Screaming “Allah akbar!”–the Islamic battlecry, “God is Great!”–two Palestinians wielding meat cleavers and a gun slaughtered five worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue.
Three of the dead were Americans holding Israeli citizenship. Four of them were rabbis.
Eight people were injured–and one later died–before the attackers were killed in a shootout with police.
Aftermath of the attack on unarmed rabbis in a Jerusalem synagogue
The attack–launched on November 18–was the deadliest in Israel’s capital since 2008, when a Palestinian gunman shot eight people in a religious seminary school.
And how did Palestinians react to the grisly murders of five unarmed worshippers?
- Revelers in the Gazan city of Rafah handed out candy and brandished axes and posters of the suspects in praise of the deadly attack.
- Hamas-affiliated social media circulated violent and anti-Semitic cartoons hailing the killings.
- Students in Bethlehem joined in the festivities by sharing candy.
Palestinians celebrating the attack
- The parents of the two terrorists joyfully declared: “They are both Shahids (martyrs) and heroes.”
- A resident of the terrorists’ neighborhood stated: “We have many more youngsters and nothing to lose. They are willing to harm Jews, anything for al-Aqsa.”
- Another resident said: “People here won’t sit quietly, they will continue to respond. We will make the lives of the Jews difficult everywhere.”
And how have Israelis responded to this latest atrocity?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the demolitions of the homes of the attackers.
The blunt truth is that Palestinians have no interest in preventing such attacks on Israeli citizens–because Israel hasn’t given them any.
Blowing up houses only takes out anger on lifeless buildings. Those who lived there are still alive–and able to seek revenge in the future.
As Niccolo Machiavelli once warned: But above all [a ruler] must abstain from taking the property of others, for men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their inheritance.
But there is an alternative which Israelis must almost certainly be considering at this time.
Its purpose: To instill a sense of civic responsibility–however begrudgingly–in their Islamic citizens.
Every time such an atrocity occurs, Israel could deport at least 10,000 Arabs from its territory.
Suddenly, Arabs living in Israel would have real incentive for preventing such attacks against Israelis. Or at least for reporting to police the intentions of those they knew were planning such attacks.
“Hey,” they would think, “if Abdul blows up that police station like he said he wants to, I could get sent to a refugee camp.”
The odds are there would be s sudden influx of Arab informants to Israeli police stations.
Machiavelli, the 15th century Florentine statesmen, carefully studied both war and politics. In his most famous–or infamous–work, The Prince, he advises:
From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved than feared, or feared more than loved. The reply is, that one ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved.
For it may be said of men in general that they are ungrateful, voluble,dissemblers, anxious to avoid danger and covetous of gain; as long as you benefit them, they are entirely yours: they offer you their blood, their goods, their life and their children, when the necessity is remote, but when it approaches, they revolt.
And the prince who has relied solely on their words, without making other preparations, is ruined; for the friendship which is gained by purchase and not through grandeur and nobility of spirit is bought but not secured, and at a pinch is not to be expended in your service.
And men have less scruple in offending one who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared; for love is held by a chain of obligations which, men being selfish, is broken whenever it serves their purpose; but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails.
Machiavelli knew–and warned–that while it was useful to avoid hatred, it was fatal to be despised. And he also warned that humility toward insolent enemies only encourages their hatred.
Accompanying this is the advice of perhaps the greatest general of the American Civil War: William Tecumseh Sherman.
Sherman, whose army cut a swath of destruction through the South in 1864, said it best. Speaking of the Southern Confederacy, he advised: “They cannot be made to love us, but they may be made to fear us.”
Israelis will never be able to make its sworn Islamic enemies love them. But they can instill such a healthy fear in most of them that such atrocities as the recent synagogue butchery will become a rarity.