All of Israel is in deep shock and shame over the horrific murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir allegedly by six young Jewish hooligans. The Israeli government and Jews from across the political spectrum have vociferously condemned this reprehensible murder.
With the images of Gilad, Eyal and Naftali swiftly cast aside, replaced by headline news of the grisly revenge murder by Jews -- along with a video of Israeli police beating a 15-year-old Palestinian-American, Israel is taking a beating in the world press.
At this time of deep national soul-searching, here are five points to balance our perspective (and help us effectively respond to critics).
(1) Condemnation and horror. The Israeli response to Jews committing murder is one of abject horror and unequivocal condemnation. This heinous act has no basis in Jewish values; the alleged perpetrators are from an extremist fringe that we entirely denounce.
This is in contrast to the Palestinian public's response to Arabs committing murder -- celebration and joy. These killings are not only tolerated in Arab society but are praised. As Prime Minister Netanyahu noted, Palestinian terrorists are hailed as heroes with public squares named in their honor.
Indeed, the mother of one of the Hamas suspects said: "If he did the kidnapping I'm proud of him."
(2) Rule of law. The Israeli response to Jews committing murder entails immediate arrests and punishment. “If a Jew kills they will be put to the court like any other criminal..." President Shimon Peres said. "The law is equal to all, and all are equal before the law."
Palestinians, in contrast, are responding to Arabs committing murder with obfuscation and denial. Senior Fatah member Mahmoud al-Aloul suggested that the three teens weren't even kidnapped. “Let’s think well of the growing possibility that all what’s happening is a play that wasn’t produced well and that no one was kidnapped in the first place,” he wrote on Facebook.
Hussein Abu Khdeir, the father of murdered Arab teen said to the grandfather of Gilad Shaer, one of the murdered Jewish teens, that there is no proof that it wasn’t Jews who were behind the killing and murder of the three teens.
This is in contrast to Rachel Frankel, the mother of the slain Naftali Frankel, who strongly denounced the killing of the Muhammed Abu Khdeir and sent condolences to his family.
She said in a public statement, “Even in the abyss of mourning for Gilad, Eyal and Naftali, it is difficult for me to describe how distressed we are by the outrage committed in Jerusalem – the shedding of innocent blood in defiance of all morality, of the Torah, of the foundation of the lives of our boys and of all of us in this country. Only the murderers of our sons, along with those who sent them and those who helped them and incited them to murder – and not innocent people – will be brought to justice: by the army, the police, and the judiciary; not by vigilantes.”
She emphasized that the legacy of the three slain teenagers “is one of love, of humanity, of national unity, and of integrity.”
(3) Value of life. In an ancient world that practice infanticide and killing humans for entertainment, the Jewish people taught the world the inherent value of life and that every person is created in the image of God. Israel seeks peace and worships life. This is the bedrock of our society, and in light of the horrific murder allegedly committed by young Jewish thugs, we must recommit to this value.
As Netanyahu once famously said, “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.”
(4) Spiritual reaction. The overwhelming Jewish response to the appalling murders of Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrach was spiritual introspection, deep unity and out an outpouring of love and mitzvot, good deeds. The funeral that brought tens of thousands Jews from all walks of life was one of surreal calm and intense sadness.
This is contrast to the ongoing riots and Arab acts of violence erupting daily in East Jerusalem and northern Israel.
(5) Enemies seek Israel’s destruction. Despite the media cackling about a "cycle of violence," the current situation was sparked by the kidnapping-murder of three Israeli teens, along with waves of new Hamas rocket attacks. The Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, and polls continue to show that Israel in the midst of an existential war against enemies who seek her destruction. Hamas is attacking the south with dozens of rockets that are now reaching Beersheva, Israel’s most populated southern city, as well as Ashkelon and Ashdod. It is a life threatening situation that no country in the world would tolerate. Yet Israel is showing enormous restraint, trying to calm the situation down. We are living in dangerous times and Israel must do what it has to in order to protect her citizens, while the media carefully watches with their double standards.
Six Jews are accused of committing a shocking crime that is condemned by everyone. Their so-called act of revenge has absolutely no basis in Jewish values and Torah and if guilty they deserve the full weight of the law. There is only one place in the Middle East where you can expect this response, and that is in Israel, the sole democracy in the region.
Add your additional points in the comment section below.