Hebron in the occupied West Bank is the traditional site of the first hold of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel according to the Bible. Read once a year, this week’s parsha, Hayyei Sarah, tells how Abraham bought a plot of land to bury Sarah. In modern times, Hebron was the site of an anti-Jewish massacre in 1929 by Palestinian mobs. Since the 1970s, it has been a place of what Yitzhak Rabin called wild weeds of settler violence and terror. Since 1996, Jewish rightwing and religious extremists converge on Hebron to commemorate the reading of that Torah portion named after the matriarch Sarah. You can read about these events here and here and here as announced and reported by rightwing religious sources. Like a “Jewish Woodstock.”
This year, Hayyei Sarah was pocked by extreme act of anti-Palestine violence by hundreds of religious Jews marching into parts of the occupied Hebron ostensibly controlled by the Palestinian Authority. You can read about the spike in anti-Palestinian attacks by religious settlers in the days leading up this week here. Reports about today’s violence in leftwing, center, and center right new English language sources in Israel are here and here and here. The most comprehensive article in the press is here in Ha’aretz including interviews with Palestinian residents of Hebron, and Jewish soldiers and settlers. The anti-Palestinian violence, from soldiers and settlers was especially extreme this year.
The violence is organized around Jewish religion. The rioters are all religious Jews. But the state is ultimately responsible. They let this happen and these events possible. Long abetted by the State and the IDF whose soldiers “maintain the peace” of the Occupation, this is the wave of religious fanaticism about to sweep into the governing coalition to be led by Benjamin Netanyahu, changing the face of the country. There is too much Judaism in Israel, unbalanced and unchecked. Judaism in Israel is the religion of a violent ghetto, a saturating supremacy and racism with no regard for human values, respect for other people, unhinged and unhinging. These not so new mutations in religious Zionism are corruptions of the human image and desecrate God.