From the moment his father was murdered in Jerusalem, Micah Lakin Avni knew that some people would glorify the killers. But he never dreamed it would be scouts.
In most of the world, scouts aspire to public service. In the West Bank, they are being taught to revere -martyrdom.
One of the two terrorists who killed Richard Lakin, Micah Lakin Avni’s father, is a former scout leader and the new hero of Palestinian scouts, with a brand new leadership course just named in his honour.
The Martyr – Leader Baha Alyan Course is now up and running, and publicity shows 23-year-old Alyan with uniform, neckerchief and woggle. Alyan boarded a Jerusalem bus in October and started stabbing and shooting Israelis in an attack that killed three, until a border policeman fatally shot him.
“I was shocked when I heard about the course and it took me quite a while to calm myself down,” said Lakin Avni. He discussed his outrage in an interview with The AJN shortly after dispatching a letter to the world scouting movement asking it to expel the Palestinian scouts.
If it does not take this step then the world movement “is effectively a co-sponsor of this terror-promoting course”, Lakin Avni claimed in his letter.
He told The AJN that his father, a veteran educationalist who had been a head teacher in America before moving to Israel, was a big admirer of the scouts, and would have been “outraged” by scouts glorifying terror.
“He had scout troops in his school and thought scouts was a wonderful institution,” said Lakin Avni. “My sister and mother were girl scouts and he very much encouraged scouting in his school, believing that it encouraged values of respect and taking responsibility.
“[The] scouts’ core message is how to be a good citizen, and this is basically the opposite of what goes on in Palestinian Authority scouts, which is basically poisoning children.”
Lakin Avni noted that the leadership course isn’t the only example of Palestinian scouts glorifying Alyan. In March, the official Palestinian Authority newspaper paraphrased a scout leader who held up Alyan as “an example for every scout”.
As Lakin Avni sees it, Palestinian scouts’ leadership is sending out a clear a disturbing message. “They are taking someone who has murdered innocent civilians and saying that to be a good citizen is to go and murder innocent civilians,” he commented.
“If they are educating people to hatred and violence then this conflict will go on forever. Scouts should be teaching people to respect others.”