view from central park

A Tale of two heroines? Not exactly.


Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who beat up IDF soldiers on camera, was released from Israeli prison after eight months. She thrives on attention. She has verbalized her support for terrorism.

She has a history of beating IDF soldiers, and comes from a family of terrorists.

Her aunt, Ahlam Tamimi, was an architect of the 2001 Sbarro suicide bombing. In an infamous video, Ahlam expresses pride that three children were among the victims. When the interviewer corrects her — seven children were killed — a smile spreads across her face. The family are known terrorist sympathizers and supporters.

This week, upon Ahed’s release from jail, an Israeli woman on Facebook placed a photo of Tamimi next to Sara Aaronson, who spied for the British against the Ottomans during World War I, when they systematically starved the local population. The photo was captioned something like, “Two heroines: one Jewish, one Palestinian.”

The post accrued over 1,000 likes, and was shared over 200 times.

Certainly every camp has extremists. But with this level of support, you start wondering where “conventional” ends and the fringe begins, if comparing Ahed Tamimi to Sara Aaronson is just another run-of-the-mill Facebook post.

The side-by-side photo showed a striking physical resemblance between the two.

But I see only one heroine.

Aaronson was in her twenties when she became active in her family’s espionage work. Famously, they were known as NILI, an acronym of the verse, “Netzach Yisrael lo yeshaker.

She chose to join NILI from a place of maturity and thought. Tamimi is a teen, a pawn in the hands of her family, who slaps IDF soldiers to score cheap points.

Aaronson became a spy against the Turks after witnessing the her horror of the Armenian genocide as she traveled from Istanbul home to Zichron Yaakov.

Unlike the Ottoman Turks, the IDF soldiers on duty near Tamimi’s village act as humanely as possible. Despite their visible guns, Tamimi is comfortable enough to walk straight up to them and slap, on video. She is confident that no IDF soldier will lay a finger on her.

Encouraged by her family, Tamimi has been at it for years. She has no mature understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She does not act out of principle. She does not understand recent modern history, how her leaders have again and again rejected Israeli offers of peace.

Aaronson acted in secrecy. She didn’t seek to become a media darling. Fame was not her goal. She endangered her life for the pro-British espionage network, a woman of deep character, who worked to thwart a cruel, genocidal dictatorship.

But Tamimi is all about PR. Her antics are always videoed and executed, almost as a performance, in view of a camera lens. For her, it’s all about publicity and attention. 

It’s hard to see the gap between Israeli political extremes, and to have a beloved heroine of modern Jewish history beside a terrorist-sympathizing, terrorist-promoting Palestinian teen.

Copyright Intermountain Jewish News