Hebrew media review

Devil with a blue ID

The Israeli citizenship of the suspect in Monday’s deadly West Bank stabbing has dog whistles blowing at full blast; Canadians, Africans and women are also under fire

The scene of a stabbing attack outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel, February 5, 2018 (Ben Dori/Flash90)
The scene of a stabbing attack outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel, February 5, 2018 (Ben Dori/Flash90)

It’s a sad fact that terror attacks happen in the West Bank from time to time. What does not happen often is that the terrorist will be a full Israeli citizen, blue ID card and all, living in vibrant Tel Aviv.

On Tuesday, a day after a deadly terror attack near Ariel in the West Bank, much is made of the fact that suspect Abed al-Karim Assi (and yes, he is still just a suspect, despite the fact that most of the Israeli press has already found him guilty on the evidence of some grainy footage) holds Israeli citizenship and was living in Tel Aviv with the same legal status as Ehud Barak or anyone else, alongside the mournful remembrances of victim Itamar Ben-Gal.

Itamar Ben-Gal, who was killed in a stabbing attack in the West Bank, February 5, 2018, pictured here at the circumcision of his son in 2017 (Yitzhak Melamed)

“The terrorist from Tel Aviv,” reads the front page headline of tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth, stamped on a picture of Assi standing on a highway bridge with Tel Aviv suburb Ramat Gan in the background. Together with another headline in the paper “Enemy at home,” the obvious subtext that the paper is trying to telegraph is that there are bad people — terrorists — among us.

“He held a blue ID card, his Facebook wall is filled with Hebrew. Some of his pictures have buildings in Tel Aviv in the background… and despite all his connections to Israel, Assi decided to carry out a nationalistic murder,” reads the paper’s lede, which would not sound out of place in some 1950s Cold War guide about the danger of Communists lurking IN YOUR BACKYARD.

In Israel Hayom, which also plays up the fact that Assi had Israeli citizenship, columnist Yoav Limor calls Israeli Arabs holding an Israeli ID card the “duvdevan of terror groups,” referring to the IDF’s elite intelligence unit which often uses troops to masquerade as Arabs, the implication being that these people can undermine us by being masquerading as Jews.

“Arab Israelis have been involved in several attacks over the years. True, the numbers are small, but this is a clear Achilles heel in the war on terror, with a greater and more significant potential danger than Palestinian terrorists from the territories,” he writes. “Arab Israelis’ blue ID cards give them not only freedom of movement, but also a certain protection from steps taken by security forces against Palestinians.”

Abed al-Karim Assi, the terrorist who stabbed to death Itamar Ben-Gal at the Ariel Junction on February 5, 2018. (Courtesy)

Haaretz leads off with the stabbing story as well, but reports on it matter-of-factly, somehow avoiding any latent racism. On the paper’s op-ed page, there’s not quite racism, but something bordering on Jew-on-Jew griping from Amira Hass, whose column chides secular Jews for trying to stop the ultra-Orthodox from closing stores on Shabbat. Why are the seculars bothering the ultra-Orthodox, she asks — attempting to tear down every non-religious justification for Jewish statehood — when all secular reasons for living in Israel are bunk and only the divine promise is worth anything?

“You may say, [there’s] the fact that we were born here and live here, speaking Hebrew and creating culture. To that we will reply: That’s not enough. After all, the Palestinians were born here, and live here, and are creating culture and speaking Palestinian Arabic. All that didn’t help them, and they were expelled and are being expelled from their country and their homeland,” she writes.

It’s not just Arabs and Israeli Jews who can be hated on, but apparently Canadians too. Yedioth reports on parents at a Jerusalem daycare up in arms after pictures surfaced of a Canadian donor who spent hours with their kids, without their permission, under the scary-sounding headline “Strange man in the kindergarten.”

The paper quotes an official as saying the man, who is not named, underwent a police background check, was never alone with the kids and is well known to the daycare center, having donated large sums to rehab the building and other activities over the years. But the parents are having none of it.

“In the daycare they very much watch over the kids. When we bring them in the morning, only a woman working there can bring them into the classroom and parents are not allowed to enter. So how is it fair that a parents cannot go in but a strange man can? Just because he donated to them,” one mother is quoted seething.

As for the deportation of Africans, Israel Hayom’s Akiva Bigman gives what he calls a chronology of leftist groups trying to ruin the country by allowing these illegal ne’er-do-wells to stay in the country, though he stops short of joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in blaming George Soros for funding them, instead making do with demonizing the new Israel Fund and “foreign countries.”

“When these leftist groups talk about solving the problem of south Tel Aviv, dispersing the infiltrators or some other way of easing the situation in the neighborhood, one needs to remember what they have done recently,” he writes. “They have done much for what to them is one goal: To tear down the country’s borders, change its demographic makeup and turn Israel from a Jewish national state into an multinational state for all its residents.”

Discrimination isn’t just for ethnicities though. Women, even Jewish ones, will be treated to an even bigger dose of it in the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Modiin Illit soon, according to Haaretz, which reports that the city has new “draconian” rules for its female workers, in the paper’s words.

“Among other things, the rules forbid male and female workers from joking with each other or talking about matters unrelated to their work,” the paper reports. “It forbids mixed-gender meals and orders that in a shared ride, the men will sit in front and the women in the back.”

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