Who Buys ‘Price Tag’ Crimes?
Prominent religious Zionist rabbi blames radical education for vandalism
Rabbi Yosef Blau, head of Religious Zionists of America, has an important, honest, and self-aware op-ed in the Jerusalem Post questioning whether mainstream religious Zionism is responsible for “price tag” responses. In the West Bank, tag mechir has come to mean writing graffiti or otherwise vandalizing Palestinian structures, including mosques, after the Israeli authorities have removed settlement outposts. Settlement leaders are on record as opposing such acts. But Blau asks if that actually amounts to anything:
The criticized actions flow directly from what these adolescents have been taught. The roots of their behavior can be found in a number of ideas, some taught in a more widespread fashion than others, promulgated by broad sections of the dati leumi (Religious Zionist) world.
Thus even those who do not support revenge or violence may actually contribute to it.
One of these ideas is that Jews are intrinsically superior beings of a higher order than non-Jews.
This axiom leads to the conclusion that a Jewish life is worth more than that of a non-Jew. The Arabs in particular are viewed as intractable enemies of the Jews and often equated with Amalek, whom the Jews were commanded to wipe out.
Elizabeth Rubin touched on price tag operations in her Tablet Magazine piece last week. In fact, in what turned out to be a preview of this essay, Blau commented, “As a zionist and religious Jew I am appalled by the manipulation of teen age girls in a school which focuses on indoctrination rather than education. … It is not surprising that in a black and white world a response to government forces removing settlers from a site based on court decisions and elected government policy is to destroy a Mosque and vandalize an Army base.”
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.