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The Jerusalem Massacre

The Jerusalem Massacre

Even tragedies have degrees.

by

Death is a misfortune. Murder is far more horrible to bear. Turned into a massacre, it shocks us into unmitigated grief.

But there was still more to the terrorist attack of this week in Israel. It happened in the holy city of Jerusalem, a place in which we are meant to feel the nearness of God. It took place in a synagogue attended by early-morning worshipers who came only to stand in the presence of the Almighty and worship the Creator of the universe.

It was carried out by those who brought axes, knives and weapons of violence into the house of God.

The victims were in the midst of the silent prayer, reverently reciting words that dream of peace, as well as the hope for a messianic time when all people dwell together in brotherhood and tranquility. They wore the phylacteries, tefillin, signs of God's closeness to our hands and our minds. Garbed in their prayer shawls they were brutally executed by those for whom their very holiness proved provocative.

Could there be anything more horrible than this?

Palestinian Response

Yet we need to weep bitter tears for another tragedy of comparable magnitude. It is the tragedy of the aftermath – the tragedy that illustrates the true horror of a crime that makes us question the right of mankind to call itself civilized.

To start, there was the response of the Arab world with whom we keep being challenged to make peace – as if we were the ones waging wars meant to annihilate us and refusing even to recognize us. No sooner did the news of the massacre become public than the Arab street began to joyously pass out sweets to their children and offer praise for the "glorious martyrs" who carried out the gruesome bloodbath. Murder of innocents needs no justification; when the victims are Jews it is a time for rejoicing.

Abbas warned not to allow Jews to "contaminate" the Temple Mount.

There was the response of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose name rarely appears in the media without the prefix "moderate," who gave the pro forma required regrets to the English-speaking world – while at the same time, to his own people, praising those who carried out the violence against Jews for which he has been loudly agitating these past months.

Abbas also made certain to demand an end to the "Israeli provocations" that he made clear are the cause of all Palestinian uprisings. Just a few days ago he warned that he and fellow Palestinians would not allow Jews to "contaminate" the Temple Mount, adding that allowing Jewish prayer at the site would result in a global "religious war." For the "moderate" Abbas, Jews dare not pray on the Temple Mount – or for that matter in any synagogue – with hope for safety and survival.

There was the response of Tawfik Tirawi, former chief of the Palestinian General Security in the West Bank and a member of Fatah's Central Committee, who told a radio station that the attack was "nothing but a reaction to the recent crimes of the occupation and the settlers in occupied Jerusalem and across the nation."

There was the response of Hamas, with whom humanitarians round the world demonstrated in solidarity this past summer, who in a message published on its official website, Al-Resalah, called the synagogue slaughter "a quality development in fighting the occupation" (i.e. the nonexistent occupation in Gaza) and declared: "We highly value the heroism of its operatives."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised the attack on Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera as "heroic," calling for more attacks of the same sort to "stop the occupation's aggression against Islamic holy places."

There was the response of the media which continued the kind of "balanced reporting" we were treated to this past summer when Israel struggle to defend itself against rocket attacks around the country. BBC led the news with the headline "Jerusalem police fatally shoot two after apparent synagogue attack." The four murdered rabbis were apparently not worthy of mention.

CNN's headline (after first calling it an attack on a "mosque"), "Four Israelis, 2 Palestinians killed in synagogue attack, Israeli police say," left the reader to wonder whether two Palestinians were also the victims of the attack, giving moral equivalence to the terrorists and their victims.

Waiting in Vain

Far more significantly than all the above was the response from those in the forefront of criticism of Israel; from those urging the boycott of the Jewish state; from those marching in the streets of Europe because of their profound sensitivity to the plight of Palestinians; from those who ostensibly cannot keep silent in the face of injustice.

With the world's silence, the hypocrisy is revealed.

And what was their response? What was their reaction to an unprovoked slaying of rabbis with the words of God on their lips?

We wait – and we wait in vain for any outcry. But now we know. The hypocrisy is clearly revealed. It has never been about compassion for innocent Palestinians. That was merely a camouflage for anti-Semitism. The world's silence is simple. The horrific murders in Jerusalem have stirred no demonstrations, inspired no revulsion, caused no governments to denounce Arab terror.

The aftermath of the carnage makes me weep most of all – to cry for a world that still does not understand that – in failing to properly mourn for murdered Jews – it sows the seeds of its own destruction.

November 18, 2014

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 58

(53) Davida, November 23, 2014 6:07 PM

ASK FOR ABBAS TO BE REMOVED FROM ALL NEGOTIATIONS

YOUR ARTICLE STATES ABBAS APPROVED OF THE MURDERS, HAS SAID JEWS MUST NOT CONTAMINATE THE TEMPLE MOUNT, AND ISRAEL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PROVOCATIONS. LIES!! LIES!!! LIES!!! YOU MUST WRITE AN ARTICLE WHICH STATES THIS FACT AND PRESENT IT TO THE AMERICAN CONGRESS.
ALL FUNDING TO ABBAS AND HAMAS MUST END!!
PERIOD. END OF SUBJECT. MURDERS OCCUR BECAUSE ISRAEL HAS INEFFECTIVE PRESS. PERIOD.

(52) Sarah, November 22, 2014 1:55 AM

I refuse to refer to the murders as "terrorist"

I refuse to refer to the murders as "terrorist" because that would be saying that they had accomplished one of their goals to strike terror in our hearts. Grief is in my heart that a human could be so far removed from the knowledge of the Most High that they would even think of such a heinous act. Discussed is in my heart that a human would carry out such acts. Great love and sympathy is in my heart for the families who have lost husbands and fathers. But I refuse to be terrorized.

Chavi, November 23, 2014 11:49 PM

It's TERROR!!

The word you want is 'disgust', not 'discussed'. The murder of holy Jews praying, is TERROR, no matter what you refuse. It is akin to the terror perpetrated by the Nazis, ym"s. Or does that also not qualify as terror in your mind? (Why don't you ask the victims and their families how they define terror?) It's not all about you, dear.

(51) Dr. Sam Lax, November 21, 2014 7:35 PM

Yet another example of savagery

Had we (Jews) commited this atrosity it would have been condemed by goverments all over the world yet the fact that it happened to four scholars as they were praying had people rejoicing in the sreets of our neighbors.

(50) erin, November 21, 2014 4:50 AM

yes, sacred is a good word to use, because this attack is a violation of sacred.

I don't think our lovely Jews know how HaShem loves them; He loves them with love that is like warm, flowing, gold rivers flowing out from Himself in deep permeating love that overflows oneself when it has reached them.
I wish you could see it 'cause there's nothing else on earth like it, but for now, I will say it. And I will keep saying it until you know it. May you be in our prayers every day, just as these prayed for us. Thank you.

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