There is a cancer of hate spreading in our Holy Land of Israel.
First, there was the shocking murder of Shira Banki, a young 16-year-old bystander in the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, by a half-crazed Jew who was let out of jail just ten days before (after serving ten years for a similar crime). This was followed by the horrific torching of the home of an Arab family in the village of Duma, resulting in the murder of their infant son Ali, initially (sadly, as of this writing, the baby’s father has succumbed to his injuries as well).
The far left, using these traumatic events as their springboard, has taken a leap, and begun a broad-brush’ campaign of vilification, blaming religious Zionists and settlers for these extreme acts of terrorism. Literally the entire religious Jewish population is being targeted as the cause of these acts, as statements of accusation against all religious Jews are coming from the left. It’s hard to believe that these people are able to shift the blame on an entire religious sector, when in essence we are dealing here with one crazed individual and allegedly some (or a single) Jewish extremist. No Jew has been found guilty of this heinous crime in Duma. Yet they are blaming rabbis, schools, youth groups, you name it. If you live over the Green Line, you are guilty…of what? There are loud calls for laws to be enacted to once and for all blot out this Jewish extremism. And the inquisition continues.
It’s ironic that when we hear about Arab extremists attacking and killing Jewish settlers, there is quiet from these same left wingers. When one of their own who held the office of prime minister is found guilty of bribery there is no reaction that electrifies the news, and labels all people who had anything to do with his upbringing as guilty as well. There is no blame for his teachers, his school, his youth affiliations, his political party. He was guilty and he alone should be punished for his sins.
It’s understandable to want to strive for the best. As Jews we would like to believe that we are moral, and that such acts of hate are abhorred by all of our co-religionists. Yet throughout Jewish History, there have been fanatics and crazed people among us who have done things which we feel ashamed and embarrassed about-and they originated from both the right and the left. We are not immune to acts of inhumanity by our own.
But failure on the part of an individual, the sins of one, must never become the source of blame of an entire group of people. Our Torah commands us, “Thou shall not kill” and “Thou shall not steal.” The Torah outlines an ethical code for us to follow, and it behooves every Jew to do his/her best to strive to reach these lofty goals of being moral, just, and humane. We yearn and strive to follow the dictates of our Torah.
But the very fact that these prohibitions are mentioned in the Torah allows us food for thought that the direct message that the Torah is trying to convey is that there are killers among our people; there are people who rob; there are Jews who are immoral, and there are Jews who are half crazed. Should an individual lapse and be found guilty of heinous deeds, our goal is to rid ourselves of these people (i.e. bring them to justice), but never to blame the entire nation or a specific group in our nation for the isolated acts of the few. Such leaps are unconscionable and unfair.
The goal of our leaders must be to apprehend the guilty parties and to punish them, but never to indict an entire group of otherwise innocent people.
Living in Israel for the past two years has brought me to the conclusion that despite our individual differences, we are still one, singular people. We can recognize our differences, and appreciate that we who make up this melting pot of Israel, are a single family with unconditional love for our fellow Jews. There will be no redemption unless we all accept upon ourselves this premise, and stop hating and openly criticizing our brothers and sisters. We cannot hope for peace with our enemies, unless and until we have peace amongst ourselves.