Vile Attack in Jerusalem
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Vile Attack in Jerusalem

Aug 22, 2012 at 07:14:48 AM

Last Thursday night, some Jewish teens were hanging out in Jerusalem looking for trouble. Emotions escalated and they viciously beat some Arab boys, leaving one in critical condition.

I, as well as the entire State of Israel, am outraged. Rabbis, educators and politicians across the spectrum have denounced this vile act. A special police committee is investigating, arrests have been made, and those responsible will assuredly be punished to the full extent of the law.

The Jewish people pride ourselves in being different. Violence is not the Jewish way – especially not targeting someone due to their nationality. This troubling incident indicates that we are not doing a sufficient job educating our children in the ways of tolerance.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forcefully declared:

"This is something that we cannot accept – not as Jews, not as Israelis. This is not our way; this goes against our way, and we condemn it in word and deed. We will quickly bring to justice those responsible for this reprehensible incident.

"We say as clearly as possible: The State of Israel is a democratic and enlightened state in which when we come across acts such as these, the entire state and all of its leaders come out together against such phenomena, and we will continue to do so. This is what makes us unique in the environment around us and this will continue to make us unique. I hope that one day our environment will change as well. But we will be persistent in our complete opposition to racism and violence."

On the flip side, the fact that all sectors of Israeli society have so strongly condemned this outrageous act shows that even in our errant moments, our moral compass remains acute.

As Ruthie Blum writes in Israel Hayom, a society is not judged by immorality in its midst, but rather by the response of its leaders, educators and the general public to it.

Blum compares the current crime to another lynch that took place in October 2000, when two Israelis took a wrong turn and ended up in Ramallah by accident. A mob of 1,000 Palestinians attacked – choking, stabbing, disemboweling, and setting the Israelis on fire. One of the murderers proudly stood at an open window and displayed his bloody hands to the cheering crowd. In the aftermath of the lynch, the Palestinian Authority made no arrests, and uttered no condemnations. (Indeed, Palestinian police helped facilitate in the lynching, and the Palestinian Authority's primary concern was to prevent video footage of the atrocity from getting into the hands of Western media outlets.)

This is no way justifies or excuses Jewish acts of violence. Yet can we see the difference?

Palestinian society today is rife with rhetoric that vilifies Jews and encourages murderous violence against them. Suicide bombers are elevated to the pinnacle of Palestinian society – lionized with poems and immortalized with dozens of schools, roads and sporting events named in the bombers' honor. In a popular Palestinian children's program, a Mickey Mouse look-alike calls on children to "annihilate the Jews" and "commit martyrdom." Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who helped carry out the gruesome Sbarro Pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem that killed 15 civilians and wounded 130, is treated like a rock star in the Arab world.

These are just a few of the thousands of examples.

To make matters worse, the Western media downplays it all: The New York Times characterized Palestinian calls to genocide as merely an "insult to Jews" ("Hamas's Insults to Jews Complicate Peace Effort," April 1, 2008). And the Christian Science Monitor quoted a Palestinian TV director that encouraging kids to jihad "isn't for teaching hate. It's for teaching children to think in the right way, to socialize them in our culture's way of life." ("Hamas's Approach to Jihad: Start 'em Young," August 20, 2007)

For peace to exist, all parties need to accept the idea of tolerant, peaceful coexistence. A sincere condemnation of violence is a crucial first step.

Published: August 22, 2012


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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Anonymous, August 23, 2012 11:49 AM

Excellent article

I appreciate the excellent comments you made regarding this tragic event. Our Jewish nation can hang its head in shame that some of our children are capable of doing such a thing. It truly saddens me to think of it.

(3) Sarah, August 22, 2012 8:23 PM

I agree but...

Dear Rabbi, This was beyond reprehensible for Jews and it is good that everyone is condemning it but how do we explain all the people who witnessed this tragedy and made absolutely no attempt to stop it? Sarah

(2) Anonymous, August 22, 2012 7:40 PM

possible background material

http://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/242976

(1) Gavri Hanita Hazaka Abir Selek 2nd, August 22, 2012 5:17 PM

Be the children of Shalom

Shalom is a way of life GOD gives to us. The love of GOD (As in to love the LORD you GOD with all your being.) is also given back to us. We learn to walk in the Love of GOD daily. Violence begets violence, it put hatred in the hearts and mind of whomever participates in the acts of wrath. Peace however stems from a good mind and a good heart. You will only have peace in your life if you are a child of Shalom. Peace see's through the eyes of love and understanding.

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