Inside the Arab Mind!
Moslems believe the 21st century to be the “century of Islam,” when all the world must be subjugated to Islam -- and they also believe that the annihilation of Israel is their precursor to conquering the West. Unfortunately, the average Western mind simply does not understand the violence and cunning that makes up the Arab mentality. Unless we come to terms with the Arab mind and combat the Moslem threat to Western civilization, the future could be very grim indeed.
A volatile region is volatile by reason of the cast of mind peculiar to the people dwelling there and that of those who govern it. Peoples and their leaders are prisoners of their cultural values. Arab culture, customs and mind-sets took root thousands of years ago and were the common denominators that ensured survival for this ancient people. Descended from Abraham, the Bedouin Arab desert dwellers possess, to the mind of the modern city or village dwelling Arab, the epitome of everything desirable in manners and customs. Some wealthy Arabs, whose families have lived in cities for generations, send their sons to noble Bedouin villages to experience their traditional customs much the same as the British gentry send their sons to Eton or Cambridge. Arab culture and custom remain the factors that govern the action and thought patterns of the Arab people. This culture is imbibed with the mother’s milk, and its pattern is burned into the very cells that make up the modern Arab mind. It is, more often than not, a prison from which there is no possible escape.
Arab Coffee Service
The Arab world has some customs of which it can be justifiably proud. Arab hospitality, for example, is legendary and has changed little from the Biblical patterns of their ancestors. Just as Abram, in Genesis 18:2-8, killed the fatted calf for three passing strangers, so will today’s Arab feed a stranger the finest of everything he has, and as much as that person can humanly hold. And just as Lot, in Genesis 19:1-3, insisted that the two travelers stay in his house for the night, so, also, will the modern Arab pressure a stranger to remain under his roof and partake of his hospitality. The customs of hospitality and generosity have changed little in 4,000 years, nor have the customs of raiding (thieving, rustling), saving face or savagery.
For the ancient Bedouin, raiding neighboring tribes and villages was a favorite pastime as well as an economic necessity. It was practically the only way they could improve their situation or standard of living. Raiding your enemy, your neighbor and even your own brother was considered to be “one of the few manly occupations” (Raphael Patai, The Arab Mind, p. 81). Today’s farmers, living in the regions of Israel where Bedouin Arabs abound, complain of losing tractors, implements, equipment, livestock, fertilizers, fencing, etc. to their neighbors. And when, because of a rash of murders of Israeli citizens, the Israeli government closed off the administered territories and refused entry to some 100,000 Arab workers from the West Bank and Gaza in 1993, Israeli police reported a 30% drop in car and house thefts. These workers constituted a small percentage of the 5.5 million people in the land, yet they were responsible for nearly one-third of the nation’s car thefts and house burglaries! Some 650,000 Arabs hold Israeli citizenship and live in Israel proper; the reader can thus imagine what percentage of car thefts and burglaries that number is probably responsible for!
The terms, “saving face,” and “loss of face,” are Western terms that describe prominent characteristics endemic to the Eastern world. The Arab either “whitens” the face (saves face), or “blackens” the face (loses face). “Face is the outward appearance of honor, the ‘front’ of honor which a man will strive to preserve even if, in actuality, he has committed a dishonorable act” (ibid., p. 101). In the Arab world “honor” and “face” are so closely related that the words are almost interchangeable. This “face,” or “honor,” is such an integral part of the Arab mind that a person is considered perfectly justified in resorting to deceit and falseness in order to “whiten,” or save, their own, someone else’s or the entire Arab world’s face. The Arab mind is in perpetual motion -- working against “blackening” the face (losing face), and thus sculptures its words accordingly. When it comes to “whitening” or saving somebody else’s face or the face of the Arab world, lying is even considered to be “a duty” (ibid., p. 105).
Arab lying, like Arab hospitality, generosity and raiding, is an echo from the past, as made clear by an early Islamic theologian: “We must lie when truth leads to unpleasant results” (al-Ghazali, quoted in Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 79). “It is sometimes a duty to lie” (ibid.). “If a lie is the only way to reach a good result, it is allowable” (ibid.). And a medieval Syrian poet also wrote: “I lift my voice to utter lies absurd, for when I speak the truth, my hushed tones scarce are heard” (Abu l’Ala 973-1057, quoted in ibid., p. 50). Lying, therefore, has been a normal, integral, prevalent and perfectly acceptable facet of Arab culture since time immemorial. And until the West, its leaders and its politicians understand the full implications of this reflex action of the Arab mind when dealing with members of the Arab world, they can never hope to arrive at the results they aim for. So often one reads statements made by prominent politicians to the effect that it is not what is said by Arab leaders in Arabic that counts, but what they say publicly in English. Such statements are not only naive, but also completely absurd. When push comes to shove, it is only what is said in Arabic that contains the truth. Former United States Ambassador, Malcom Toon, understood this when he said: “If you want to know what leaders of non-democratic regimes really believe, don’t listen to their declarations to Western statesmen and journalists, but to what they say among themselves” (quoted in Dispatch From Jerusalem, Jan/Feb. 1994).
One aspect of “whitening” another’s face is to tell a person, usually with all sincerity intended, what he really wants to hear. Thus, when the conversation is terminated, that person comes away with a positive but completely inaccurate view of the events discussed. As John Laffin, the English Arabist and author of a book entitled The Arab Mind, succinctly put it: “The Arab means what he says at the moment he is saying it. He is neither a vicious nor, usually, a calculating liar but a natural one” (p. 70).
The most incredible thing about the Arab mind’s ability to lie and its unlimited creativity in conjuring up the preposterous, is that it sincerely believes the lies it creates. In Madrid in October 1991, Hanan Ashrawi, the spokeswoman for the PLO negotiating team and the darling of the news media, sidestepped a legitimate question from a Christian journalist and said: “I am a Palestinian Christian and I know what Christianity is. I am a descendant of the first Christians in the world, and Jesus Christ was born in my country, in my land. Bethlehem is a Palestinian town” (from “A Palestinian Version of the New Testament,” Jerusalem Post, International Edition, Jan. 18, 1992). Like most of her other statements, political or otherwise, this one was a series of colossal lies also. Ashrawi is an Arab, and Arabs did not come into the land until Islam conquered the Christians in 637 A.D. All the first Christians were Jews, as was Jesus himself. Bethlehem was in Judea, “in the land of Israel” (Matthew 2:21, 22). Most of those who heard or read her outrageous statement believed it as much as she did, and this only helps to delegitimatize Israel’s presence in the land.
Jordan entered the Arab’s coalition against Israel in the humiliating and devastating 1967 war, because the commander of Egypt’s forces sent a coded communique to King Hussein claiming that Egypt had destroyed 75 percent of Israel’s attacking warplanes, destroyed Israel’s bases in a counterattack, and that its ground forces had penetrated Israel itself (Patai, The Arab Mind, p. 102). The world now knows that Israel almost entirely destroyed Egypt’s air force along with those of three other nations in less than three hours from the commencement of hostilities. But on the strength of repeated Egyptian claims of massive victories, Jordan entered the war and not only added the loss of its air force to that of the other four, but also lost more territory than all of the other aggressors combined. King Hussein of Jordan said: “These [Egyptian] reports -- fantastic to say the least -- had much to do with our confusion and false interpretation of the situation” (ibid., p. 103). John Laffin comments: “To claim to have inflicted heavy military losses on an enemy makes this a fact, even if no military action whatever took place” (Laffin, The Arab Mind, p.50). And an Egyptian Arab says, “When we Arabs praise some imaginary deed, we are carried away by the same feeling of satisfaction that we would feel if we had really carried it out” (the editor of Al-Ahram. Quoted in John Laffin, Fedayeen: The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, p. 105).
“This is a difficult concept for a Westerner to grasp, but until he does so, many Arab actions and statements make little sense” (Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 50). The Arab mind struggles with reality and, therefore, usually operates more in the realm of fantasy. It lives in the glories of its people’s past and not in actualities -- it fabricates events to explain current or past failures.
One needs only to read the Bible to gain some understanding of the savage and cruel nature of the people who inhabit the Middle East. With the exception of around 40 percent of today’s Israelis, the inhabitants of the Middle East have had their roots firmly fixed there for thousands of years -- they are the descendants of men who have fought each other for thousands of years, and who still threaten war in the same sun-scorched desert sands. Approximately 60 percent of Israeli Jews were either born in Arab lands or were born to those who came from Arab lands. Hundreds of thousands of Jews lived among the Arabs during their almost 2,000 years of exile from the Promised Land.
Arab youth parade through streets of Beirut
While the contemporary Israeli is in no way barbarous like the inhabitants of the modern Arab nations (particularly Iraq and Syria), there is a definite tendency among many of the Jews of Eastern origin to exhibit rather violent behavior with very little provocation. This has been most evident in recent days when Israeli policemen from this background disburse those demonstrating against the government’s agreements with the PLO. Wife beating is also prevalent among Israelis of Eastern origin. Some 200,000 women -- five percent of Israel’s Jewish population -- are victims of domestic violence. And the “shame” culture is very much in evidence. Many Israelis will readily tell a lie rather than lose face. All these behavior patterns are the result of exposure to centuries of Arab culture. But Israelis in general are both shocked and outraged by violent or brutal acts, and brutality is neither condoned nor acceptable in Israeli society.
The Arab propensity for barbarity, however, is as old as the Arab people themselves. The LORD said of Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Hagar: “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12 NIV). The truth of those words are contained in an widespread, oft-quoted Arab proverb today: “I against my brothers; I and my brothers against my cousins; I and my cousins against the world” (cited in Patai, The Arab Mind, p. 42). And an Arab writing of his people said, “all our people are armed, all fight, and all kill for the least thing. We are very jealous of our rights...If in this village two houses should suddenly engage in a fight, the entire population would split into two parties and join in the fight. War could break out in the village. When it subsides, and only then, would the people ask what the cause of the fighting was. They fight first, and then inquire as to the cause of the fight. This is our way of life” (Ameen Faris Rihani, quoted in ibid., p. 219).
Another feature of the Bedouin ethos is the law of blood revenge. A much quoted Arab proverb is, “Blood demands blood.” Relatives must avenge the blood of the slain by killing either the actual murderer or one of his relatives. Even when a murderer is apprehended, convicted in a court of law, and executed, it does not fulfill the requirements of blood revenge. One of the relatives of the executed man must die by the hand of one of the victim’s relatives. And, of course, the murdered relative’s blood must be avenged by his relatives. Thus it continues ad infinitum. An Arab man once remarked that “both the Japanese and the Arabs are ready to kill to regain their lost honor; but the Japanese will kill himself, while the Arab will kill somebody else” (cited in ibid., p. 212).
Almost every native English speaker is conversant with the words, assassin, assassinate and assassination. But few would know that these words originate in the Middle East. Assassins was the name given to a medieval “murderous group of Syrian Moslems” (Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 38). The Assassins belonged to a sect of Islam known as Isma’ili, and in a calculated war of terror, they murdered sovereigns, princes, generals, governors and even the divines of Islam. Their murders were designed to frighten, to weaken and ultimately to overthrow the Sunni sect of Islam.
Face of the Devil?
The Assassins terrorized the Middle East from the 11th to the 13th century and derived their name from the Arabic word, Hashshashin, meaning “smokers of hashish.” They whipped themselves into a religious frenzy by the smoking of hashish before committing their murders and were the “forerunners of today’s terrorists” (ibid.). The Assassins seized or bought fortresses for use as bases for their campaign of terror. They gained a great deal of influence and were given a building (traditionally a palace) in Damascus itself for use as their headquarters (ibid., p. 39). Another name by which the ancient Assassins were known was Fedayeen. This word is in common use in Arabic today and is generally applied to all Arab terrorists.
Little has changed in the Middle East. Numbers of well financed, murderous terrorist groups have bases and headquarters today throughout the entire region. Names like Abu Nidal (who was recently killed in Baghdad), Ahmed Jibril (believed to be the mastermind behind the bombing of the 1989 Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed all 269 people on board and another 11 on the ground), considered to be the world’s most dangerous terrorist next to bin Laden, George Habash, Yasser Arafat, Nayef Hawatmeh and a host of others whose names are synonymous with murder and terror, operate from within the Middle East. Their victims include both Arabs and non-Arabs, and the numbers killed, maimed or injured annually is in the tens of thousands. Terrorism is so much a part of Arab culture that most Arab countries “levy a two percent ‘fedayeen tax’ on all entertainment tickets” (Laffin, Fedayeen, p. 100).
“Terrorist warfare has allowed Arab regimes to attack Western targets while denying any responsibility for these attacks. Sovereign Arab states such as Syria, Iraq and Libya have provided arms, embassies, intelligence services and money to various terror organizations operating against the West and other objects of their animosity, thereby transforming terrorism that had been a local peculiarity of Middle Eastern politics into an International malignancy. For international terrorism is the quintessential Middle Eastern export, and its techniques everywhere are those of the Arab regimes and organizations that invented it. The hijacking and bombing of aircraft, the bombing of embassies, the murder of diplomats, and the taking of hostages by Arab terrorists have since been adopted by non-Arab terrorists the world over” (Netanyahu, A Place Among the Nations, p. 102).
Arabs are unpredictable -- “a gentle, peaceful man, on the spur of the moment may commit brutal murder” (Winifred Blackman cited in Patai, The Arab Mind, p. 158). A man’s best friend of yesterday might well be his murderer tomorrow -- once aroused, his wrath has no limits. How true is the Arab proverb: “At each meal a quarrel, with each bite a worry” (cited in Ibid., p. 161).
Arab spokesmen tell Westerners, “If it were not for the Israelis, all would be peace and harmony in the Middle East” (quoted from “The Old Villain,” New Leader, Oct. 29, 1990). The Middle East was a bloody and insecure region long before Israel raised her head in 1948. And most of the coups, conflicts and killings in the Arab states and Iran in the last 40 years have not been connected to Israel at all. The former Secretary General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, wrote in 1982: “In the last three decades alone, more than 30 conflicts between Arab states have erupted.” Some of these “conflicts” were, in fact, full-scale wars. In addition to these conflicts, John Laffin writes: “Between 1948 and 1973 the Arab world suffered thirty successful revolutions and at least fifty unsuccessful ones” (Laffin, The Arab Mind, pp. 97-98). Laffin adds that in the same period, “22 heads of state and prime ministers were murdered.” Laffin gives the main reason for conflicts as “the desire for power,” and says that some of the wars were “hideously brutal.”
It was mentioned earlier that Arabs in general endeavor to emulate Bedouin customs, holding them in high esteem and believing them to be virtually sacrosanct. Next to Mohammed himself, an Arab philosopher of the 14th century, Ibn Khaldun, has had the most influence on the Arab world. And he wrote: “Bedouin are a savage nation, fully accustomed to savagery and the things that cause it. Savagery has become their character and their nature. They enjoy it...They care only for the property they might take away from people through looting...civilization always collapses in places the Bedouin took over and conquered” (Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), The Muqaddimah -- An Introduction to History, quoted in Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 97). Centuries have passed since Khaldun wrote those words, but the Bedouin qualities, including savagery, survives throughout the modern Arab world. “Western soldiers who fought the Arabs were always trained to keep their last bullet for themselves -- an insurance against the torture they inevitably faced” (ibid., p. 95). During the Arab’s war with France between 1954-1962 French soldiers caught by Arabs in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia or Syria were “buried to their necks in sand to die in the blazing sun and were sometimes smeared with honey or jam to attract the ants. Bestial indignities were inflicted on captives before they were killed. When the Arabs captured a group of Frenchmen they would sometimes cut off their hands, shuffle them and leave them in odd pairs stuck in the sand in attitudes of prayer. To the disgust of the French, women were usually more barbarous than their men” (ibid).
Arabists believe that each particular Arab group has its own particular type of barbarism, but my own research shows a uniform bestiality common to all parts of the Arab world. A military coup brought an end to Iraqi royalty when King Feisal II and all but one of the other members of the Royal Family were murdered. The body of the heir apparent, Prince Abd al-Iiah, was given into the hands of the Iraqi populace. “With ropes the regent’s body was attached by the neck and the armpits to the back of a lorry [truck] which dragged it through the streets to shouts of ‘Allah is great!’ Men armed with knives and choppers dismembered the body, and the young men ran off waving the limbs with joyful shouts. When the procession reached the ministry of defense the body was no more than a mutilated trunk but it was hoisted to a balcony where a young man with a knife climbed a lamp-post and repeatedly stabbed the corpse in the back. He then began cutting off the flesh, working from the buttocks upwards. From the street a long white stick was brought which was inserted into the corpse and forcibly pushed inside. What was left of the regent’s body that evening was socked with petrol and set on fire, the remains being thrown into the Tigris” (ibid., p. 108).
Of eight captured Israelis that were returned to Israel from Syria, only “one was in mental condition to give a coherent account of their sufferings and to restart a normal life. Another of the eight committed suicide in his parent’s home in Tel Aviv a few months after his release. The remaining six are likely to spend their lives in mental institutions” (ibid., pp. 101-102). Numbers of Israeli soldiers, who were overrun on the Golan Heights in the first hours of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, were found tied hand and foot with bullet holes in the backs of the heads. Their genitals had been cut off and stuffed in their mouths.
During the intifada (Palestinian uprising), the local Arabs killed nearly twice as many of their own people as the Israeli army. Many of these Arabs were butchered in the most cruel fashion for no reason at all. Simply for working in an Israeli administered hospital in Gaza, a nine-months pregnant Arab nurse was dragged out of the operating room in the middle of an operation and hacked to death in the corridor. Arab violence is “handed on from father to eldest son to youngest son to the family donkey or dogs” (Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 116). The whole Arab tradition is “one of violence. They know no better” (ibid., p. 111). “Arab violence is non-selective; the identity of the victims is immaterial. For the Arab, violence in itself is consolatory” (ibid., p. 121). “Violence,” a Libyan cabinet minister told Laffin, “is the Moslem’s most positive form of prayer.” “Violence has become a commodity. It was always exportable within the Arab world, but in modern times it reaches further afield and has the more open sanction of governments and political leaders” (ibid., p. 119).
Books dealing with the issues of the Arab world are full of brutal accounts of Arab savagery. Newspapers, magazines and periodicals chronicle them also. There is arguably no other people quite so determinedly violent and pitiless as the people of the Arab world, where violence is “a chronic mental condition” (Hitti, History of the Arabs, quoted in Patai, The Arab Mind, p. 81). What is it that feeds this barbarism and actually fuels the fires of cruelty? To find the answer to the question, it is necessary to study Islam, works by eminent authorities on the Arab mind, Arab literature and statements made by Arab leaders and politicians. Almost all Arab cruelty is generated by one or more of the following -- honor (face), hatred and sex.
Hatred of anything non-Arab or Islamic is axiomatic in the Arab world. And to the Arab mind, either Israel or the West (or both) is responsible for the stagnant conditions prevailing within the Arab world -- for disease, for illiteracy, for the lack of Arabic literature, for maliciously falsifying and distorting their glorious Arab history, etc. Just as the failing student will blame the exams instead of himself, so will the Arab world lay the blame for its failures upon others. “Most Westerners have simply no inkling of how deep and fierce is [that] hate” (Smith, Islam in Modern History. Cited in ibid., p. 296).
Arab children are first indoctrinated with hate in the home, and for those fortunate enough to receive an education, the school system and text books ensure its students will graduate in the subject. Hatred, especially toward Israel and the Jews, is nurtured and developed in the minds of Arab children and occupies a great deal of space in Arabic text books. A former Syrian Minister of Education, wrote: “The hatred which we indoctrinate into the minds of our children from their birth is sacred” (Suleiman Al-Khash in Al-Thaura, the Ba’ath party newspaper, May 3, 1968). Throughout the Arab world school children are constantly faced with the following type of exercises: “Israel was born to die. Prove it” (Glances at Arab Society, p. 117, an exercise for Jordanian first-year high school students). “We shall expel all the Jews from the Arab countries” (Basic Syntax and Spelling, an exercise for Syrian fifth-year elementary students). “The Arabs do not cease to act for the extermination of Israel” (Grammar, p. 244, an exercise for Egyptian first-year junior high school students). “Israel shall not live if the Arabs stand fast in their hatred” (Zionist Imperialism, p. 249, for Egyptian ninth-grade secondary schools). And on the back of a standard exercise book there is a map of Israel. “The Arab armies are shown encircling it, and a missile is aimed at Tel Aviv” (Laffin, Fedayeen, p. 88).
A Jew, born and educated in Syria, but who later escaped to Israel recalls: “I remember that the Moslem boys threw stones at me, and I remember, too, the education I received in school. The Jewish school, but the majority is Moslem. I remember it is written that the Jews are evil, I don’t know why. And their God is a God who wants to drink the blood of all the other peoples. This was in the Arabic book at the education system. I was taught this in the Jewish school, because I am a student and want to pass through these schools to graduate” (cited in Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 113). And an Arab boasted on Israeli television that his eight-year-old son is fed no breakfast before he throws his quota of rocks on Israeli vehicles (David Bar-Illan, Eye on the Media, p. 211).
But no education of Arab children would be complete without the actual witnessing of brutality and violence. Arab nations execute most of their victims in public squares. In Baghdad’s Liberation Square, for example, when Jews were hanged, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis converged on the square “to view the bodies dangling on the gallows; large parties of school children [were] taken to view the scene” (Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 109).
Several thousand Israelis have been brutally murdered by Arab terrorists, many of those murdered were women and children. The weak and innocent have always been prime targets for Arab terrorists. Typical attacks took place in April 1994: A 23 year-old mother was stabbed seven times as she nursed her two-week old baby -- miraculously both the mother and baby survived. A bus taking on high school pupils in Afula was the target for a car bomb in which eight died and another 51 were injured, some critically -- severed limbs were strewn over a wide area. The car was detonated right next to the bus. Investigation revealed that “the car, which had been stolen, contained several gas canisters to increase the force of the explosion, and a large quantity of nails to maximize the number of wounded. Many of the victims were teenagers from two nearby junior high schools where classes had just let out. ‘Two boys were burning like torches. They came running toward me, and I took one and doused the flames with a rag, and then I ripped off his clothes,’ said Albert Amos, 43, a driving teacher. ‘He was burned all over. When I touched him, pieces of his skin came off in my hand. The other boy was put into an ambulance. He was shouting: ‘What happened to me? What did I do?’”
Symbol of Arafat's Fateh Organization. Shows two guns superimposed over map of Israel with a grenade underneath.
The great majority of the victims of the 1974 massacres in Kiryat Shmonah and Ma’alot were children, and those murders were “publicly applauded throughout the Arab world” (Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 167), just as the recent destruction of the World Trade Center in New York was. The Kiryat Shmonah massacre left 18 dead, including five women and eight children. The attack on the Ma’alot school left 20 dead and wounded another 70, nearly all children. “In Arab thought,” says Laffin, “a victim is responsible for his own suffering. Against all this it is pointless to appeal to conscience and ask, ‘How can you wage war on children?’ Given a lifetime’s indoctrination, a man can wage war on anyone” (ibid., p. 168).
A word needs to be added here concerning the February 1994 massacre of 29 Moslems in a Hebron mosque by Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish doctor from Kiryat Arba. The mosque was in the Cave of the Patriarchs (cave of Machpelah, Genesis 25:8-10), where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah and Leah are all buried. The area inside the Cave of the Patriarchs is partitioned, enabling Jews to pray there also.
Goldstein was an immigrant from America and was described by all who knew him as “a quiet, kind, gentle man.” Goldstein attended to a number of Kiryat Arba’s victims of Arab terror. And his friend, Mordechai Lapid, a father of 14 and a former Russian “Prisoner of Zion,” together with one of Lapid’s sons, died in the doctor’s arms from a terrorist attack a few weeks before he committed the Hebron massacre. The evening prior to the massacre, Goldstein left the Cave without completing his prayers because “a large group of Arabs inside the Cave of Patriarchs were chanting ‘Slaughter the Jews’...’Death to the Jews,’ and no one responsible among the Arab community found anything wrong with such pronouncements and conduct” (”To Our People of Israel,” Jerusalem Post International Edition, March 19, 1994). The next day Goldstein came to the Cave dressed in his IDF uniform and carrying his IDF-issue automatic rifle. He gained access to the Cave by convincing the guards that he was on duty, and while the Moslems were kneeling in prayer, he opened fire.
There was universal shock and outrage in Israel. The Prime Minister, Yitzak Rabin, spoke of his absolute disgust at the massacre as did all of Israel’s leaders. The President of Israel, Ezer Weizeman, spoke of the shame the massacre had brought upon the Jewish people and visited Hebron to bring Israel’s condolences to the families of the victims. Nearly 80 percent of all Israelis loudly condemned the massacre, and the Israeli government paid NIS 40 million (U.S.$13.3 million) in compensation to the families of the dead and injured. The Hebron massacre was a rare, isolated incident, and both the reactions of the public and the actions of the government were those of shock, repulsion, sorrow and shame. This is in stark contrast to Arab reactions to news of the murders of Israelis.
Unlike the western world, sexual restraints upon Arab women are strictly enforced. Throughout almost the whole of the Arab world, death follows a girl’s loss of virginity except to her new husband. And adultery brings death for married women. But a married man is not expected to refrain from extramarital sexual activity, he is guilty of sexual offense “only if the woman with whom he has sexual relations commits thereby an act of sexual dishonor” (Patai, The Arab Mind, p. 124). It is the female’s duty to protect both her honor and her life.
Men are usually circumcised without anesthesia at age 13, primarily as a means to increase virility but also as a test of their “manliness, bravery, and courage” (ibid., p. 123). Female circumcision is also very widespread among the Arab peoples, but in the case of clitoridectomy, it is performed to prevent the girl from desiring premarital sex. And in the case of infibulation (either affixing a device to the vulva, or operating so that only an opening the size of a matchstick is left for the passing of urine and the menses), to make it altogether impossible, until her genitals are either cut or forced open (ibid.). During the traditional wedding night, “the husband is sometimes obliged to cut open hardened scar tissue with a knife.”
The traditional unavailability of willing girls with which to satisfy a young Arab’s high sexual urge accounts for the extremely high rate of homosexuality among Arab males. The active homosexual act is considered to be an “assertion of one’s aggressive masculine superiority” (Patai, The Arab Mind, p. 134), with the result that male homosexuality continues after marriage, with sheiks and the “well-to-do men lending their sons to each other” (ibid., p. 135).
Professor Raphael Patai, the eminent Israeli Arabist who is quoted in this article, says the “rules that restrict contact between men and women, have the effect of making sex a prime mental preoccupation in the Arab world” (ibid., p. 118). And an Arab wrote of his own people: “Sex is our eternal headache, the incubus that devours us day and night. If you ask me about the size of the sexual problem I will tell you that it is exactly the same size as our cranium, so that there is not a single convolution in the Arab brain which is not tumescent with sex” (Nazar Qabbani, On Poetry, Sex and Revolution).
A favorite topic of discussion among Arabs is the immorality of Western women, and John Laffin says: “Because of the frustrations and repressions which follow the rigidly held sexual mores and prohibitions of his own society, the Arab is dangerous to women of other nationalities...When Arabs go abroad their projected sexual adventures loom more important than any work or study” (The Arab Mind, p. 86, 90). Dr. Sania Hamady, herself an Arab and one of the leading authorities on Arab psychology, observes that “whenever an Arab man finds himself alone with a woman, he makes sexual approaches to her” (ibid., p. 90).
Sex is an all-consuming passion. It occupies an Arab’s thoughts night and day and often expresses itself in violence and brutality brought about by sheer sexual frustration. Sigmund Freud, and other psychoanalysts and psychologists, find a clear link between aggression and sexuality. The intensity of aggression is always related to the intensity of the sex drive. The continuous upheavals and violence in the Arab world is a way of “taking the mind off the consuming pre-occupation with sex” (Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 93). This “pre-occupation” is “expressed by going to near certain death in a coup against the establishment, in a factional fight, or in an act of terrorism. Death in such an event would bring its own reward -- the martyr would find himself among many beautiful, and more importantly, willing girls in paradise” (ibid.).
Substituting Words for Actions
The Arab is notorious for substituting words for actions. It is believed by most Western Arabists and even by many Arabs themselves, that Arabs never carry out their threats or intentions. Students of the Arab world rightly conclude that there is a penchant to substitute words for actions, but this is not an ironclad rule, and it is extremely dangerous to regard it as such. Certainly, there are topics on which the Arabs have waxed eloquent for over 50 years without any action having taken place, but given a sufficiently powerful motivation, they will always attempt to carry out their threats. Israeli defeats of Arab armies in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1969, 1973, and again in 1982 provides such motivation. The Arab world has been repeatedly shamed -- honor must be restored, and Arabs will patiently plan revenge for years, even decades, if need be.
Concerning the belief that words are always substituted for actions, take as an example the October 1973 Yom Kippur War. The Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister, Salah Gohar, was asked by Time magazine about all the sabre-rattling declarations against Israel. Gohar replied: “When Arabs argue, they start on opposite sides of the sidewalks and shout at one another, ‘I will carve you in pieces!’ and ‘You’ll never see another sunset!’ Then, after ten or 15 minutes, they walk away and nobody gets hurt” (cited in Patai, The Arab Mind, p. 60). Time believed him. The world believed him. The Israeli government believed him. Even Yitzhak Rabin, Chief of General Staff during the 1967 Six Day War and then Israel’s Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, believed him. Three months prior to the outbreak of war Rabin wrote: “There is no need to call up our forces even when the enemy makes threats and deploys its forces along the cease fire-line” (”A Misplacing of Confidence,” Jerusalem Post, May 10, 1994).
But the Arabs had a sufficiently powerful motivation. On October 6, 1973, they attacked Israel on its most holy day of the year and almost succeeded in destroying it. An avalanche of over 1.2 million men and a formidable array of equipment came against an unprepared Israel. It took three days to mobilize its small army that reached only 300,000 men with all the reserves mobilized. Believing that Arabs always substitute words for actions almost cost Israel its life.
Another case in point is Saddam Hussein’s December 1990 statement that if the United States and her coalition partners launched a “first strike” against Iraq for her invasion of Kuwait in August of the same year, “Israel will suffer the second (blow) in Tel Aviv” (Associated Press report published in Bangkok Post, Dec. 28, 1990). The coalition forces, of whom Israel was not a part, delivered their “first strike” at Iraqi targets in the Gulf War on January 16, 1991. That day saw the first of the 39 Iraqi missile strikes on the civilian population centers of Israel which destroyed or damaged some 5,000 Israeli homes. Believing that Arabs now want to make peace and not war with Israel is equally as naive and dangerous as believing that they always substitute words for actions.
The motivation to destroy Israel has increased, not decreased. Only the tactics have changed. Arab honor must be restored, and only the annihilation of Israel can restore it. The establishment of the State of Israel and the defeat of the Arab armies is described by the leaders of the Arab world as “the disaster” or “the great defeat;” “the day of the greatest shame in the modern history of the Arabs;” and, “a smear on the entire Arab Nation. No one can forget the shame brought by the battle of 1948” (speech by President Nasser on Aug. 11, 1963). According to the Arabs that “smear,” that “shame,” can only be removed from the Arab nation’s face by “Israel’s total and absolute annihilation” (Al-Ahram editorial, Feb. 25, 1971). Five further wars against Israel since 1948, each more devastating than the last, should be ample proof that the greatest of motivations to restore Arab honor courses through the veins of the entire Arab world. It should be carefully noted that the Arab’s preoccupation with revenge against Israel is all that restrains them from unleashing all their violence upon the West.
At this point the question should be asked, “Who is an Arab?” It is generally believed that the Arab world has its roots in the union of Abraham and Hagar, the Egyptian maid of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. This is only true to a point. There are numbers of nations described today as “Arab” that are not really Arab at all. The word “Arab” means “Bedouin” or “nomad,” and the name was given to those who inhabited the Arabian peninsula and the Syrian Desert.
Abraham himself came from Chaldea, known today as Iraq. Iran is not Arab and neither is its language Arabic. Iran is ancient Persia; Islam is her only common denominator with the Arab nations. The founding father of Egypt, Mizraim (Mizraim is Hebrew for Egypt -- the leader of the so-called “Arab” nations), was a grandson of Noah as were the fathers of Libya, Canaan and Ethiopia (Genesis 10:6). Obviously, if Ishmael, the son of Abraham, had an Egyptian mother, he is not responsible for fathering the nation. From Mizraim came the Philistines (Genesis 10:14). Lot, Abraham’s nephew (Genesis 12:5), was also an Iraqi. He fathered Ammon and Moab in an incestuous drunken spree (Genesis 19:36-38), and these men were the fathers of modern-day Jordan. The father of the nation of Yemen (Hebrew: Teman) was the grandson of Jacob’s brother Esau (Genesis 36:11, 34). From the genealogies we can see that many of those living in the Middle East are indeed blood relations, but it is as equally incorrect to say that Abraham is responsible for the nations of the Middle East, as it is to say that all the nations of the Middle East are Arab.
In the Arab world the answer to the question, “Who is an Arab” is usually this: “One whose mother tongue is Arabic.” Scholars, both Arab and Western, give rather more defined answers to the question, but their thoughts seem to converge upon Arabs as being those who speak Arabic, are brought up in Arab culture, and live in an Arabian country. Neither of these answers are satisfactory, however, because the Christian Copts of Egypt satisfy all of the above requirements but fervently deny being Arab. Hundreds of thousands of Jews born and raised in Arab lands, and who also satisfy all the given requirements, neither consider themselves to be Arabs, nor would the Arabs dream of considering them as such. Therefore, from what has been written here, we can arrive at the correct answer to the contemporary question of “Who is an Arab?”
Iran is radically Islamic, the only Middle Eastern country not considered to be Arab and the only Middle Eastern country to have held to its ancestral language after embracing Islam. The Egyptian Copts never converted to Islam, and neither did the Jews. Thus, leaving history aside, today’s Arabs are those whose mother tongue is Arabic, and who hold to the teachings of Islam.