Latest update: July 14th, 2014
I had planned to put out a post tonight marking the ending of the Shiva for the three murdered boys, and commenting on the mood within our nation. The breaking news tonight makes that discussion seem inappropriate right now. Perhaps in a day or two. For now, I would like to share these thoughts.
There is still a gag order preventing the press from releasing details, but it seems that six young Jews have been arrested on suspicions of kidnapping and murdering 16-year old Muhammad Abu Khdeir last week, in revenge for the murder of our three boys several weeks earlier. Muhammad was murdered several hours after Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali were buried.
If this is true, then the killers are Jewish terrorists. There is no other word for it, and they must be treated as such.
They must be tried, and if the evidence supports it, convicted and sentenced according to the full severity of the law. There is no justification and no excuse for murdering an innocent child, no matter how understandable our grief or anger. There is no difference between a Jewish and an Arab terrorist, just as there is no difference between a Jewish and an Arab victim.
And if indeed Muhammad was murdered by Jewish terrorists, that means there are terrorists among us, and this is a stain on all of us. As the Bible teaches in the context of the commandment known as Egla Arufa (Deuteronomy 21:1-9), if someone is murdered near our communities, the entire community bears some of the blame. We must all do some soul-searching to ask how it is that such people can come from our communities. This cannot be allowed to ever happen again.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that although the Jewish terrorists are no different than the Arab terrorists, as a nation we are still very different from our enemies. Let’s compare:
- Three Jewish teenagers were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.
- There were celebrations in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority governing party glorified the crime and launched facebook campaign celebrating the “victory” with three-finger salutes (while mumbling a six-word “condemnation” in English and continuing to celebrate in Arabic).
- The murderers have still not been found.
- Meanwhile, the people of Israel, and Jews all around the world, prayed and mourned.
- An Arab teenager was murdered by Jewish terrorists.
- There were swift condemnations by both the Prime Minister and the President of Israel, the family of Naftali Frenkel, and Israelis from across the political and ideological spectrum.
- The Israeli police launched a swift investigation, and arrested six suspects within four days.
- Meanwhile, thousands of Arabs are rioting violently and calling for a third intifada.
We are not like our enemies. It’s our responsibility to make sure it stays that way.
About the Author: Rabbi Alan Haber is an educator, writer, speaker, an editor of the English-language Koren Talmud Bavli, and a Senior Research Fellow at ATID. He lives in Gush Etzion, Israel with his wife and five wonderful children.
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