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What do we do when terror strikes Tel Aviv?

Following Friday’s shooting attack in central Tel Aviv, the Israeli Right has called to allow more civilians to carry weapons.

Police officers inspect the scene of the shooting attack on Dizengoff Street, central Tel Aviv, January 1, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Police officers inspect the scene of the shooting attack on Dizengoff Street, central Tel Aviv, January 1, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Even now we still do not have all the necessary details about the horrific murder that took place Friday at Tel Aviv’s “Simta” bar, making it difficult to speak with certainty about the story. And yet, there are a few things we can say — both about the murder of Alon Bakal and Shimon Ruimi, and the way the media and political echelon has dealt with the tragedy.

Tel Aviv: One thing is sure, there is no justification for the special treatment Tel Aviv receives when it comes to murder and violence, as opposed to everywhere else in the country. This is especially noticeable in the media, which is shocked by the fact that “this” has come to Tel Aviv — whether it’s rockets from Gaza or terrorist attacks. As if rockets on Sderot or Ashkelon, or murders in Jerusalem, are routine, and murders in Be’er Sheva or Afula are more of the same. But a “terror attack in the heart of Tel Aviv” — as the top story on Ynet declared — now we really need to talk about it! Has anyone ever seen a headline reading “Attack in the heart of Rishon Lezion?”

No, there is nothing more or less horrifying about a murder in Tel Aviv. It can terrify us, those who live in the city, since it’s closer, more familiar, and the chance that we know the victims is greater. But even if the majority of journalists are from Tel Aviv, there is no reason this should be reflected in the coverage.

But it isn’t only the media that treats Tel Aviv differently. “Talkbackers” — those who leave comments on news articles — were quick to celebrate the “popping of the Tel Aviv bubble,” “now they’ll get it” read the comments. As if Tel Aviv is some terror-proof bubble, as if people haven’t been murdered here in the past, as if they haven’t been stabbed, as if buses haven’t been blown up here, as if there was no massacre at the Bar-Noar LGBT youth center, as if rockets never fell here during wartime, etc.

As if Tel Aviv is some island disconnected from the rest of the country. As if the murdered were simply “Tel Avivians” — despite the fact that neither of them are from Tel Aviv. As if people will stop spending time at cafes (they didn’t stop, many of them continued drinking their coffee as the killer was being pursued in the streets). As if one more murder will change the rich, multi-dimensional politics of this city.

The right to bear arms: The immediate response by Likud MK Amir Ohana was that he was planning on increasing the distribution of weapons to private citizens in the name of security. This is the continuation of Israel’s Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, who has already made it easier for civilians to carry weapons, canceling the restrictions on security guards to take their weapons with them after work. This is also the continuation of copying the American model of politics, with the Right in Israel importing the sickening fetish for more and more guns in the streets.

Police forensic officers, spokespeople and commanders at the scene of the shooting attack on Tel Aviv's Dizengoff's Street, January 1, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Police forensic officers, spokespeople and commanders at the scene of the shooting attack on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff’s Street, January 1, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

If there is anything we can learn from the attack, it is precisely how the proliferation of weapons puts civilian lives in danger. As far as we know, the automatic weapon used in the attack belongs to a family member of the killer. The same goes for hundreds of shooting deaths by authorized weapons every year in the U.S., often caused by the availability of lethal weapons. This is exactly what led President Obama to announce on Friday that he will seek to use his executive powers to tackle the problem of gun violence.

The Israeli “Gun Free Kitchen Tables” campaign has for years been highlighting the fact that violence of security guards who take their weapons home disproportionately affect women. After more and more women were murdered, the campaign’s success reached a fever pitch, pushing the authorities to enforce the law against taking home weapons. The result: not a single woman was murdered by her security guard partner. But now Erdan wants to reverse all that.

For Amir Ohana, it seems these women are nothing more than an unintended consequences, as he wrote on his Facebook page. But now we can easily see that not only women are in danger, but all of us.

Terror: It is too early to determine and fully understand what happened Friday at the bar, but what is clear is that we cannot simply look at it as simply another form of terror. In the first hours following the attack, the biggest question on everyone’s mind was whether the attacker was a “minority,” which would mean he was a “terrorist” and that the event was a “terror attack.” The other option? That the attack was Jewish, and therefore it was likely “criminally-motivated” — or in other words: less frightening and less upsetting.

A policeman looks on as Police forensic officers, spokespeople and commanders inspect the scene of the shooting attack in central Tel Aviv, January 1, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A policeman looks on as Police forensic officers, spokespeople and commanders inspect the scene of the shooting attack on Dizengoff Street, central Tel Aviv, January 1, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

What we know is that the killer is likely mentally unstable — potentially as a result of the killing of his cousin at the hands of Israeli Police (no one was ever charged for the killing) — and who was already convicted of trying to steal a weapon from an Israeli soldier. The family of the alleged perpetrator also claim that his mental state has deteriorated over the past few years. On the other hand, there is no proof that he made any political or jihadist-related declarations — neither in the past nor in the lead-up to the murder.

Does this meet the criteria for terrorism on nationalistic grounds? Likely not. Yes, the murder of two people in a bar and the wounding of others in the middle of the day terrifies all of us. In this sense, the killings were an act of terror. But so are mob hits or school shootings in the U.S.

So what do we do? First of all respond to the event as it is, not according to what we have decided it is based on previous knowledge or outright racism (after all, it didn’t stop groups of people from yelling “death to Arabs” in central Tel Aviv on Friday). The police needs to do its job, find the murderer, and put him on trial. There is no legitimacy for destroying his home or torturing his relatives, who were the first to call the police and help. Moreover, we must not respond to this incident differently than any other murder simply because it happened in Tel Aviv. And we must think long and hard about our policies vis-a-vis distributing weapons to civilians.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ginger Eis

      Two people were killed and two others seriously wounded in the shooting near the Dizengoff Center Mall, just before 3 p.m. Friday. Five more were lightly or moderately injured when the gunman walked out of a health foods shop on Dizengoff Street, and began spraying bullets from his automatic machine gun. (…). Security sources said Friday that the gunman is a 29-year-old man from the village of Arara in the Wadi Ara area, who had carried out a “NATIONALISTIC TERROR” attack. (…).The killer was acting out of “Islamist” motives, having been incited to violence, Channel 2 quoted security officials saying Friday evening. He had in the past served a five-year jail term for a 2007 incident in which he attacked an IDF soldier with a screwdriver and tried to grab his weapon”.

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/security-tight-in-tel-aviv-as-manhunt-for-dizengoff-gunman-continues/

      1. The persons who claim that the terrorist has psychiatric problems are his relatives and his lawyer who also is his relative!

      2. EVEN IF the terrorists has psychiatric problems, it does not take away from the fact that it was a terrorist attack, because
      (a) the terrorist was not criminally insane.
      (b) the attack was pre-meditated and carefully planned;
      (c) the target – Jews/those mistaken to be Jews and those non-Jews whose death cannot be avoided in order to kill Jews – was well chosen;
      (d) the intent was: kill as many targets as possible;
      (e) The attack was meticulously executed.
      (f) The result: dead Jews. Wounded Jews in hospitals.

      After accomplishing his mission, the terrorist fled and is still on the run. The terrorist is thus conscious of the evil nature of his actions and his guilt. This constellation of facts rule out the BS Mr. Chaggai Matar is trying to sell.

      Reply to Comment
      • Wayne

        Articulate. I find this interesting though:

        “But it isn’t only the media that treats Tel Aviv differently. “Talkbackers” — those who leave comments on news articles — were quick to celebrate the “popping of the Tel Aviv bubble,” ”now they’ll get it” read the comments. As if Tel Aviv is some terror-proof bubble, as if people haven’t been murdered here in the past, as if they haven’t been stabbed, as if buses haven’t been blown up here, as if there was no massacre at the Bar-Noar LGBT youth center, as if rockets never fell here during wartime, etc.”

        Schadenfreude, perhaps? But why? We saw that in Paris just a few weeks ago. How about you feel Schadenfreude too, Ginger?

        Reply to Comment
      • Lion Of Judah

        Wayne, if I may, some people are either still in deep slumber or have their heads buried in the sand regarding Israel’s security situation, terrorism and the real reason for terrorism. Those people are concentrated in Tel Aviv, just like Paris. They are out of touch and might wake up from their slumber and start understanding when terror “hits home” in Tel Aviv as it “hits home” in for example Hebron. Then they might start understanding that in the mind of the terrorists, terrorist masterminds and organizers of terror, there is no difference between Maale Adumim and Tel Aviv. I think there is some “Schadenfreude” going on in some “talk backs”.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bruce Gould

          Amos Oz responds: ( http://www.btselem.org/btselem-newsletter/148537 )

          ” But I also reject the attempt to pin recent events exclusively on incitement or “anti-Semitism”, while discounting the occupation regime with its many years of daily violence against millions of Palestinians bereft of rights. “

          Reply to Comment
          • Merkava

            Bruce BEN “Israel” Gould,

            What “daily violence against millions of Palestinians” do you mean?

            By “daily violence against millions of Palestinians” you mean the almost daily butchering of innocent men, women and children in the streets of Israel by Palestinian Arabs wielding meat-cleavers and machetes?

            By “daily violence against millions of Palestinians” running innocent men, women and children over with cars and buses, while they wait at a bus stop by Palestinian Arabs?

            By “daily violence against millions of Palestinians” the daily ambushing of Jewish motorists on the highway and shooting them dead by Palestinian Arabs?

            By “daily violence against millions of Palestinians” the daily services, such as water, electricity, etc. that Israel supplies to the Palestinian Arabs at a rate far lower than what Israelis pay for the same services, and hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid bills for services delivered?

            What “daily violence against millions of Palestinians” are you talking about, moron? The “occupation” perhaps? If so, then say it and we will debate it – assuming you have a mind of your own, are able to think with your own brain, and will not be copying and pasting the OPINIONS of ideological political pundits to compensate for what you cant produce yourself in your own brain and for your propaganda purposes.

            Reply to Comment
          • Exactly right.

            Reply to Comment
          • Merkava

            Well said, Greg. Indeed, we know that what the Palestinians mean by “occupation” is the land between the river and the sea. That is what they say amongst themselves in Arabic (incl. on this site by one of the Arab columnists). But when they talk in English, they allude to what they call the “67-borders”, which of course are no borders, to dupe gullible Westerners.

            We also know that Israel has offered the Palestinian Arabs (a) a state of their own in (b) 100% of Gaza, (c) 100% contiguous equivalent of the West Bank and (d) Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, but they rejected that, because they did not get to flood Israel with enough Arab “refugees” to at a point in time be able to alter the demographic balance and achieve what they could not achieve in the battlefield: end of Israel and sovereignty of the heart of Judaism: J’lem.

            http://www.timesofisrael.com/hand-drawn-map-shows-what-olmert-offered-for-peace/ The map embedded in the story is a document from the Palestinian Authority!

            The “daily violence against millions of Palestinians” Bruce Ben “Israel” Gould rants about is just nonsense and quite a stupid thing to say by someone who does not know how good life is in the West Bank compared to many communities in the Muslim Arab world. In any case, until the Palestinians accept a two state solution: (a) a Jewish state and (b) an Arab state (as also called for by the UN), the “occupation” will continue. A Jewish state means: the nation state of the Jewish people. An Arab state means the nation state of the Palestinian Arabs. I am sure that is not too difficult to understand – even for Greg Palock?

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Yossi Verter on Netanyahu’s revolting performance in Tel Aviv:

      http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.695099

      Netanyahu’s speech at scene of Tel Aviv shooting: A shameful, fear-spreading horror show
      The prime minister proved that he has not lost his penchant for hatred and inciting against minorities, for seizing every tragedy to make political hay. It was low, even by his own standards.

      Reply to Comment
      • Merkava

        And there you have your resident jerk, Bruce BEN “Israel” Gould, with his usual copy-and-paste-job.

        When Netanyahu speaks of cracking down on “Jewish incitement and terrorism”, he is called a hero, a great leader and statesman, the democrat of our time!

        BUT, when Netanyahu dares speak of cracking down on Muslim Arab incitement, terrorism and waves of crimes and murder that is taking the lives of many innocent civilians, it is called “hate speech” and BEN starts salivating!

        Oh, the hypocrisy of it all! BEN does NOT understand that Haaretz is a crumbling ideologically far-leftist propagandist newspaper that tries to use sensationalism and falsehoods to generate “internet traffic” and money! BEN has no mind of his own, is incapable of thinking for himself, and swallows every anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda line, sink and hooker. This anti-Semite, BEN, claims he is from the “United States” and “Britain”, but dwells in the comment section of Jewish websites EVERY SINGLE day ranting against Jews and Israel with multiple aliases, including Jewish sounding names.

        Obsession with Jews and Israel is a serious mental illness, BEN, Seek, professional help!

        Reply to Comment
        • Israel

          Ginger LIES alias “Merkava” alias “Donkey of Judah” alias “Daniel” alias “Cindy” alias etc.,

          Deal FIRST with the vile and racist anti-Semitic FILTH that YOU YOURSELF spew on this site, while posing as – among others – “Merkava”. After that we will get to to all of the other vile and racist stuff you must deal with BEFORE we can BEGIN to address the subject of your filthy Satanic Zionist Führer and the OBSCENE crimes against humanity he is PROUDLY perpetrating in Palestine on a daily basis IN THE NAME OF ALL JEWS.

          Zionism is a very serious mental illness. Look in the mirror, Ginger LIES: You are a sick little Zionist anti-Semite and hypocrite and you are not fooling anyone with your puppet show!

          Reply to Comment
          • Merkava

            As usual, whenever BEN loses an argument against his fellow men: myself, Gustav, Daniel etc., he runs away and melts away like the little coward he is and re-emerges as “Israel” and starts barking like a deranged lunatic and shouting Ginger, Ginger, Ginger! BEN is afraid of and runs away from his fellow men. He cannot debate mano-a-mano. What a scared little old turd!

            Reply to Comment
          • Qur'an

            “….whenever BEN loses an argument against his fellow men: myself, Gustav, Daniel etc., he runs away and melts away like the little coward he is and re-emerges as “Israel” and starts barking like a deranged lunatic and shouting Ginger, Ginger, Ginger! BEN is afraid of and runs away from his fellow men. He cannot debate mano-a-mano. What a scared little old turd!”

            Very astute!

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            Nah, as usual, whenever Ginger LIES loses the plot, runs out of other peoples’ ideas and legal arguments to copy/paste or just wants to spread vile anti-semitic blood-libels about Palestinians, SHE suddenly melts away, being the vile little anti-semitic Zionist oxygen thief and coward she is, and metamorphoses into one of her many aliases, in this case: “Merkava”, and starts hallucinating about Ben. GINGER LIES is a psychotic man-hating Zionist oxygen thief and anti-Semite, but dreams about “Ben” whom she is obsessed with. What a senile old Zionist turd. Piss off back home to Stormfront, Ginger LIES!

            Reply to Comment
          • Qur'an

            Ben alias “Israel”

            What everyone can see on this site is that Ginger Eis does not respond to Ben. Ben feels rejected and treated like he does not exist. He feels inferior, gets angry and compulsively obsessive and acting out like a mad dog.

            You are too stupid not to know that even a child knows that Ben and “Israel” are the same person.

            If you know were Ginger has responded to Ben, pls. show us!

            Now, continue barking, Ben/Israel.

            Bark…….

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            Ginger LIES alias “Qur’an”,

            Nah, what everyone can see on this site is that Ginger LIES is a mindless little Zionist Chihuahua!

            Now, bark for us! Bark Louder!

            Entertain us, Ginger LIES!

            Reply to Comment
    3. Yonatan

      Why not just go the whole hog and give Israelis the right to shoot Palestinians on sight? Call it ‘pre-emptive terror protection’. Known in the real world as ‘he looked at me funny’.

      Reply to Comment
      • Merkava

        Another show of stupidity. I told you before that there is nothing in a name. The problem with you is that your mind is empty and unproductive. Because of that, you can only copy and paste the opinions of political pundits. And when you are not copying and pasting you can only rant and ramble as you are doing now. Using 100-Jewish (sounding) names and 100-aliases (a) will not change that fact, because you still have ONE mind that remains empty and unproductive and will always end up talking gibberish and saying NOTHING, running around in circles and repeating the same things over and over again, and (b) only goes to shows how clinically obsessed you are with Jews and Israel! You do not have the intelligence to produce the goods. Stop trying and go find job. Get a life, moron.

        Reply to Comment
        • Qur'an

          That’s an excellent description of Ben, you just gave there, Merkava. Boy, that dude is a complete jackass. He is quite obsessed with Ginger in a very sick way. That is very evident when he is posing as “Israel”.

          Reply to Comment
        • Israel

          Another awesome show of stupidity from Ginger LIES. Her mind completely destroyed by Zionism, she can never understand that it simply does not matter how often she repeats the same mumbo jumbo over and over and over again, or how many aliases she uses to do it, or how many times she hallucinates that everyone is “BEN”. Her nonsense will always remain your nonsense, and Ginger LIES will always remain irrelevant, and Ginger LIES will always remain the psychotic little Zionist anti-Semite and oxygen thief she will always be, and the Palestinians will always remain in Palestine.

          And there is nothing she can do about any of it, except feel powerless, helpless and angry.

          Reply to Comment
          • Qur'an

            BEN/”Israel”

            You are copying, modifying and pasting Merkava’s post and making yourself crazy about Ginger. Merkava did not even mention your name, but you realized he was describing you?

            Stop barking, idiot.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            Yeah, “Qur’an”, of course, if you say so, LOL…,

            Ok, Ginger LIES, now bark up some more wrong trees for us, and show us what a good little mindless Zionist Chihuahua you are.

            Fetch your “jewish state” for us, Ginger LIES!

            Reply to Comment
          • Qur'an

            Ben/”Israel”

            Now, start barking again rabid dog.

            Bark now …………..

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            Nah, Ginger LIES/”Qur’an”, it is YOU who shall bark…for ME!

            Bark for me, my little mindless Zionist Chihuahua!

            Now bark Again! Bark louder for Me!

            Bark like a filthy Zionist dog!

            Bark for Israel, Ginger Lies!

            Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      As Lisa Goldman tweeted: “That’s our Bibi. Never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to build bridges instead of inciting fear/ hate.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Qur'an

        Ben/Israel,

        Don’t you have better things to do than copying and pasting Lisa Goldman’s tweets, “leffe”?

        You really are quite obsessed with Jews and Israel and in need of professional help, as Merkava has very eloquently stated.

        Reply to Comment
        • Israel

          Ginger LIES, why do you use multiple aliases, including “Qur’an” and “Donkey of Judah”, to argue with yourself, congratulate yourself, and spread anti-Semitic and Islamophobic filth? Are you really that schizophrenic?

          Ok, Ginger LIES, now march out “Merkava”, your butch man-hating Russian-American Jew-fascist lesbian personality, and show us what a schizophrenic Zionist bottom-feeder, Islamophobe and anti-Semite you are, and how obsessed with “BEN” you are.

          Entertain us, Ginger LIES!

          Reply to Comment
          • Qur'an

            Keep barking Ben/Israel.

            Bark now……

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            This BEN alias “Israel” is a demented parrot.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Trolls are in a frenzy tonight. It’s like watching wildlife.

            Reply to Comment
          • Qur'an

            Ben alias “Israel”

            You are a TROLL. See all your posts on this site. Gustav and Merkava destroy you in arguments and what do you do? You roll out “Israel” and starts screaming Ginger, Ginger, Ginger and hurling anti-Semitic insults around. You have serious personal problems and are acting like a mad dog on this site. Seek professional help for your psychiatric problem, idiot.

            Reply to Comment
          • Israel

            And here is further evidence supporting that:

            Ginger LIES is from the “US”;

            Ginger LIES has no job;

            Ginger LIES is not looking for a job;

            Ginger LIES is dependent on foodstamps to survive;

            Ginger LIES has PAID subscriptions for “Jewish” publications ONLY, and NONE form her own country or elsewhere;

            Ginger LIES dwells on different “Jewish” websites EVERY SINGLE day fixating on and obsessing about Arabs, “Ben”, Jews, Muslims, Palestine and Isghael, ranting and raging with multiple aliases (“Qur’an”, Merkava, Donkey of Judah, Hercules, Hannibal the Cannibal, “Big Cat”, “ICat”, etc.) and supporting crimes against humanity being committed by Israel, IN THE NAME OF ALL JEWS – INCLUDING YOU, GINGER LIES!

            Ginger LIES’ damaged brain is under occupation: occupation by Zionism.

            Zionism is a psychiatric illness. In her specific case this illness is very advanced given that she dwells permanently in the comments sections of “Jewish” websites: copying and pasting other peoples’ ideas and legal arguments, ranting and raging and spreading vile anti-Semitic blood-libels about Palestinians, hallucinating that everyone is “Ben”, whitewashing the war crimes that the Israel commits daily “in the name of all Jews”, glorifying the continual crimes against humanity that Israel proudly perpetrates in Palestine “in the name of all Jews”, employing multiple aliases to do this, incl. posing as a chic with a dic!

            Please seek professional help, Ginger LIE, you SICK ZIONIST PSYCHOPATH!

            Reply to Comment
          • Qur'an

            Keep barking Ben alias “Israel”, make our day!

            Reply to Comment
    5. Carmen

      What do we do when terror strikes Tel Aviv?

      How about kiss?

      Reply to Comment
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