Joshua Mitnick’s article, “Amid Settler Crackdown, Hilltop Town And Its Yeshiva Still Defiant” (Dec. 23), raises alarms about the “hilltop youth,” the “vigilantes” and the “fringe group of settlers marauding through Palestinian villages and [engaging in] mosque burnings.” There is great controversy over whether or not the government is cracking down sufficiently on these “Jewish terrorists” led by their rabbis who are “inciting the youth.”
All of this is incredibly disheartening to members of Americans for a Safe Israel who have regularly visited the Yitzhar Yeshiva and met with the administrators. We have been inspired by the sense of study and dedication evident at the yeshiva.
We have demonstrated in the streets of New York against the planned destruction by the Israeli government of this large brick building, pictured on your front page. We have bemoaned the government decision to withhold funding for the yeshiva, and have despaired at the censorship leveled at the scholarly book, co-authored in 2009 by yeshiva rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur. It is shameful that in the Land of Israel a book with halachic interpretations is considered inflammatory and its authors blacklisted.
The whole campaign about the “price tag” attacks by “settlers” is one that should arouse suspicion because past situations have proven that Arabs are quick to set fires, attack their own, deface mosques, and do whatever they can to accuse Jews of these actions. Tragically, the Israeli government reacts with threats against the Jews of administrative detention, banishment from their homes of “suspected vigilantes,” and other such undemocratic actions. Investigation of charges against Jews often follows after the punishment has been administered.
It is time for Jews throughout the world, and in Israel, to recognize the reality of life in Israel. Those who call themselves “Palestinians” are interested in the disappearance of the Jewish state. Those Jews who believe with all their hearts and souls in the biblical, legal, and historic promise of the Jewish state are determined to preserve it. It is our task to defend the preservers, not support the destroyers.
Executive Director, Americans For A Safe Israel