Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90
Israeli teenagers light candles in memory of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Sha'ar and Naftali Fraenkel, June 30, 2014

The murder of Mohammad Abu-Khdeir has shocked the Jewish nation because this is something Jews do not do.

Yes, some critics have repeatedly named the same handful of Jewish terrorists from over the past 20 years as examples of brutal acts of Jewish murder, but it’s always the same handful of names and no more, because simply put, we aren’t a nation of terrorists and murderers.

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Our leaders, our rabbis, and our citizens instinctively, without coercion or outside pressure, and without waiting, condemned the murder, as we hoped and believed it could not be one of our own.

These weren’t empty words that ring hollow as some pundits claim.

These are the words of a people, that despite suffering through horrible terror attacks, and the strong, very natural desire for revenge it creates, almost always maintains the moral high ground that our society has ingrained into us through our Torah and value system.

We face an enemy that does horrible things. It’s an enemy that blows up its own children to kill us, that brainwashes its children into hating us, that publicly supports and celebrates the kidnapping and murder of innocent Jewish children.

We face an enemy that forces us to fight them to protect ourselves.

Our nation searched for the killers of the Arab boy, expending and redirecting resources we needed in the search for the terrorists who killed our own children and for fighting Hamas who continued to launch rockets on us throughout the entire ordeal.

Our nation unanimously condemned the murder, without qualifications or hesitation.

We didn’t destroy trains and infrastructure, we didn’t hand out candies in celebration, we didn’t post photos of praise on Twitter and Facebook, we didn’t provide support and succor to the killers. We won’t be giving them salaries in jail, we won’t be naming streets and schools after them, we won’t be demanding their release for peace. Our mother’s won’t be saying they are proud of them, our leaders won’t have photo-ops with them, we won’t parade them through the streets as heroes, they won’t be portrayed as role models for our children, and we won’t be painting murals of them on the walls of our schools.

The fires we lit were for memorial candles, and not firebombs.

Why?

Because, we are not the same.

We are a moral and righteous nation that has ingrained in itself the differences between right and wrong and good and evil, and we act on those moral impulses.

I look back on these past few day, and past few weeks, and despite this incomprehensible, sick hate crime committed by a few people, whom I don’t even know how to categorize, I see the Jewish nation – a moral nation, devoted to peace, to goodness, and to doing right.

And I am proud.

I believe in the Jewish People, if for no other reason than that it has consistently proved itself through the most difficult of trials.

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