At the beginning of that fateful week, IDF General Shaul Mofaz visited with the Kiryat Arba leadership for an emergency meeting. Baruch Goldstein, as the doctor of the area, was present. Mofaz told of intelligence information concerning a planned terror attack in the area of Machpela towards the end of the week. Baruch Goldstein was asked to “be prepared.” The Saturday night prior to the attack, during evening prayers, Arabs inside Machpela chanted “Itbach el-Yahud,” “Slaughter the Jews.” The IDF did nothing to stop this. The night before his attack, the evening of Purim, while reciting Megilat Esther, when we read how Haman planned to annihilate the Jews, again, Arabs yelled and screamed, “Itbach el-Yahud.” Despite Goldstein’s protests, nothing was done to stop it.
The next morning he arrived there early, shot and killed twenty nine Arabs as they prayed, wounding dozens of others.
It seems, as much as can be assumed, that he very simply cracked, deciding, ‘if anyone is going to be killed here today, it will be Arabs and not Jews.’
That doesn’t make it right, in any way, shape or form. But that’s what happened.
Baruch Goldstein was not a bloodthirsty terrorist whose goal in life was to kill as many people as he could, as often as he could. He was a brilliant doctor, whose purpose in life was to save other people’s lives. His purpose in life was also to actively support and promote Jewish life in the State of Israel. For that reason he left the United States, as did the rest of his family, and moved to Israel, to take an active role in the rebirth of the Jewish homeland. It seems that this, too, was a reason behind his acts. Witnessing terror murders, one after the other, by Arabs, with Israel’s leadership standing on the sideline, watching, doing nothing to prevent the next terror killing.
He made a tremendously appalling error, which cost the lives of many people, which cost him his own life, and which left an indelible stain on Israel. That having been said, and realizing the horror of his act, it must be examined and remembered in the perspective of what was happening around us and to us. Had there not been an intifada, with some 160 Jews killed, with very few government attempts to protect the Jewish victims, he never would have broken down and committed the acts that he did.
And we cannot and must not forget that what he did, as ghastly as it was, was miniscule compared to the terror and death Israelis have faced at the hands of hundreds of Arab terrorists over the past decades. Terror that continues to this very day. Are not rockets, shot from Gaza into Ashkelon, acts of terror?
Clearly, the agenda of those protesting, and the articles appearing over the past couple of weeks have nothing to do with human life, human rights and human suffering. Rather, that agenda is purely political, overtly anti-Israel, anti-Jewish Hebron and in many cases, covertly antisemitic, in an attempt to create an atmosphere of incitement, justifying continued Arab violence and terror against Jews in Israel, with the immediate goal being the creation of another enemy Arab state on our land, to be followed by the destruction of the state of Israel and the implementation of those very words intoned at Machpela, here in Hebron, twenty years ago: “Itbach el-Yahud.”
About the Author: David Wilder is the spokesperson for the Hebron Community.
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