News / Middle East

Israel Tries Tougher Stance Against Right-Wing Jewish Violence

Scott Bobb

The Israeli government says it will take tough action against those who attack religious institutions or military installations. The warning comes amid rising violence by right-wing Jews angry at Israel's removal of non-sanctioned settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The 12th century Okasha mosque in central Jerusalem. Vandals torched it recently and spray-painted anti-Muslim, anti-Arab graffiti on its walls. They also painted the words, "price tag."

This is a signature of Israelis angered by the demolition of West Bank Jewish settler outposts, ruled illegal by Israeli courts.

The spokesman for Muslim holy sites, Mahmoud Abu Ata, says these attacks are expanding. "It seems that an organized Jewish group is systematically targeting the mosques and holy places, Muslim and Christian holy places," he said.

A half-dozen mosques have been attacked recently. There have also been attacks against Arab motorists and the head of an Israeli group that monitors West Bank settlement activity. In some instances, there has been retaliation by Palestinian Muslims.

Israeli columnist Danny Rubinstein says Israel's right-wing militants do not hesitate to use violence. "It's ideological. From their point of view it's very simple. 'We are stuck here as a small island in the middle of an Arabic ocean.'  For them, the Arab nation is stretched from the Gulf to Atlantic Ocean," he said.

Palestinian analyst Mahdi Abdel Hadi says it's hard for the Israeli government to stop the violence while it continues a policy of settlement expansion. "When you allow these people to take other people's land and homes and against the law and nobody is stopping them. And then they find themselves supported by the generals, the army. And this is the rise of Jewish fundamentalists and terrorist groups," he said.

But the Jewish attackers increasingly are targeting Israeli security forces who oversee the demolition of non-sanctioned outposts. They recently infiltrated the no-man's-land near Jordan and occupied an abandoned monastery.

Others threw stones at this Israeli military post in the West Bank, wounding a commander.

After a public outcry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not allow extremists to spark a religious war. "There is no such thing as ideological crime, there is just crime. There are laws in the country. There is a government in the country. There is democracy in the country. No one is allowed to break the law. No one is allowed to attack IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers. No one is allowed to harm Israeli policemen," he said.

He announced tougher measures against right-wing vandals but rejected a proposal to label them terrorists.

Since then, some suspects have been arrested and a few have been indicted.  But they have proven to be a stubborn group and few believe they will back down soon.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs