Thou Shall Not Murder
Less than 24 hours. 2 shocking acts of murder and attempted murder.
Seemingly perpetrated by fellow Jews.
The first: Stabbing of participants at yesterday’s Jerusalem gay pride parade, by a so-called “Orthodox” Jew.
The second: The murder of a toddler in an arson attack perpetrated against a palestinian family, in an apparent “price tag attack.”
I cannot not address these acts.
Both attacks had a religious element. As a religiously observant Jew, I feel compelled to speak out loudly and clearly against this desecration of G-d’s name and corruption of the ideals of the Torah from where we are taught “Thou shall not murder.”
There is no way it is G-d’s will to have His name desecrated in commission of crimes going against one of His Ten Commandments.
There are no ifs and buts about it. These are deplorable, evil acts and we need to speak out promptly and clearly against them, just like we do against palestinian terrorism.
And yes, I do consider them also to be terrorism, rather than simply “hate crimes.” True, these are not the acts of terror organizations, but rather individuals. However, this is not a prerequisite for terrorism, which can be defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The Jerusalem gay pride attack perpetrator had distributed a manifesto, in which he wrote:
“It is incumbent upon every Jew to risk beatings or imprisonment and together to stop the desecration for the sanctity of His name. If we refrain from declaring war, they’ll feel free to spread this shame all over the world.”
Sounds like a social objective to me.
As for the “price tag” murder, it is no different to terror attacks perpetrated by the likes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
This is not to say there is an equivalence between the respective societies. For a start, these acts are being roundly condemned by almost all of Israeli society – including (importantly) religious leaders. As Israeli Chief Rabbi Lau said yesterday, “The Torah forbids any act of violence… It is clear to all that this is not the way of the Torah and of Judaism.”
Another difference: our Prime Minister has condemned them. Unequivocally. For instance, this was his reaction to the murder of the palestinian child:
And not just the Prime Minister. Politicians on all sides of the political spectrum have denounced them. For example:
Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett said the attack was not “a ‘hate crime’ or a ‘price tag’ — it’s murder.
“Terror is terror is terror,” Bennett added. “The torching of the house in Duma and the murder of the baby is a shocking terror attack that is unfathomable.”
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman condemned the “heinous act,” and urged the security forces to do their utmost to track down the killers.
No justifications. Just unequivocal condemnations.
Compare the palestinian response to the Har Nof terror attack last year:
The Palestinian Authority condemned the Har Nof terror attack twice on Tuesday, while Hamas and other Palestinian groups welcomed it as a “natural response to Israeli crimes.”
Mahmoud Abbas’s condemnations came after heavy pressure from US Secretary of State John Kerry, who phoned the PA president on Tuesday for the second time this week.
Shortly after the attack, Abbas’s office issued a statement in which it said that the PA presidency “condemns the killing of all civilians by any party, as well as the attack in a synagogue in West Jerusalem.”
The statement also called for an end to “incursions and provocations by settlers against the Aksa Mosque,” and accused “some” Israeli ministers of incitement.
But after receiving a phone call from Kerry, Abbas chaired a “security meeting” of Palestinian officials in Ramallah, where he publicly condemned the Har Nof attack.
In a televised statement, he said: “We condemn the incident that took place at a synagogue in Jerusalem and which resulted in the killing of a number of Israelis. And while we condemn this act, we also condemn the assault on the Noble Sanctuary [Temple Mount] and all holy sites and the torching of mosques and churches.”
Meanwhile, some senior Fatah officials blamed Israel for the recent escalation of tensions.
Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub told AFP that the Israeli Right bore responsibility for plunging the region into a “religious war.”
Other Fatah officials refused to condemn the attack, saying it was a “natural response to Israeli crimes and assaults on the Aksa Mosque.”
The Fatah-affiliated Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) group in the Gaza Strip welcomed the attack and called for an intifada in Jerusalem.
The PFLP said the Har Nof attack had come in response to Israel’s “arbitrary measures in the West Bank, especially assaults on the Aksa Mosque.”
The group described the attacks as a “heroic operation.”
Initially the PFLP claimed responsibility for the terror attack. However, spokesmen for the group later denied responsibility.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, too, welcomed the attack and denounced Abbas for condemning it.
Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, described Abbas’s denunciation as “national incompetence and political adolescence.”
Another thing: these Jewish terrorists will not have any streets named after them.
Every society has sickness and evil within it. The true litmus test of a society is how prevalent & institutionalized it is, and how the society as a whole deals with it.
That is not to say we should stop at condemnations and recriminations. We also need to undergo some introspection, and speak out stronger against the hateful attitudes that, although in most cases do not lead to such murderous acts, do sometimes create a climate where the unhinged decide to take drastic action.