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Jewish attacks prompt Israeli debate: 'Who's a terrorist?'

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IDFA young man calling himself Yehudi Tzadik — "righteous Jew" — picked up a rock and rolled it around in his hand, as if considering pitching it at a police car parked nearby.

Within sight was a mosque in Jerusalem that was torched and defamed Wednesday with graffiti that included, "Death to Arabs." Tzadik claimed he knew some of the group that was responsible for the attack, though he added that he wasn't there when it happened.

"The state of Israel has lost its moral code. It has forgotten what is at the heart of the Jewish nation. ... We are reminding them," said Tzadik, who gave his real name only as David.

A spate of attacks this week by Jewish right-wing extremists has called into question Israel's definition of the word "terrorist," and has prompted security officials to acknowledge the separate rules of engagement they've created for Jews and Palestinians.

Those rules were highlighted when a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, Brigadier Yoav Mordechai, was asked whether a soldier should open fire on a Jewish person who was throwing rocks, as soldiers routinely do with rock-throwing Palestinians. Mordechai answered, "I assume ... you wouldn't expect the brigade commander to open fire at a Jew standing in front of him. I am certain you didn't mean that."

Palestinians routinely are arrested and convicted of stone throwing, one of the most popular forms of resistance to Israel's presence in the West Bank. According to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, over the past five years Israel's military has detained more than 800 Palestinian youths and children after they pelted rocks at Israelis soldiers, jailing and interrogating many of them.


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