Sunday, February 19, 2006

Brutal Beatings

There I was, in shul, listening to the rabbi's speech. Something about Moshe telling Hashem that Bnei Yisroel knew not to go to the mountain, but then Hashem told him "lech reid" and something from R' Nachman m'Breslav. Not the point.

As many rabbis are wont to do, the speech shifted to current events, specifically the heroic resistance of youths to armed police, enforcing legal orders, children, who were "brutally beaten" with "heads split open" (his words) by the officers.

He did raise the question as to whether parents should let their children go to such actions. Claiming that there was a "battle for the soul of both the Land of Israel and Jewish people", he quickly dismissed it, implying that parents who allow their kids (and the kids) who do such things were correct. Nevermind that you can be an ardent (religious) Zionist and still think that the settlement should have been evacuated.

What was missing in his one sided speech? Maybe the police did overreact, though if true, they did a bad job, suffering casualties and all. And when they don't react, aka Gaza, look what happens. Paint and cinderblocks, torched vehicles. Acid. Injuries, called "light" by the same who would call them "serious" if done by Palestinians. Who is really to blame? The 25 year old who doesn't want to go home, scarred for life, by acid? Or with stitches from a brick? Or the mother who lets her child throw acid at the officer? Shouldn't they go into Amona thinking the same would happen?

Parents have a duty to make sure their children don't go to these violent "demonstrations." If they do, the police have to react. If a 10 year old Palestinian throws a rock, soldiers have a right to react. The same applies here. That they are children doesn't give them special immunity. No reaction courts anarchy, there's no need to listen to the lawful orders of the government if you won't be punished. And if you really believe resistance is warranted, then you must be prepared for the consequences.

And maybe, just maybe, the Rabbi's message would have resonated with more people if he didn't provide such a distorted, one sided view on what's happening. Maybe he should have spoken about parental responsibility instead. God knows we need more of that.

Update: CWY has a great post, with great commenting by Ezzie, Chardal and others, on this very subject. I wouldn't go so far as to say the protesters should consider themselves lucky they weren't shot, but its not out of the realm of possibility. I know if someone threw a brick at me and I had a gun, I'd pull the trigger as soon as I had a target.