Only in Israel

Since Israel is a liberal democracy, that its enemies don’t acknowledge, there are happenings and reports in the media here that could never be found in any Arab or most Muslim countries. For example, Haim Pearlman was arrested a few days ago for shooting four Palestinian men back in 1996. He is also charged with the attempted murder of several others. If an Arab shot four Jews he would be celebrated by his community, not arrested!

Pearlman is an ultra-Orthodox American Jew who believes that the Land of Israel is meant by God for the Jews and in order to help bring this about we must remove the Arabs from our land. This is a legitimate, although extreme belief, but when one acts on it by murdering Palestinians, then this is definitely unacceptable. Pearlman was a member of the outlawed Kahane Chai movement and was previously arrested in Jerusalem for sticking up posters of then PM Ehud Olmert with “Wanted” written underneath.

One might ask why has it taken so long to detain him, and there are reasons, first Pearlman spent a lot of the intervening years in the US, like another American Jew, Yaakov Teitel, who killed two Palestinians back in 1997 and was finally arrested in 2009. Second, the Israeli secret service, Shin Bet, tried to use Pearlman to infiltrate the right wing extremist groups, but in effect failed. He turned on them, and that was when they arrested him. It might also have been incompetence, in that they did not at first suspect him of these murders.

Two days prior to his arrest, Pearlman released recordings of a supposed Shin Bet agent trying to persuade him to murder Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Northern Islamic League, and a well-known Islamic extremist. In the recordings Pearlman refused to carry out the murder, and since the Shin Bet had evidence against him, he knew that he would then be arrested. The whole affair is very complex and appears to include Shin Bet corruption in an attempt to frame Pearlman. Nevertheless, in Israel he was arrested and will be charged with murder.

There are other items that one would not see in any Arab country, for example there is a debate about what Israel should do with the ca. 30,000 and more African refugees in the country. Many of them are Muslims fleeing persecution in Sudan, but most are economic refugees, the largest group form Eritrea. The Egyptian border guards shoot them and about 60 have been killed so far (without protests from western human rights advocates). They come to Israel for sanctuary, but there are now too many of them and there are fears that little Israel will be inundated. The Govt. has decided to build a fence to protect the Israeli border between Gaza and Eilat, but so far there is no coherent Govt. policy about what to do with them. Some are allowed to work in Eilat and the tourist hotels have become dependent on their cheap labor. Others have been kept in internment camps in the south, and others have been given one-way tickets to Tel Aviv and there is now a thriving Black community in south TA. But, they have little work and this is causing great social problems. The final policy is simply to send them back, either over the Egyptian border or to their country of origin. As most Western countries know, being liberal and developed leads to an influx of refugees, Mexicans to the US, Muslims to Europe and Africans to Israel. The Israeli Govt. is currently debating a new law to unify immigration policies.

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