Thursday, April 19, 2012

So That's What a Sica Looks Like

See that short sword in her left hand, held high?

That's a sica, the weapon-of-choice of the sicarri.  You know, those "Jewish terrorists".

About her?

Oh, here:-

A small bronze statue dating back nearly 2,000 years may be that of a female gladiator, a victorious one at that, suggests a new study...It’s not known where the statue was originally found, though it is currently in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbein Hamburg, the air she raises what the researcher, Alfonso Manas of the University of Granada, believes is a sica, a short curved sword used by gladiators. The gesture she gives is a "salute to the people, to the crowd,"

Recently, in Sh'ma, David Makovsky used the metaphor and added:

In the years leading up to the destruction of the Second Temple, no one stood up to the Sicarii. As the rabbis say, sinat chinam, senseless hatred, destroyed the Second Jewish Commonwealth. If the Third Jewish Commonwealth is to endure, the people and their institutions must stand up against the new, violent hatred of “Price Tag” and other modern “Sicarii” groups, just as they do to Palestinian terrorism.

I sent in a response (that hasn't - yet? - appeared):-

David Makovsky suggests ("A History of Hatred", Sh'ma 42/689, April 2012) that the small group of "Price Tag" hooligans are "the closest inheritor of the Sicarii mantle", that "it is possible they are enjoying the tacit support of a wider group" ajnd they must be stood up to "just as [is done] with Palestinian terrorism".  Makovsky is not only misleading his readers but is engaging in the very sinat chinim he rails against.  For example, no one has been found guilty or even charged with the crime of mosque-torching.

All the representative bodies of the Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have consistently condemned the reckless, irresponsible criminal actions that were carried out under the "Price Tag" label.  Dany Dayan, Naftali Bennet, Elyakim HaEtzni, Pinchas Wallerstein and others are on record, in media interviews and op-ed articles.  Moreover, after the last outburst, "Price Tag" activity has disappeared.  Do Rabbis, educators and public figures need do more?  Yes.  Surely so.  But Makovsky's intimation, which would permit the entire camp of Jews living in Yesha to be stained and besmirched, is itself a bit of internecine warfare, semantic, true, but nevertheless is intended to support an attack on a "wider group" that certainly is not involved and has worked against the phenomenon.

A second disturbing frame of argument employed by Makovsky is comparing Arab terror activity with  "Price Tag" operations.  That is wrong.  David wears a kippa and he knows that Jewish law can turn on the size of an olive.  These kids are not modern-day sicarii.  In fact, I would suggest that the amount of soccer stadium ruffians are many more in absolute numbers here in Israel and have caused damage to life, limb and property which might even equal that of the "Price Tag" teenagers. I am not relieving anyone of responsibility but simple providing some perspective which was lacking in Makovsky's piece which could justify a claim of "we Jews have the Price Taggers and the Arabs have Hamas/Fatah/Islamic Jihad".  That would be immoral because it would, and it could, allow anti-Zionists and others to point a finger of blame which should not be done.

The over 350,000 Jews resident in Judea and Samaria have established institutions of society, social welfare, education, culture, health, immigrant absorption, science, security and politics.  We include voters from Meretz to Shas.  We have a problem and it is being dealt with and hopefully, if not under control, is being treated the best we can, also on the background of the sometimes irrational actions of the Military Government here as well as the absurdities emanating from the Defense Ministry (among other things, I am referring to the latest house purchase in Hebron).

And there is a new book out, The Sicarri in Josephus' Judean War.


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