder victim is found in a field between two cities, the city elders go out and declare: “Our hands have not shed this blood.” And do we actually think that the elders of the city might have shed the blood? No, this declaration teaches us about mutual responsibility that we all have for the life of every Jew. Even if he’s a hilltop youth.
In these red days, as the blood of those righteous boys was allowed to be shed, the time has come for soul-searching. The handwriting is already smeared on the wall with the blood of Ahuvya Sandak HY”D. The ability to prevent the next incident remains in our hands.