ZOA’s Klein Op-ed: Palestinian Culture Rewards and Glorifies Murdering Jews

Though Israelis are scarcely surprised by the phenomenon of Palestinian terrorism, they were nonetheless sickened by the recent rape of a 19-year old girl, Ori Ansbacher, by Arafat Irfaiya, a 29-year old Palestinian Arab from Hebron.

Upon capture by Israeli forces, Irfaiya made plain the motive underlying his foul deed when he told his interrogators, “I entered Israel with a knife because I wanted to become a martyr and murder a Jew.”

Clearly unrepentant, Irfaiya, for good measure, smirked at TV cameras during his court remand hearing.

Irfaiya, who is connected to Hamas, the US- and EU-recognized Palestinian Arab terrorist group that calls in its Covenant for the global murder of Jews, was arrested in 2017 at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount armed with a large kitchen knife, and had indicated that, if released, he would “come back here with a knife.”

Such murderous aspirations are endemic within Palestinian Arab culture, because youth are taught in Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA)’s media, schools and youth camps to aspire to just such acts as a national and religious duty.

Examples include kindergarten graduation ceremonies in which youngsters put on plays about murdering Israelispoem recitals about destroying Israel and its inhabitants’ public honoring by PA officials from Mahmoud Abbas down of youth who attempt to murder Jews; or PA TV inviting children to sing a song that urges Palestinians to seek “war” that will “smash and destroy” Israel; and so on.

Irfaiya has lived some 22 of his 29 years under PA jurisdiction, since much of Hebron came under PA control in 1997. It is therefore scarcely surprising that he should frankly aspire to Jew-murder.

Irfaiya’s case is exceptional, however, for one fact: the PA and the various Palestinian Arab terrorist groups, who normally are uninhibited in naming and claiming their murderers as heroes, have disowned Irfaiya on account of the fact that he raped his victim prior to murdering her. It is likely that they fear that the act of rape might discredit a murder that could otherwise be passed off at home and abroad as an legitimate act of “resistance.”

That is the term given to nationally and religiously-motivated murder in the macabre vocabulary of Palestinian Arab politics. Apparently, terrorists have their scruples when it comes to Jew-rape, just not for Jew-murder.

It therefore seems safe to assume that disavowal of Irfaiya’s raping of his victim is an act of PA damage control and nothing more. After all, it is unlikely that a society that spontaneously celebrates the news of Jews murdered in a terrorist outrage is going to be appalled at the rape of an Israeli woman.

In any event, Irfaiya is but one of hundreds of Palestinian Arab terrorists who routinely end up convicted and jailed by Israel, only for the PA to grant them a generous income whose size is proportionate to the number of Jewish lives they have snuffed out. Conversely, had they died committing their terrorist acts or in the course of seeking to evade apprehension by Israeli police, their families could rely on the PA to glorify their acts, to name schools and streets in their honor, and to provide them with stipends into the indefinite future, courtesy of the international taxpayers who provides the bulk of the PA budget.

In short, within the PA, a career in terrorism is the most honorable of callings. The recognition and honor it inspires are enormous, and the financial incentives and rewards are generous. In a society in which youth is taught to aspire, if need be, to a violent death in the course of murdering Jews, the disincentive of death and injury is not anything like the inhibitor one would expect it to be in the Western world.

As Western publics have learned in recent years, death in the cause of waging terrorist war on non-Muslims has attracted no shortage of Muslim men and women across the globe. The remarkable distinction in the Palestinian case is that acts of jihadist terrorism do not enjoy wall-to-wall public approval in other Muslim societies.

In the PA-controlled West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Hamas-controlled Gaza, they do. Thus the absence of peace and thus, too, the durability of hostilities.

Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). He was named one of the top five Jewish leaders in the U.S. by National Jewish weekly. Follow him @mortonaklein7 and ZOA.org.

  • Center for Law & Justice
    We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
    We assist American victims of terrorism in vindicating their rights under the law, and seek to hold terrorists and sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions.
    We fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses.
    We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.