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We Must Urgently Tackle the Rising Violence in the Country
A man lights a candle beside a portrait of slain Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin outside his Tel Aviv residence early in the morning following his November 4, 1995, assassination. (Courtesy)

We Must Urgently Tackle the Rising Violence in the Country

Ma’ariv, Israel, October 24

In the past, gladiators who fought in enclosed arenas provided entertainment and amusement to the masses. Last week, the backdrop to these battles was replaced by Kaplan Hospital and the Bloomfield Stadium. In the former, a physical brawl broke out between Israeli Knesset Member Ayman Odeh, of the Joint Arab List, and lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party. In the latter, hooligans vandalized the stadium by spraying “Arabs, out!” on its walls.  In both of these cases, the “fighters” who terrorized the opponent were not athletes, but elected officials of the Knesset of Israel in the first case and civilians in the second case. In these battles there was no announcer or judge, but there was a wide audience watching them. The battles were filmed on the viewers’ mobile phone cameras and the documentation was quickly uploaded to social networks and TV channels. It is a pity that a warning was not attached to these videos, alerting viewers that the video may be difficult to watch (and is not for children). Last week, we commemorated the anniversary of the assassination of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The immortal sentence that Rabin said minutes before he was assassinated is well known: “Violence is eroding the foundation of democracy.” Let’s not forget this simple, yet fundamental, lesson. At the recent football game in Bloomfield Stadium, a disabled woman was almost lynched in the bleachers because she rooted for a Muslim player. Passers-by who tried to help her were targeted by the attackers themselves. At Kaplan hospital, the brawl between the two parliamentarians ended only thanks to the intervention of security guards. The truth is that we must roll up our sleeves and deal with burning issues like the rising violence in our country. Violence does not only occur in the backyard of the country. Violence is everywhere, including in parliament, at our stadiums, schools, and even inside our homes. It must be condemned and mitigated. Otherwise, our country may change its face forever. – Orit Miller  (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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