Neighbors and Responsibilities

If you see your neighbor do something illegal, you have an obligation, according to American law (and Israeli law) to do something. When you choose not to report a crime committed by your neighbor, you can, in many countries, be charged with aiding and abetting.

Elie’s unit guards around several Arab villages. Two recent incidents were the topic of our discussions as I drove Elie back to base this morning. Last night, Arabs from Azzoun threw a firebomb at an Israeli vehicle, lightly injuring the driver, who was treated at the scene and then taken to the hospital. I was curious about Elie’s response that today things would be quiet.

“They won’t be allowed to cross the checkpoint today. Except the doctors.” Humanitarian reasons aside, the Arabs from Azzoun will not be able to cross into Israel.

In one incident, an Arab approached Elie recently and asked.
“Why can’t I go in?” he asked.

“Because your neighbor threw a rock at an Israeli car,” Elie answered.

“Which neighbor?” the man questioned.

“You are asking ME which of YOUR neighbors threw the rock?”

Entrance to jobs, hospitals and shopping in Israel is not a right, it is a privilege that comes with responsibilities and the simplest of these responsibilities is to act in a reasonable way. Israel has withdrawn from most of the Palestinian cities, leaving them in charge of their own social and even security-related issues. Elie’s answer was direct and obvious – meet your responsibility; be your brother’s keeper; prevent your neighbor from launching violent attacks against us, and you can enter our cities, our malls.

Even if you don’t, we’ll still let you enter our hospitals, because these are for humanitarian reasons, but we will take a few minutes to confirm you are a doctor, to check your ambulances.

Stop the violence, and we won’t have to do these checks; stop the terrorism, and you can enter our malls and cities. Stop your neighbor from throwing rocks at our innocent civilians, and neither your innocents, nor ours, will suffer. Yesterday, your neighbor threw a rock or a firebomb and so today, you will not go to work. If that bothers you, stop your neighbor today, and you can go tomorrow.

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