Israeli Orthodox youth movement violence

The child hour

By Ada Ushpiz


Imbued with self-righteous fervor and a hatred of Arabs and `leftists,’ members of the ultranationalist Kahane Youth movement have become the raucous spearhead of recent demonstrations against the disengagement plan. Now youths in Jerusalem’s impoverished ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods are being enticed to join.

As they approached IDF Square, next to Jerusalem’s City Hall, where the eastern and western parts of the city meet, they noticed a group of some 30 youngsters, the boys walking separately from the girls. As it happened, they had just come back from the monthly ritual of encircling the Temple Mount - a mass of skullcaps, prayer shawls and long skirts - and were now screaming “Death to the Arabs!” and “Filthy Arabs, get out of our country!” at the top of their lungs.

Maabad and Nazigian didn’t pay much attention. Having been born into the occupation, such scenes are familiar to them. The little girl skipped ahead of them and tried to get her mother and her friend to play. “We didn’t think they would do anything to us,” they recall now - but before they realized what was happening, the Jewish group assaulted them, the boys attacking Saad and the girls Dalida and her daughter, pummeling and kicking them.

Maabad, who teaches physical fitness and two years ago came in third in the “Mr. Palestine” contest because of his muscular physique, was able to fend off the boys and then tried to get the girls off his girlfriend and her daughter. A few of the boys backed off and one of them threw a large stone that struck him in the chest and hand. The girls continued to beat Dalida and her daughter, who clung tightly to her mother in desperation, wailing.

“They pushed her to the ground,” Nazigian relates with pent-up emotion. “I shouted at them, `What are you doing? Can’t you see she’s just a little girl?’ I picked her up - and afterward I saw that her whole back was covered with blue marks. I didn’t know what to do. They kicked me in the stomach, in the leg. I didn’t care about anything, I was only afraid for my daughter. I didn’t know what to do.” The nightmare lasted or six or seven minutes.

His pal from the settlement of Elkana, 14 and a half, thin, bespectacled, who attends the high-school yeshiva of Rabbi Haim Sabato in Mitzpe Jericho, was in Jerusalem without his mother’s knowledge and scurries from one demonstration to another against the disengagement plan, quivering with excitement. He calls home every once in a while to reassure his mother. “My parents are regular right-wingers who are afraid to speak their truth out loud,” he says, with a child’s know-it-all attitude. “Mom knows I am a Kahanist and she doesn’t want it, she’s afraid I’ll be arrested, but she’s happy that I am saying what I think out loud. Everyone has the same opinions. In their hearts every Jew knows that one Jew is worth more than five million Arabs and Jewish blood is sacred, it says so in the Torah.”

“A lot of kids are drawn to us, because they are looking for the truth and not for slogans,” asserts Y., M.'s brother, who wears a knitted skullcap and has curly earlocks. His dream is to get into an elite commando unit in the army; he says he devotes many hours to staying fit so he will be ready for his induction.

Y.: “Our youth is fed up with Yesha [West Bank and Gaza settlement] slogans like The eternal people is not afraid of a long path,' orI have love and it will triumph.’ That’s all nonsense. The eternal people is afraid of a long path and if we don’t shorten the path, if we don’t deal with the Arabs now, they will liquidate us and take over our country democratically. They will change our flag and our national anthem.” He adds that he is not in favor of killing; he espouses expulsion of the enemy. They have to be given a 48-hour ultimatum to leave the country, “and whoever refuses, we will shoot him.”

N. interjects that “King Solomon, the wisest of all men, said, `There is a time to love and a time to hate, a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together.’ What is that - a joke? That is what is happening across the generations: one time it’s the Inquisition, one time the Arabs, and when the Arabs are finished the Americans will come. It’s obvious that the Americans will attack us in the end and we will fight back, what else? In Afghanistan they look for Bin Laden’s cousin and wipe out a wedding of 150 people - they’re allowed to do anything - but when we shoot at a girl who is running at an IDF outpost and who knows what’s in her bag, the whole world shouts. We have nothing against them, they are right, but then they shouldn’t come with complaints against us. In war as in war, Rabbi Kahane always said,” N. continues fervently.

"When Jews are killed, that is desecration of the name of God. Anyone who throws a stone at a Jew is not throwing it at the Jew, but at him.

“We are the representatives of the Holy One in this world, a chosen people, that is a fact. If a Jew is killed and there is no reaction, that is proof to the goyim that the Holy One does not exist. Of course I will not condemn someone who did not succeed in expelling Arabs by some other way and therefore chose terrorism. And as for the injury done by Kahane Youth to the Arab family in Jerusalem [the couple with the little girl], I wasn’t there, but I’m sure those Arabs did some provocation, they probably spit at them or something like that. It’s enough to see them walking proudly in the streets of Jerusalem - that’s a provocation, too.”

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