Here is a short but fascinating lesson in Israeli-style democracy, equality and coexistence. Footage from a CCTV security camera documents the incident in the Arab Galilee village of Kafr Kana on Nov. 7, in which Israeli police killed a young Arab man. Now, imagine that the incident had taken place in the settlement of Yitzhar. Imagine that the 22-year-old man who banged on the windows of the police cruiser and then started backing away was not named Khair Hamdan, but rather Nir Hemed; that he was one of those known as “hilltop youth” who do not recognize government authority and who regularly harass the security forces. How would Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have reacted to Nir being shot to death in the back by the police? Would Netanyahu have pledged to examine the option of revoking the citizenship of members of the fanatic Jewish sect, as he did with the Palestinians who were involved in rioting? Would Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett have praised the policemen who killed Nir and rushed to their defense, before the Justice Ministry's police investigations unit had even decided whether shooting the young man in the back was justified or not?
The reactions of Arab members of the Knesset were, of course, completely different. Knesset member Ahmad Tibi claimed that Hamdan’s killing was typical of police attitudes toward the Arab public as “enemies who must be destroyed.” Tibi was not being original. An inquiry commission appointed by the government exactly 14 years before the fatal incident in Kafr Kana determined that “the police must imbue its policemen with the understanding that the Arab public at large is not their enemy, and it must not be treated as an enemy.”