We knew there was a strong possibility that Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger might not live, in spite of the valiant efforts of his doctors to save him. But we prayed, and we hoped. And now we must say, Baruch Dayan HaEmet (Blessed is the Righteous Judge), because he died this morning.
In this case, we also say HY”D — hashem yinkom damo, May the Almighty avenge his blood.
And let me tell you about this special man: He died because he was trying to save others. I did not know this when I wrote yesterday.
He had driven past the scene of the attack, and realized something was going on. He turned his car around and drove back in an attempt to help. He shot at the terrorist – but was hit first.
So it has happened again that the victim of the attack was one of the best. Only the Almighty understands this, we mere mortals do not.
After a search by security forces through the night, the terrorist has been identified. He comes from the village of Zawiya in the center of the Shomron. Members of his family were interrogated, and his brother was taken into custody.
You can see a video of the manhunt – which is still on-going – here:
When they locate him, I sincerely hope he tries to run away and they shoot him dead. That’s the best that could happen.
One further comment here: This murderer is one of those considered a “lone wolf” because no group has taken credit for his heinous deeds and he doesn’t seem to be affiliated with any terrorist group. But observe that his brother has been taken in, and that he is being hidden from authorities.
This is a point of considerable import: The fact that he is taken care of within his Palestinian Arab community, and that his family apparently had some awareness of his activities or intent, tells us a great deal about the culture and the values of the Palestinian Arabs, who have been subject to lies and incitement since the 1990s.
And there is yet another reason why I feel rage today:
Overturning earlier Knesset Election Committee decisions, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the United Arab List-Balad party would be permitted to run in Israel’s election, as would Ofer Cassif, a far leftist and the only Jew running on the Hadash Arab party list.
However, Michael Ben Ari of the Otzma party, running in the fifth slot on the joint Bayit Yehudi-National Union list, would not be permitted to run.
This was in a response to a petition that had been submitted by leftists Meretz head MK Tamar Zandberg, Labor MK Stav Shaffir, and representatives of the Reform Movement and was in accordance with the recommendations of the left-leaning Attorney General Avishai Mandelblit.
Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, Otzma Yehudit’s second candidate for the Knesset, running in the eighth slot of the joint BY-NU list was also included in the petition, but will be permitted to run. He will now move up to seventh on the list.
The reason that the Court gave for excluding Ben Ari was that he incited to “racism” with regard to Arabs. This was in spite of that fact that Ben Ari had testified that his position was not racist, but political: he was not anti-Arab, but rather advocated a strong stand against Arabs in Israel who are not loyal to the State. Those who are loyal citizens, he clarified, he has no issue with.
This is an absolute outrage for at least two reasons.
First, because of the biased far-left position embraced by the Court. Had both the Arab parties and Ben Ari been excluded because they represented extremes, it might have displeased many on the right, but it would have been accepted as just in the broader sense – balanced.
But to rule that Ben Ari – who is passionately Zionistic and whose sons served in combat units in the IDF – cannot sit in the Knesset because he is a “racist” who advocates expelling Israeli Arabs who are not loyal to the State, while the overtly anti-Zionist Balad can sit in the Knesset!??
I wrote about Balad not long ago: Party head MK Jamal Zahalka declared at the time of its primary in February that the party was “an integral part of the Palestinian national movement…the Palestinians in Gaza are our flesh.”
The Palestinian national movement endorses terrorism, which it refers to as “resistance to the occupation,” and ultimately aims for the destruction of Israel.
Yet the Court deems they have a place in our Knesset??
Do the members of the Court even realize how much most Jewish members of the Knesset detest these people? Or are they too busy advancing their politically correct position to pay attention?
The second reason is that the Court ruling is undemocratic. It totally reversed the decisions of the Knesset Election Committee (which had already voted that the Arab parties could not run and Ben Ari could). Most significantly, this is the first time that the Court has overturned a positive decision of the Knesset Election Committee – declaring that someone the Committee had already determined could run would be barred from doing so.
There is a very major issue here (and it is absolutely connected to the charges yesterday regarding unease soldiers have about shooting because of “legalization”). The Court has usurped too much power in our democracy, over-riding the Knesset when it should not.
The Committee — which is comprised of members who are proportionately representative all of the parties in the Knesset – speaks for the people of Israel. The people elected the members of the Knesset.
Whereas, the Court was not elected by the people at all, but is comprised of members who were selected by a Judicial Selection Committee (which includes justices already on the Court who act as a bloc and have disproportionate influence on selections made).
And yet, the Court deems that it has the right to overturn decisions made by the Knesset, or the Government.
There was an attempt in the Knesset to pass legislation that would have limited the power of the Court to overturn Knesset decisions. That did not pass, and I will likely discuss this further: The issue is likely to be raised again now, hopefully more successfully. Many people, including moderates, are incensed by the Court action.
Ben Ari said that the Court was a “judicial junta which seeks to take over our lives.” Naftali Bennett, chair of the New Right, said the Court had “crossed a red line.” Centrist Moshe Kahlon, head of Kulanu and Finance Minister, said our democracy was strong enough to include even the views of Ben Ari. “They need to know what the boundaries are. I don’t like it when the Court interferes with my decisions,” he declared, referring to economic policies. (Emphasis added)
With all of the reactions, I don’t know of anyone who is more incensed than MK Bezalel Smotrich, head of the National Union, who said:
When there are no expectations, there are no disappointments. The conclusion of this absurd political theater was expected and predictable. The High Court of Justice doesn’t miss any opportunity to prove how disconnected it is from the public and how unworthy it is.
“On a day like this, when we’re burying our dead yet again, the Supreme Court justices say that supporters of terrorism who negate the existence of the state of Israel will serve in the Israeli Knesset, but Michael Ben Ari, whose sons serve in combat units in the IDF, will not.
“No legal trick can explain this absurd distortion of law.”
Smotrich, who is a lawyer and exceedingly sharp, has never been reticent about speaking out. Now he says that words alone are not enough, action is required.
He is moving to call the Knesset, which is on recess until after the election, to come into session for a special meeting, to pass a law that will right the wrong committed by the Court:
“For the first time in the State of Israel’s history, a ‘council of wise men’ is deciding who Israel’s citizens are allowed to vote for, instead of the voters deciding…. The Knesset must bring back democracy, for its own sake and that of the nation.”
I do not know that he will succeed, but I applaud him mightily for taking this action.
And what I do believe is that even if it does not succeed now, this action is, this action must be, the beginning of legislative process that will make our nation stronger.
I would encourage every Israeli citizen, right or centrist, who is distressed or angered by the behavior of the Court, to consider voting right: We need a strong right government now. And a strong right wing in the Knesset will facilitate that legislative process.
There are many complex issues involved here. I will leave them for now, and return with greater detail when I report further on what is transpiring.
In the meantime, once again, I ask that you share broadly.
When I do report again, it will be after Purim – which is celebrated Wednesday night and Thursday (with Shushan Purim celebrated in Jerusalem Thursday night and Friday). We will read Megillat Ester (The Book of Esther) twice over the holiday. It comes to remind us that the Almighty is there, even when His presence is not obvious, and that we can prevail in the end.
Purim is an exceedingly happy holiday. We are bidden to give to the needy, share gifts with those close to us, and to be joyous. And so it will be, with our costumes, and our festive meal. Though it’s unlikely we’ll surpass the spirit of these kids:
I wish all who will be celebrating a Chag Purim Sameach.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.