Last Friday, Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb that killed seventeen-year-old Rina Shnerb, who was hiking with her family, and wounded her father and brother. The attack comes a few weeks after the murder of nineteen-year-old Dvir Sorek by Hamas operatives near a village bus stop. Gershon Hacohen comments:
From the Palestinian perspective, Jews can—perhaps—be permitted to exist in their urban high-rises and engage in their white-collar occupations in high-tech and commerce. That is the Jews’ place. The open spaces, on the other hand—the fields, springs, and pastures—these the Arabs must control. The former prime minister Ehud Barak used the phrase “villa in the jungle” to describe Israel’s existential experience, a metaphor worth examining. In their quest for security, the Jews exist in spaces surrounded by fences—a type of upscale, safe ghetto with boundaries they dare not cross.
On the face of it, the “villa in the jungle” metaphor [suggests] a modern high-tech-like outlook. . . . In practice, it is a direct continuation of the [centuries-old] diasporic Jewish experience of ghettoization, the Pale of Settlement, and denial of agricultural and farming opportunities that Zionism has sought to reverse.
For decades now, the Palestinians have understood the essence of their struggle better than the Jews have understood theirs. The purpose of the Zionist enterprise was clear long ago, and Israelis would be wise to re-embrace it: re-establishment of statehood and full sovereignty in the Jews’ ancestral homeland in its full scope. Not in a small, ghettoized, urban “villa in the jungle.”