Suicide Notes Provide a Window into Terrorists’ Motivations

Dec. 16 2021

In the past ten weeks, by Nadav Shragai’s reckoning, there have been eight shooting and stabbing attacks in Jerusalem alone, and several others elsewhere in the country. Although these terrorists are not actually blowing themselves up as their predecessors in the 1990s and 2000s did, many if not most seem to expect to be killed in the process—thus becoming “martyrs” (in Arabic, shahids). Roughly half of those carrying out such attacks leave behind testimonies to be read after their deaths, which often make their way around social media. Shragai examines these documents:

The wills often tell a story that is not religious or nationalist, but of personal distress. Mohammad Younis, who last week ran his car into a security guard at the Te’enim checkpoint near Tulkarm in Judea and Samaria, is believed to have argued with his father before taking his car without permission and deciding to become a “martyr.”

Other times, the motive is revenge, or identification with other shahids; what the Shin Bet calls “copycat attacks” or “infection.” . . . The most common motive documented in the wills is the desire to defend the al-Aqsa mosque from “Jewish invasion,” a reference to Jewish visits to the Mount. In Palestinian society, the al-Aqsa shahids are considered the elite, celebrities in every sense, guaranteed a place of honor in the Palestinian pantheon of martyrs. Their wills are accordingly popular.

Fuad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi from Issawiya in eastern Jerusalem, who opened fire on two police officers, also said in his writings that he sought to become a martyr. “My death was to sanctify and glorify Allah. . . . Don’t spread hatred in the hearts of my brothers after my death. Let them discover the religion and their own path, so they can die for the purpose of being a shahid and not as revenge,” he wrote.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jihadism, Palestinian terror

 

What Israel Can Learn from Its Declaration of Independence

March 22 2023

Contributing to the Jewish state’s current controversy over efforts to reform its judicial system, observes Peter Berkowitz, is its lack of a written constitution. Berkowitz encourages Israelis to seek a way out of the present crisis by looking to the founding document they do have: the Declaration of Independence.

The document does not explicitly mention “democracy.” But it commits Israel to democratic institutions not only by insisting on the equality of rights for all citizens and the establishment of representative government but also by stressing that Arab inhabitants would enjoy “full and equal citizenship.”

The Israeli Declaration of Independence no more provides a constitution for Israel than does the U.S. Declaration of Independence furnish a constitution for America. Both documents, however, announced a universal standard. In 1859, as civil war loomed, Abraham Lincoln wrote in a letter, “All honor to Jefferson—to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.”

Something similar could be said about Ben Gurion’s . . . affirmation that Israel would be based on, ensure, and guarantee basic rights and fundamental freedoms because they are inseparable from our humanity.

Perhaps reconsideration of the precious inheritance enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence could assist both sides in assuaging the rage roiling the country. Bold and conciliatory, the nation’s founding document promises not merely a Jewish state, or a free state, or a democratic state, but that Israel will combine and reconcile its diverse elements to form a Jewish and free and democratic state.

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Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Israel's Basic Law, Israeli Declaration of Independence, Israeli politics