Current violence part of a jihad, Israeli expert says

One Israeli was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in Ra'anana on Oct. 13, 2015. ISRAEL SUN PHOTO
One Israeli was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in Ra'anana on Oct. 13, 2015. ISRAEL SUN PHOTO

The latest violence in Israel over the last several weeks is a link in a long chain of jihad against Israel and Jews, Mordechai Kedar told a dozen Jewish community leaders in Halifax late last month.

The assistant professor from Bar-Ilan University was concluding a Canadian speaking tour that took him to Regina and several Ontario centres, including Toronto, Kitchener and Hamilton. He’s considered an academic expert on the Israeli-Arab population and is a researcher in Islam, Islamic movements and gender issues, Arabic mass media and popular culture in the Arab world.

“There is nothing different today than decades ago, but this is not at the level of mass killing of the intifadah of say, 14 years ago, when buses were blown up, causing a massive number of casualties. Today, the knife is fashionable because of the way ISIS uses it.”

Fluent in English, Hebrew and Arabic, the 1998 PhD graduate from Bar-Ilan showed a series of Arab pictures and political cartoons stressing how that community sees itself – images of Arabs holding Jews at bay with knives and depicting triumph over Jews, with drawings of the Temple Mount in the background.

Photographs that appeared in the news media displayed signs at funerals of Arab “martyrs” killed while perpetrating attacks, stating “Killing brings us closer to Allah” and “Killing of Zionists is part of the worship of Allah.”

“These are disseminated by the mass media and social media,” Kedar said. “It is a holy war, but Israeli Jews who are without religion in their daily lives can’t understand a holy war. They attribute the attacks on Jews and the hatred of Jews on economics, human rights and other issues.”

He admitted that there are educated, modern Arabs who would live in peace and recognize Israel as a state, and they are not violent people.

“However, in every encounter between violent and non-violent groups, the violent always prevail… and the foundation is religion.”

He stressed Israel’s story of success, discussing how Israel attained its sovereignty, renewed its Hebrew language, and became a modern, democratic country with the longest life expectancy in the region.

“In every criteria, Israel is a story of great success,” he noted.

“The Arabs hate each other, kill each other. They envy us and they hate us,” he added.

“Arab countries think that if you project power and the readiness to use it, people won’t mess with you. That is their mindset. If you’re perceived to beg for peace, you’re disrespected, humiliated, subjugated. But we know that when peace is resolved, you’re respected.”

He concluded that the support Israel has within its borders and from democratic nations throughout the world gives it power.