Both Ahed Tamimi and Yifat Alkobi were questioned for slapping a soldier in the West Bank, but little else about their cases are similar — simply because one is Jewish, the other Palestinian
This slap didn’t lead the nightly news. This slap, which landed on the cheek of a Nahal soldier in Hebron, did not lead to an indictment. The assailant, who slapped a soldier who was trying to stop her from throwing stones, was taken in for questioning but released on bail the same day and allowed to return home.
Prior to this incident, she had been convicted five times — for throwing rocks, for assaulting a police officer and for disorderly conduct, but was not jailed even once.
In one instance, she was sentenced to probation, and in the rest to a month of community service and practically a token fine, as compensation to the injured parties. The accused systematically failed to heed summonses for questioning or for legal proceedings, but soldiers did not come to drag her out of bed in the middle of the night, nor were any of her relatives arrested. Aside from a brief report by Chaim Levinson about the incident, on July 2, 2010, there were hardly any repercussions to the slap and scratches inflicted by Yifat Alkobi on the face of a soldier who caught her hurling rocks a Palestinians.
The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit said at the time that the army “takes a grave view of any incidence of violence toward security forces,” and yet the assailant goes on living peacefully at home. The education minister didn’t demand that she sit in prison, social media have not exploded with calls for her to be raped or murdered, and columnist Ben Caspit didn’t recommend that she punished to the full extent of the law “in a dark place, without cameras.”
Like Ahed Tamimi, Alkobi has been known for years to the military and police forces that surround her place of residence, and both are considered a nuisance and even a danger. The main difference between them is that Tamimi assaulted a soldier who was sent by a hostile government that does not recognize her existence, steals her land and kills and wounds her relatives, while Alkobi, a serial criminal, assaulted a soldier from her own people and her religion, who was sent by her nation to protect her, a nation in which she is a citizen with special privileges.
Jewish violence against soldiers in the territories has been a matter of routine for years. But even when it seems like there’s no point asking that soldiers in the territories protect Palestinians from physical harassment and vandalism of their property by settlers, it’s hard to understand why the authorities continue to turn a blind eye, to cover up and close cases or not even open them, when the violators are Jews. There is plenty of evidence, some of it recorded on camera. And yet the offenders still sleep at home in their beds, emboldened by divine command and amply funded by organizations that receive state support.
In the winter it’s nice to get warm and cozy under these double standards, but there’s one question that every Israeli should be asking himself: Tamimi and Alkobi committed the same offense. The punishment (or lack thereof) should be the same. If the choice is between freeing Tamimi or jailing Alkobi, which would you choose? Tamimi is to remain in custody for the duration of the proceedings — trial in a hostile military court — and is expected to receive a prison sentence. Alkobi, who was not prosecuted for this offense, and was tried in a civilian court for much more serious offenses, lived at home for the duration of the proceedings. She was represented by a lawyer who did not have to wait at a checkpoint in order to serve his client and her only punishment was community service.
The Likud and Habayit Hayehudi cabinet ministers have no reason to rush to pass a law that would apply Israeli law in the territories. Even without it, the only thing that matters is if you were born Jewish. Everything else is irrelevant.