Ruthie: Yes Mam!
Yitzhak Aharonovitz: Mam, you called for me?
Izzie: Yeah. Sit down, Yitzhak.
Aharonovitz: What can I do for you?
Izzie: I just read about this brutal murder in Jaffa.
Aharonovitz: Oh yeah, that. Five members of the XXX family. Terrible, terrible.
Izzie: And there’s no suspect?
Aharonovitz: Nope. But I can promise you we’ll do everything we can.
Izzie: I want you to do more.
Aharonovitz: Such as?
Izzie: Well, I saw what happened in Awarta after the murder of the Fogel family from Itamar.
Aharonovitz: Well, Ms. HolyLand, those are tactics we use only in the West Bank.
Izzie: Are you saying there’s a different law for Palestinians?
Izzie: What is this, some kind of apartheid state?!?!
Aharonovitz: Well, I wouldn’t go so far as —
Izzie: Yitzhak! Shut up and use the Awarta technique! Now!
The next morning, Izzie picks up the paper and reads the Haaretz lead story:
16,000 citizens of Bat Yam arrested, city under siege.BAT YAM – The Israeli police literally took over the town of Bat Yam yesterday in an effort to search for the murderers of the XXX family last week. Just under 10% of the city, 16,000 people, have been taken into custody and been held without due process.
Five members of the XXX family from Jaffa were brutally murdered on Friday, and the police have yet to find any clue as to who the perpetrator or perpetrators may be. The belief is they came from the nearby town of Bat Yam.
Israeli Police Chief Dudi Cohen told Haaretz: “In this case, we decided to adopt the tactics used recently in the village of Awarta to find the murderers of the Fogel family from Itamar”. Cohen said that at the moment thousands of Israeli police were randomly rounding up men, women and children and taken to the nearest police station. He added that they are not allowed to meet with lawyers and refused to specify how long the thousands of people would be held.
Citizens of Bat Yam told of midnight raids where houses and property were damaged. One resident told Haaretz of the events that took place in his home. “The police treated us like Arabs. Worse – like Palestinians! They broke my fridge, emptied my rice and sugar bags on the floor. My kids practically wet themselves with fear.”
Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman said the trigger for the change in tactics was an interview by former IDF Chief Rabbi Brig. Gen. Avichai Ronski after the murder of the Fogel family. Speaking last month in an interview with the Walla news website, Ronski said:
“A village like this, like Awarta, from which the murderers of the Fogel family and of the Shebo family emerged, must suffer as a village. A situation must be created whereby the inhabitants prevent anyone in this village from harming Jews. Yes, it is collective punishment. They must not be allowed to sleep at night, they must not be allowed to go to work, they must not be allowed to drive their cars. There are many ways.”
Ne’eman added that Bat Yam residents, just like those of Awarta, will also not be allowed to sleep until the murderers of the XXX family are found. “Israel is not an apartheid state. If the Palestinians have no legal rights, we’re determined Israelis will suffer the same.”
Another resident told how his 11-year-old son was taken from his home by police at midnight by gunpoint. “They broke down the door, asked me where Yossi was, went into my boy’s bedroom and dragged him out. We have no idea where they took him.”
Cohen said the raids will continue until progress in the investigation is reached. He also promised residents of Bat Yam truckloads of basic supplies, if they cooperate, until the siege ends. When asked about the police activity planned for today, Cohen refused to elaborate, but said that the city’s women will most likely be rounded up by noon.
Ruthie: Ms. HolyLand? Is that you?
Izzie: Who else would it be?
Ruthie: Well, Mam… it’s 3 am. Is something wrong?
Izzie: Yes, Ruthie, of course there is. I just had the worst nightmare. We were denying Israelis their basic civil rights. It was horrible! 16,000 people in Bat Yam were arrested! Tell me it’s not true. We’re not like that, right? We only do that to Palestinians… right? Right, Ruthie?
Ruthie: Yes, Mam. Don’t worry. Hell hasn’t frozen over yet.
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