He broke the law and should pay the price

There they go again, those “wild weeds from Brooklyn,” as former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called them, religious Jews and rabbis at that, starting trouble in Israel. Rabbi Arik Ascherman is currently on trial along with two other Israeli activists. They don’t deny blocking the bulldozers, but they said the demolitions were illegal and had a “duty” to stop them.

Were they trying to stop the bulldozing of “illegal outposts”? Not a chance. No, it was Israel’s bleeding-heart liberals …

Ascherman — a Reform rabbi and leader of the left-leaning Rabbis for Human Rights — was charged with blocking police from demolishing illegally built Arab structures in eastern Jerusalem in two incidents last year. His co-defendants, Shai Eliezer Tzvi and Omer Ori, were charged with joining Ascherman — the former rabbi of Richmond’s Temple Beth Hillel — in the second incident.

Arabs around the country regularly build houses on vacant land or build additions to existing structures, without getting the necessary building permits. The Arabs — both “Palestinians” and Israeli citizens — generally refuse to recognize Israel’s authority to issue permits. And, since every time Israel wants to enforce the building laws, Arabs, Israeli leftists and their international followers turn it into an “international incident,” Israel only infrequently carries out the court-ordered demolitions. Despite the protests, both houses were torn down.

The Israeli prosecutor Shlomit Landes told the judge in the Jerusalem Magistrate Court that the activists had illegally prevented police from carrying out orders, and that the legality of home demolitions was not the issue before the court. They simply broke the law in trying to prevent the police from carrying out demolition orders, which were the response to Arab building-code violations.

But Ascherman has international backing, the North American branch of Rabbis For Human Rights. Simcha Weintraub, a Conservative rabbi from Brooklyn, presented a letter to Israeli officials in the United States, signed by more than 300 American rabbis in support of Ascherman’s breaking the law.

Back in October 2002, during the height of the left’s hysteria campaign against “settlements,” then Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg called the people protesting at Gilad Farm in Samaria “Jewish Hamas.” They were protesting the expulsion of people from their homes on legally owned Jewish land, that for political purposes, the Sharon government found convenient to expropriate, calling it an “illegal outpost.”

If Jews protesting the theft of their property are “Jewish Hamas,” what are Ascherman and his group? Where is Burg now?

At the same time, Meretz Party Knesset member Yossi Sarid said: “All of the settlements were created by law-breaking and violence and I hope the spread of this cancer will end quickly. The outposts are worse than suicide-bomb belts.”

Does Sarid endorse Arab law-breaking, while condemning Jews? What about the law-breaking of his friends, Ascherman and Rabbis for Human Rights?

Illegal Arab building in Jerusalem or elsewhere undermines Israel’s sovereignty. Radical leftists, whether rabbis or not, who help the enemy in wartime — Israel has been at war for more than three years now — damage Israel’s image abroad and undermine its resolve to win. More than 1,000 Jews have been killed in the intifada. If Ascherman’s actions strengthen the resolve of the Palestinians to continue fighting — i.e., killing Jews — will Sarid now say that Ascherman and his group are “worse than suicide-bomb belts”?

Where is Yossi Sarid now?

But worse, Ascherman and Rabbis For Human Rights are known to regularly support the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank. For example, following the murder of shepherd Yair Har-Sinai in July 2001 by terrorists from Yata, a hostile Arab village, Rabbis For Human Rights organized a campaign to protest the Israeli army’s security measures imposed upon the population of Yata and the environs.

It’s from that area that the murderers of Har-Sinai, Dov Dribben, and 14-year-olds Kobi Mandel and Yosef Ishran came. I guess that’s a Jewish and Zionist “duty” also.

The left in Israel is continually harassing the brave Jews who are building up the Jewish homeland in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Yet, they seem to overlook at best, and more often help the Arabs who are working to steal the Jewish people’s patrimony.

This conflict, between the Jews and Israel on one side and the Arabs — “Palestinians” — on the other, is being fought on the political level, on the military level and also on the territorial level, house by house.

Arabs stealing land, or building illegal additions to their homes, is an act of war. As for Ascherman and his group, I don’t have words strong enough to describe them.

Ariel Natan Pasko is an Israeli independent analyst and consultant in international relations.