If there is one thing we as a nation has experienced this week, it is the searing pain of the heinous murder of a loved one. If 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir was killed by a Jew seeking revenge, which according to news reports the police suspect but have not yet confirmed, this is a horrific crime that Jews across the spectrum condemn vociferously. Such barbarity can have no foothold in our nation.

As Naftali Frankel’s uncle, Yishai Frankel, said on Israeli television, "Any act of revenge of any kind whatsoever is completely inappropriate and wrong. Murder is murder. One should not differentiate between bloods, be it Arab or Jew.”

The police do not yet know what happened and we cannot rush to conclusions. Rumors are swirling; it may have been an honor killing. It would be utterly shocking if a Jew would do something like this. 

It is instructive to note the immediate reactions to the murder in Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed shock and outrage, telling the police to expedite the investigation into the “abominable murder.” Leaders from across the political spectrum denounced the murder, and citizens expressed sheer disbelief that a Jew could commit such a crime. There was no dancing in the streets, no passing out candies, no celebratory high-fives. Just shock and outrage at this abhorrent act.

Now compare the reaction on the Arab street to the murders of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal. Instead of shock and horror, there was celebration and the making of two new heroes.

The past few weeks the Jewish nation unified in prayer, abiding faith and love, and the additional performance of mitzvot, demonstrating the heart and soul of the nation. This is who we truly are. We are a people who sanctify life. We dare not descend to the level of barbarity so commonly seen by those who worship death.

Let us hope that the police investigation reveals that Jews are not behind this heinous crime.

United in Grief: A compendium of articles and reflections