Israel has always had its extremists. In the main their presence goes unnoticed by the wider world, but occasionally, and most noticeably with Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, they cause devastation, not just to their victims’ and their families, but to Israel herself.
Every country and every religion has its dogmatic zealots, fanatical preachers, militant politicians and rabid cultural commentators. In the Middle East, the effect is magnified.
More had to be done, no question, and it is a relief that Israeli politicians seem to have woken up to that fact. It is sad beyond measure that it took the death of a Jewish teenager, stabbed at a gay Pride parade, and of a Palestinian baby, burned to death in a ‘price-tag’ attack which saw vandals scrawl “revenge” on the walls.
New measures, such as indefinitely detaining Jewish extremists, and of using enhanced interrogation techniques on them, is a gamble. It will enrage some elements in the religious and nationalist communities. But Israel has to be willing to fight this fight without flinching, tackling both the constituencies and their powerful supporters in government. Until they do, the attacks on people and property will continue, devastating individuals, families and the Israel we cherish.
It was clear from the statements this week that the Diaspora is fully behind Israel in that fight.