The face of Israeli hate has once again reared its ugly head. A recent immigrant from France who had also lately become religious lured an East Jerusalem taxi driver to his death in what appears to be a nationalist inspired hate crime:
The 26-year-old Tel Aviv man accused of murdering an East Jerusalem taxi driver on Monday, Julian Soufir, told police, “I decided to murder an Arab.”
Police said their initial investigation revealed that the suspect, an immigrant from France whose family lives in Netanya, went to Jerusalem on Monday morning to find a taxi driver to murder.
They discovered the murder of Taysir Karaki, 35, from Beit Haninah north of the capital, almost by chance after they stopped two young men walking down the middle of a Tel Aviv street at around 4:00 P.M., near Yonah Hanavi Street…
The body of the East Jerusalem man was discovered in an apartment [there] on Monday afternoon. His throat had been cut, and his body bore the signs of a severe attack.
A preliminary police investigation revealed that the dead man had been invited to the apartment by the 25-year-old Israeli…
The motive behind the murder seems to be nationalistic, as the suspect said that he had killed the taxi driver over his Arab nationality.
Neighbors said that the suspect had recently become religious
The victim appeared to have no political affiliation whatsoever and little involvement with politics. He leaves behind a widow and two young children:
Karaki’s father, Yasser Karaki, told Haaretz his son, who was married and the father of four children ages six to 12, had driven the children to school and set off for work at 8:30 A.M. “He was a good guy, he was not involved in politics; all he wanted to do was make a living for his children,” the elder Karaki said.
The few dozen friends and relatives who gathered on Monday at the Karaki house seemed shocked at the idea Karaki was murdered for nationalistic reasons. A neighbor, Wahib Liftawi, said the police called his nearby grocery store.
“They told us Taysir had had an accident and we should go to the police station in Neve Yaakov,” Liftawi said. “Khaled, Taysir’s brother, went there and then to Tel Aviv to identify the body. We heard on the news that French people took him to Tel Aviv. They asked him to help them to the apartment with their luggage and then they stabbed him. Allah will not forgive them; he was a good boy.”
For many Israelis, this incident be merely a one-off event perpetrated by what they hope will turn out to be a mentally deranged individual. It will not resonate. It will not fit any pattern. It will not involve much soul-searching. This will be because of the protective shell covering Israelis that prevents them from interacting or empathizing with Arabs.
We will have to see what influences played upon the terrorist. Where did he get the idea that killing an Arab was a laudable endeavor? Was he a follower of extremist settlers as previous Jewish terrorists have been? We shouldn’t jump to conclusions till we know the facts. But previous similar crimes make us wonder whether this one will fit the pattern of Jewish extremism. And no doubt Soufir will join the ranks of Jewish ‘martyrs’ (at least in the eyes of the Kahanist crowd) like Eden Natan-Zada, Yigal Amir, Baruch Goldstein and too many others who struck a blow for Jewish “justice.”
Haaretz quotes an Israeli Arab Knesset member making a cogent point about how this crime fits into Israeli Jewish attitudes toward Arabs:
MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra`am-Ta`al) said…that “an atmosphere of incitement, hated of Arabs, and the escalating racism in the country are fertile soil for this crime,” and added that ” the court will probably find mitigating circumstances for the murderers.”
No doubt he is correct. Jewish terrorists often serve much shorter sentences than Arab terrorists. And the treason case against Azmi Bishara could also have served as a trigger for the crime. Maariv and other Israeli media were braying for Bishara’s head and Jewish Knesset members were calling for him to be kidnapped and tried for treason. This is precisely the type of incitement to violence Tibi is talking about.