Arrested Because of My T-Shirt
In the mid-90’s I went to a lot of demonstrations in Israel. Together with hundreds of thousands of others, we were protesting the signing of the Oslo Accords. We were desperately trying to warn our brothers and sisters what would happen, if those agreements became reality. Unfortunately, the deal was signed and – exactly as predicted – the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya, Afula and more… became filled with Jewish blood. Busses and cafes blew up and listening to the news became a traumatic event.
At a demonstration in Tel Aviv, after a bus exploded a few days before Purim, 20,000 people came to scream. Political leaders from the right side of the spectrum delivered fiery speeches and the crowd was angry… yet only one protestor was arrested. Who was that lone wolf who spent the night behind bars? It was none other than… me. Why was I arrested, you ask? Because I wore a Kahane t-shirt with the famous star and fist logo and I was charged with supporting a terrorist organization! Thankfully, I was released in the morning but was promised that “an indictment was on the way.” While this sounds amusing, it was quite serious. The charge of “supporting a terrorist organization” carries an average prison sentence of at least 10 years. Baruch HaShem, after a few months of discussions with one of Israel’s leading prosecutors, the decision was made to drop the case… although the guy insisted on keeping my t-shirt as evidence.
I am telling you this now because I want you to keep that episode in your mind as you read the following lines: Less than 2 weeks ago, an Arab brutally murdered 7 Jews on Leil Shabbat (Friday night) near a shul in Neve Yaakov. When his neighbors heard about what he did, they started handing out candies/sweets in celebration. Nobody was arrested for supporting a terrorist. In Tel Aviv university, Arab students held a protest… in support of the murderer! Nobody was arrested for supporting a terrorist. Israeli TV interviewed people coming to comfort the family of the murderer (since he was killed during his reign of terror). One by one – with no exception – they expressed support for his actions and said how proud the family should be of him. These interviews were shown on television with no censorship and no blurring out the faces of the people who spoke yet nobody was arrested for supporting a terrorist. Finally, the father of the murderer – on his way to burying his son – stated that this was not his son’s funeral but his son’s wedding! He expressed joy over his son’s actions, said that the boy brought honor to the family and wished that his other children would follow in that son’s footsteps. Needless to say, he was not arrested for supporting a terrorist. That was only me… for wearing a yellow t-shirt…
What should be done to someone who openly supports murdering Jews in Israel? I agree that they should not be arrested, since it’s not nearly enough. The Israeli government must take a much harder stance and deal with this in a serious and extreme manner. Let me offer my suggestion in very clear terms: Arabs who support acts of terror in Eretz Yisrael must be immediately and permanently removed from the land. Think its too radical of a position? It’s not and here’s why.
During the final plague in Egypt – the killing of the firstborn – the Torah says; “Every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the slave-woman who is behind the millstone…” (Sh’mot 11:5) Then, when the plague started, the Torah states that every firstborn was killed, including “the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon” (Sh’mot 12:29). In both cases, Rashi asks why those firstborns died? The firstborn of an Egyptian slave-woman? His mother was also a slave… she certainly did not harm or enslave any Jews… so why did her son die during that plague? And the firstborn of a guy sitting in the dungeon for 30 years? What did he do? He’s been a prisoner, languishing and rotting in the filth of an Egyptian prison… yet his firstborn son also died that night. Rashi asks: Why?
His answer to both questions is the same: “For they rejoiced at the downfall of Israel.” Yes, you read that correctly. Rashi states – very clearly – that the reason the slave-woman and prisoner’s sons were killed during that final plague was because “they rejoiced at the downfall of Israel.” Even though things were difficult in their own lives and they were not free, nevertheless when they heard that bad things happened to the Jews… they were happy and that happiness made them guilty! As a result of their actions, their sons were killed on the night before we left Egypt.
The time has come for us to stop just learning Rashi and start living Rashi. The reason we mention Yetziat Mitzrayim so many times each day is because we need to start learning what happened and begin applying those rules – here and now!
Arabs across the land need to know that if they rejoice after hearing about Jews being killed or support terror – in any way – they will be immediately and permanently evicted from Israel. Their homes will be confiscated, and they will never be allowed to return.
Will this end the reign of terror in Israel by those who seek to destroy her? No, it will not. A lot more needs to be done – and with help of HaShem, will be done - but it’s a good place to start.