While NY Times coverage of Israel is generally far lower in quality or comprehensiveness than other issues it covers, Isabel Kershner did manage to write a reasonable story about the mosque burning at Tuba-Zangariyye. Here is how she begins:
The founders of this Bedouin Arab village in the Israeli countryside tied their fate to that of their Jewish neighbors even before the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948.
The once nomadic Muslim tribesmen here helped defend early Jewish settlements in the area during the Arab revolt of the 1930s, local residents recalled. In the 1940s, they formed a strong alliance with Yigal Allon, then a young commander of the Palmach, the elite Zionist fighting force, receiving land in return for their loyalty and support.
She closes with this telling indictment of the current Israeli state with its collusion or at least tolerance for extremist Jewish terror:
…About a quarter of the youths in Tuba-Zangariya volunteer for the Israeli military, mainly for economic reasons, according to local residents. The Bedouin soldiers serve mostly as trackers, helping defend the country’s hostile frontiers. Afterward, they say that it is easier to find jobs and that they are entitled to preferential mortgage terms and other benefits.
But for some, the wedge opened by the arson attack has exposed a latent sense of injustice and alienation. Walid Heib, 37, said that if some of the elders of the village had not fought with the Palmach, there might not have been an Israel.
“It would have been better if they had not,” he said, “because now we feel like the strangers here.”
Israel’s Jewish leadership should think long and hard about these sentiments. They come from a Palestinian village long loyal and integrated into the State. If all it takes to destroy 60 years of allegiance is a few pimply teenaged extremist Jews with a can of kerosene and a match, then how much is Israel’s vaunted democracy worth? Israel must ask itself what it wants to be: a Jewish state with the majority religion (and ethnicity) privileged and the minority trashed and despised; or a state in which all enjoy equal privileges, rights and responsibilities.
She did neglect to mention that Bibi Netanyahu hasn’t deemed it important enough to show his face at the site of the Jewish arson attack (though Shimon Peres and the chief rabbis have). She also did not mention that none of the previous arson attacks have resulted in any charges filed against any suspects. The most severe punishment the Shin Bet metes out to suspects is filing restraining orders against them preventing them from palling around with their fellow terrorists buds in Yitzhar for a few months. The police seem to believe that this will act as a deterrent to future acts of terror, though they were clearly wrong in this case.
Similarly, Israel almost never imprisons Jews guilty of terror (except in the egregious case of Yigal Amir). Rather it prefers to declare them insane and then consign them to mental hospitals (a practice common to authoritarian regimes like the Soviet Union and China). Those who are sentenced to prison almost universally receive pardons or clemency. Palestinian terrorists never receive such gestures.
What will it take? Perhaps some Palestinians burning down Heychal Shlomo, the seat of the chief rabbi? I don’t advocate this by any means, but why are Israelis tone-deaf to the suffering their fellow Jews inflict on their fellow Palestinian citizens? Must they suffer a comparable act of depravity before they understand what’s been done to Muslims?