Which Jew doesn't cringe in horror at the scene from Fiddler on the Roof where in the middle of a wedding Cossacks appear on horseback to beat innocent Jews? Who would have believed that today, in the modern State of Israel, Jews would act this way towards other Jews?

Shockingly, however, this is exactly what we saw in the news yesterday. Amona was a small "illegal" Jewish settlement that was to be dismantled. Knowing that there would resistance, riot police mounted on horses were sent in. Very quickly things turned violent and people were injured on both sides.

Personally, I believe that the settlers are exercising their G‑d-given right to settle and live in the Jewish homeland, and that a Jewish Government should respect and encourage their devotion rather than try to crush it in order to appease our sworn enemies. The question, however, goes much deeper then that: how does a Jewish State treat its citizens, even those that are seemingly breaking the law?

Anyone who has lived in Israel understands the society is socially fractured. There is tremendous tension between many different segments of Israeli society—Russian immigrants and Ethiopian immigrants, religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sefardi, left and right. This is exacerbated by the fact that we Jews will inevitably disagree with each other on almost every issue.

How is one to deal with these tensions and disagreements? Can the beating or cursing of a fellow Jew ever be a way of dealing with problems? Can the demonizing of any segment of Israeli society be tolerated? Was it not to avoid exactly this type of hateful behavior that the Jewish state was created in the first place?

One might say that Israel is a melting pot and therefore this type of behavior amongst the citizenry is to be lamented but also expected. But for the authorities to act this way is inexcusable. If they regard themselves as the guardians of a Jewish state that was created to protect Jews from the hate of others, then they have an extra responsibility to act humanely and with sensitivity towards the beliefs, feelings and safety of its Jewish citizens.

When an Israeli government is unable to respect the religious feelings of a segment of its society, when its laws and judgments steamrolls over the beliefs of its own people, it is time to weep. When they then implement those decisions using batons and horses, however, one must begin to scream.

This would be true regarding any segment of Israeli society. But by directing this violence and demonization at the settlers, the Israeli Government is cutting off its nose to spite its face. The settlers have given their life to the belief that settling the land of Israel is their divine calling. For them, there is no other place in the world they want to call home. These are loyal citizens of Israel who fight in the army and serve their country with distinction. To break these groups' faith with government backed violence is not only unforgivable; it is also entirely self-defeating and goes against the founding principles of the state.

As a person who has lived in Israel and loves the country, as one whose children are Israeli citizens, I cannot remain silent when I see the beginning of government sponsored self-defeatism and wreckage of Israeli society and security. Tolerance, understanding, dignity and common sense must be restored in Israel, and the government must take the lead. Scenes such as those that played in the news this week not only hurt Israel—they actually undermine its very raison d'être.