New Israel Fund is the leading organization committed
to equality and democracy for all Israelis.
We just heard back from a delegation of Israeli activists who visited the West Bank mosque that was torched Tuesday. The arson appears to be one in a series of “Price Tag” attacks, in which settler extremists use violence to try to fight off policies they dislike.
The healing power of their action -- reaching out to victims of political violence when they are feeling vulnerable and angry -- should never be discounted.
The activists told us of their fear that Tuesday’s mosque burning will end up being just one more incident in a growing string of attacks. They are worried that violent outbursts will increasingly be a part of the Israeli political discourse.
That risk is real: During the past two years, Price Tag attacks have left ten mosques desecrated, Palestinian olive trees uprooted, shops vandalized, senior IDF officers threatened. Even IDF bases have been attacked.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs to hear that those of us who care about Israel -- wherever we might live -- worry about the kind of place that Israel will become if politically-motivated violence is not stopped.
The extremists behind this brutality want to change the very nature of Israel. They want to overturn the rule of law by charging a "price" in blood and flames for any action deemed to hurt the settlements. Their campaign is a threat to the rule of law and to the free function of Israel's democracy.
Tuesday's mosque arson needs to be seen as a warning for what might come next. The potential for violence looms large in light of court orders requiring the Israeli government to evict settlers from two locales in the West Bank this summer.
This violence is a threat to the moral fiber of Israel, to its Jewish and democratic character, and to the security of its citizens. NIF is supporting Israelis who are responding to this threat. You can help by lending your voice.