Arab attacks on Jews ignored while gov’t condemns settler violence, says activist

Activist questions why Defense Minister Benny Gantz explicitly condemns alleged settler attacks on Arabs while failing to speak up when Jews are the victims.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A right-wing activist is calling out the Israeli government for hypocrisy, charging that Arab violence against Jews is ignored while acts of so-called “settler violence” are given a disproportionate amount of focus.

Ayelet Lash, an outspoken advocate for the settler movement, is no stranger to controversy.

In 2017, after writing a post saying she preferred to teach her children about the biblical matriarch Rachel rather than the left-wing policies of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, her Facebook account was temporarily disabled for “hate speech.”

Since then, Lash’s social media presence has expanded, and she regularly documents Arab attacks on Jews in Judea and Samaria – -stories which are typically glossed over or ignored by mainstream media.

“A summary of this weekend’s attacks,” Lash wrote on Sunday. “At least 18 stone throwing attacks, [including] cinder blocks being hurled, two arsons, and a soldier wounded in the face who needed to get stitches at the hospital.

“But the Shin Bet and the police only spoke about an attack on Arabs by settlers, and announced they’d take a hard line [against the settlers.] Anyone know why? The racism of low expectations?”

On Tuesday afternoon, Lash posted about three rock-throwing attacks perpetrated by Arabs. One Jewish victim was seriously wounded and had to be evacuated to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek hospital.

“I’m waiting for the Defense Minister [Benny Gantz] to tweet” about the attack, Lash wrote. She noted that Gantz had taken the time on Monday to publicly condemn an alleged stone-throwing attack by settlers.

The Israeli government’s stance on settler violence has roiled Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s eclectic coalition, which is comprised of parties across the political spectrum, including the Islamist Ra’am.

Right-wing Israeli lawmakers and watchdog groups have long held that reports of settler violence against Palestinians are over-exaggerated and that the media and international bodies like the UN disproportionately focus on violence perpetrated by Jews while ignoring and excusing attacks committed by Arabs.

Earlier in January, Deputy Economy Minister and Meretz MK Yair Golan said that residents of the Homesh outpost “are not people, these are subhumans, they are despicable.”

In December 2021, Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev’s comments about settler violence sparked outrage among Israel’s right-wing politicians.

“I met today with the Deputy Secretary of State of the United States, Ms. Victoria Nuland,” Bar-Lev wrote on Twitter at the time, alongside a photo of himself shaking hands with the diplomat.

“The Deputy Secretary of State was interested [in discussing] among other things, settler violence and how to reduce tensions in the region and strengthening the Palestinian Authority.”

Bar-Lev said he told Nuland that issuing more work permits for Palestinians to work in Israel “is a key to reducing tensions,” as well as Israel bankrolling a joint Palestinian-Israeli industrial zone near Gaza.

Despite criticism over his statements, Bar Lev doubled down on his remarks.

Those offended by his remarks, Bar-Lev wrote on Twitter, are upset that he’d held up “a mirror in front of your face that proves [reports of] extremist settler violence reaches the whole world and foreign governments are interested in the issue.”

“Whoever is having a hard time with this should drink a glass of water,” he added.