web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Itamar’

Itamar: A Painful And Powerful Wake-Up Call

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Early this past Shabbat morning we heard from military sources that a family had been brutally slaughtered in Itamar, a settlement near Shechem. Since my niece lives there with six children, we were extremely worried even though we realized there were many families that fit the description.

It was a Shabbat filled with anxiety as people quietly asked each other about the victims and whether there were any more details. At the end of Shabbat we learned it wasn’t our niece and felt a surge of relief – but we were immediately overcome with deep pain on hearing the sickening details of how a Jewish family was gruesomely butchered in their sleep.

This was Shabbat Parshat Vayikra – the section of the Torah dealing with sacrifices which opens with the words “adam ki yakriv mikem korban“- “if a man brings a sacrifice of himself.” The message here is that if necessary, Am Yisrael is willing to sacrifice its own life for its ideals. On this Shabbat, the Fogel family – parents Udi and Ruth and three of their six children, 11-year-old Yoav, 4-year-old Elad, and newborn Hadas – became the most recent sacrifices.

This was not the first family to be slaughtered. We remember the horrifying murders of the Shabo, Dickstein, Gavish, Aymos, Unger and countless other families destroyed by Arab terror. In case we had forgotten, this Shabbat offered a brutal reminder of the nature of our enemies. They have no problem slitting the throat of an infant or thrusting a knife into the heart of a toddler. They are not fit to be called human, certainly not fit to live in Eretz Yisrael and obviously not fit to be peace partners.

This cruel event finally awakened the Israeli government into realizing that indoctrination against Jews in the Palestinian schools, streets and mosques has received the blessing of Mahmoud Abbas, who splendidly fills Yasir Arafat’s shoes as a depraved leader. Under Abbas, terrorists have been elevated to role models with streets and squares in Palestinian villages named after them.

Prime Minister Netanyahu went so far as to say he could not take seriously Abbas’s initial vague and ambiguous condemnation of the senseless slaughter. He said it was not enough to mumble an apology; Abbas must take immediate steps to stop the murder of innocent citizens.

I only hope this barbaric act of terror serves as a wake-up call to our leaders. They must recognize that our conflict is not merely territorial; we are fighting for our very lives and national existence in our homeland.

Our leaders must understand their basic responsibility is to secure Jewish lives by destroying the hotbeds of terror and developing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Our leaders must end the embarrassing displays of national weakness inherent in destroying Israeli outposts, announcing a readiness to engage in painful compromises like awarding military and administrative powers to the Palestinian Authority, and begging Abbas to negotiate with promises of maintaining the building freeze in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

The Fogel family’s grief has become the nation’s grief. We are reminded of Queen Esther’s appeal as she feared for her people: “Go and gather all the Jews.” Relief and support would come only if the Jews acted as a community. The unity of the Jewish people was expressed this past weekend, not only by the tens of thousands who participated in the funeral but by live broadcast of the funeral and eulogies on all national television and radio channels.

As at the funerals of slain Golani officer Eliraz Peretz and the eight murdered Mercaz HaRav students, Israelis had the elevating experience of hearing from the parents and siblings of the victims. Their painful yet confident words of faith and determination served to strengthen our devotion to the development of Jewish life and ideals in all of Eretz Yisrael and especially in Judea and Samaria.

The moving words revealed again the intrinsic essence of the Jewish soul and the divine inspiration that is the dynamic spirit embodied in this generation of bold pioneers, educators and defenders of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael. They called on the Israeli government to continue unlimited building in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria. Only this expression of strength will deter terrorists from daring to strike again. Only multitudes of Jews in villages, towns and cities – men and women of faith, determined and ready to sacrifice – will insure the continuation of the Zionist process.

The Best Revenge Is To Build

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Even for a region accustomed to brutality, last week’s Sabbath massacre in Itamar stands out for its sheer savagery and barbarism.
Just hours after their home had been filled with song and sanctity in honor of the weekly day of rest, the Fogel family was decimated by at least one Palestinian terrorist in an attack so horrific that it defies comprehension.
With methodical cruelty, the perpetrator went from room to room, slashing and stabbing the parents and three of their children.
As a result, Ruth and Udi Fogel, along with their sons Yoav, 11, and Elad, 4, and their 3-month old daughter Hadas, were murdered, leaving behind three young orphans under the age of 12.
The carnage came as a painful reminder of the depravity of Israel’s enemies, who do not hesitate to raise a knife against a Jewish toddler sleeping peacefully alongside her father in bed.
Photos of the Fogel children lying in pools of blood with stab wounds on their innocent young bodies were circulated over the Internet and around the world, in an attempt to underline the threat posed to civilization by Palestinian terror.
But as shocking as the images are, they are unlikely to make more than a dent in international public opinion.
After all, since the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords, the Jewish state has been the target of an unprecedented wave of terror, as Palestinians have employed everything from suicide bombings to rocket attacks on towns and cities.
And despite this, much of the international community still blames Israel for the lack of progress toward peace while all but overlooking the butchery committed against it.
The attack in Itamar was the work of pure evil, and Israel should hunt down those responsible for it with unrelenting determination. No effort should be spared to punish or capture the terrorists who carried out this brutal assault.
            In the aftermath of the incident, the government rightly pointed the finger at the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing incitement to violence, highlighting the glorification of terror that appears in the official Palestinian press.
Indeed, shortly after the attack, Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with a group of Palestinian youths participating in a song competition lionizing suicide bombers.
And this past Sunday, as the Fogel family was laid to rest in Jerusalem, the Fatah youth movement organized a public ceremony in Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, to name a square after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi.
Mughrabi was one of the thugs who took part in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre that killed 38 Israelis, including 13 children.
There is no doubt that the years of indoctrination of hatred and animosity toward Israel in Palestinian schoolbooks, radio shows, television programs and newspaper articles all contributed to the warped morality that produced the killers of the Fogel family.
And the cult of death is alive and well in places such as Gaza, where Palestinians literally cheered the news of the attack and even handed out sweets on the streets of Rafah.
A society that countenances such behavior is clearly one that has foregone even the most rudimentary elements of decency and ethics.

Hence, to expect Israel to make concessions to its leadership is both irresponsible and reckless.

Needless to say, the international community also bears part of the blame, if only because of its continuing campaign of delegitimization against the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria.
By labeling the Jewish population of the territories “illegal” and “illegitimate”, they have played into the hands of the terrorists, essentially painting a target on the backs of every Jew living there.
If Jewish families in Itamar or Hebron are repeatedly deemed to be “obstacles to peace” and “occupiers,” then is it any surprise that there will be those who attack them?
In responding to the massacre, Prime Minister Netanyahu wisely chose to underline Israel’s resolve by approving the construction of several hundred new housing units in Judea and Samaria.
It was an important first step toward strengthening the Jewish presence in these areas, even if it fell far short of what can and should be done. Most of the homes approved for construction are in communities such as Ariel and Gush Etzion, which everyone agrees Israel would hold onto as part of any final settlement.
A stronger message could have – and should have – been sent to our foes by authorizing the establishment of new settlements as well as expanding Itamar itself.
It needs to be made clear to the Palestinians that their attempts to eradicate communities such as Itamar will only result in their further expansion.
Or to put it even more bluntly: The best revenge is to build.
Where the Palestinians seek to extinguish Jewish life, let’s fortify and expand it.  Where they seek to snuff us out, let’s make it abundantly clear that come hell or high water, we are not going anywhere.

            The Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel, and whether the world likes it or not, we are here to stay.



Michael Freund is chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that reaches out and assists “lost Jews” seeking to return to the Jewish people. His Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month.

Itamar: Time For A New Paradigm

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The atrocity in Itamar, in which two parents and three young children were brutally murdered by believers in the “religion of peace,” has shocked and dismayed all civilized people. Blame is always ascribed to the perpetrators, whose inhumanity and animalistic instincts know no bounds. But it is foolhardy to ignore the effects of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies that have facilitated both terror and the further deterioration of Israel’s strategic position.
Certainly, the passion with which Netanyahu denounced the murderers and the PA was welcome, even if his “demands” on them were risible. For the umpteenth time in the last 18 years, angry Israeli spokesmen condemned the unchecked incitement emanating from official Palestinian organs – media, schools, etc. – and demanded its immediate cessation.
Undoubtedly, the same Israelis will deplore the same incitement after the next terrorist attack, and the one after that as well. Perhaps it is too much to ask, but when will official Israel admit that “incitement” is not a Palestinian tactic or an aberration but a way of life and a genuine and natural expression of an intense hatred of Jews?
If and when that happens, it can only come after official Israel admits it is foolish and counterproductive to continue to “negotiate” with a Palestinian Authority that is both unauthorized and duplicitous. To even request that they begin “educating their people for peace” shows that Netanyahu participates in the charade. If he knows the Arabs engage in double talk and are uninterested in negotiations leading to a peace treaty, then why would he even contemplate more concessions, including the rumored dramatic initiative of Israel’s acceptance of a Palestinian state of undefined borders? This returns us to the insanities of the last two decades.
Did the removal of military checkpoints outside Shechem facilitate the monsters’ movements? Perhaps, but in any event, it is ludicrous to remove checkpoints during a war. As the scientist Gerald Schroeder pointed out in our shul on Shabbat, every American passes through several checkpoints on the way to an airplane. Those Americans who insist on the removal of Israeli checkpoints should demand first the removal of American checkpoints at airports.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu is responsible for an ongoing failure, an epic blunder that both undercuts his leadership and sows the seeds for such heinous crimes as occurred in Itamar.
Simply put, Netanyahu may not be able to influence events on the ground in Israel’s turbulent neighborhood, but he should be able to capitalize on them in order to advance Israel’s strategic interests. Instead, he is locked into an old paradigm that has been discredited. Apparently, Netanyahu remains committed to the “land for peace” formula that has never worked and is still unworkable. To plan for new territorial concessions to more unstable despots when the previous ones have brought instability and mayhem is folly. So why would an MIT graduate like Netanyahu do that?
The answer is an incapacity to look at the conflict through anything but secular lenses. He is trapped in a rigid worldview in which Israel’s interests and narrative are dominated by “historical” claims and security concerns. Both have failed to capture the public mind, and have left Israelis wondering why their pain, the justice of their cause and their willingness to make concessions leave the world unmoved and indifferent to their plight. Israelis are also troubled that the world does not distinguish between Israel’s claims of 3,500 years and the claims of the Palestinians, a “people” that is a 20th century invention concocted solely to thwart the nascent Jewish national movement.
   This disconnect exists because Israel itself doesn’t distinguish between the two narratives but has embraced the “two peoples for one land” distortion of history. “History” cuts both ways. Jews historically resided in the land, but so did other nations, and Jews did not reside en masse in the land of Israel for centuries at a time. For a world with short memories, it makes no difference how old – or how valid – the claims are, as long as claims are made that pre-date its living memory.
And the “security” argument is increasingly hollow. The Arab contention is superior to the Israeli one: “You stole my house. Give it back and we will not bother you.” To which the Israeli responds: “Well, give me proof that you won’t bother me.” And the Arab replies: “That is crazy. Get out of my house!”
No wonder the world is deaf to Israel’s claims; they are as illogical as they are immoral. We don’t respond “Wrong, this is our house!”
Every concession Israel makes or even entertains simply reinforces the Arab narrative. When Israel releases terrorists from prison as a goodwill gesture, it sends the message that the terrorists were not justly imprisoned in the first place. When Israel removes security checkpoints, it sends the message that the checkpoints had no real security dimension but were simply a means to harass Arabs. When the government of Israel freezes construction in settlements, it sends the message that building in the heartland of Israel is illegal and unjustifiable. (Then it wonders why the UN wants to declare settlements illegal!)
When Israel destroys outposts in Samaria, it broadcasts that the land of Israel does not belong to the people of Israel. When Israel allows building only in response to terror, it shouts that settlement is not a natural right but a vengeful tool. Those messages are received by audiences around the world.
The cardinal sin of the Netanyahu tenure is that he and his minions repeatedly fail to utilize the only narrative that carries real substance and can transform the entire debate: that the Jewish people’s claim to the land of Israel is based not on history, security, or the Holocaust but on the biblical fact that the Creator of the Universe bequeathed it to our forefathers, and through them to us, as an “everlasting possession.”
It should not require a great leap of imagination to embrace this concept; after all, it is the very reason why the idea of a return to Zion animated generations of Jews dwelling in far-flung exiles. It is the very reason why Jews sacrificed to return, build and defend the land of Israel. The problem is that Netanyahu, a secular person like almost all of his predecessors, does not believe it. It plays no role in his policy formulations.
That itself is foolish and counterproductive because the world today is riveted by religious ideas that are in both ideological competition and armed conflict with each other. Radical Islam is at war with the Christian West and with Jewish Israel. These are fundamentally religious disputes, even if the seculars among us – Jews and Christians – abhor the notion and eschew its applicability.
That is why radical Muslims regularly threaten the “Crusaders and the Zionists” (i.e., Christians and Jews) and that is why Jews – not only Israelis – are targets of Islamic hatred throughout the world, not only in Israel. And Israel’s keenest supporters in America today are the tens of millions of Bible-believing Christian evangelicals, who are often puzzled that they embrace the biblical narrative far more enthusiastically than do Israel’s leaders. By adopting a religious perspective, at least we will have joined the debate instead of standing on the sidelines uttering irrelevancies.
Israel has suffered enormously over the years because its leaders have been secular Jews who have shorn the history of Israel of its religious dimension, and who have rooted Israel’s right to existence in amorphous and unpersuasive arguments relating to the Holocaust and security matters. Israel deserves to have a believing Jew as its prime minister, and Israel’s large religious Jewish community needs to have the self-confidence that a Torah Jew can infuse policy with faith.
The new paradigm would transform the debate overnight. Territorial concessions would be ruled out, because “this land is our land, given to us by God.” Building and development would take place throughout the land of Israel, as this is the Torah’s mandate. “Settlements” would no longer be an excuse for terror but a natural part of nation building.
Non-Jews would be welcomed as residents of this land as long as they embraced basic norms of morality and acceded to the sovereignty of the Jewish people. Israel would not feel guilty about fighting and defeating a brutal and merciless enemy. It would no longer be on the defensive before international tribunals. Israel’s prime minister would no longer be the only world leader who bends to President Obama’s commands. Indeed, the word “concession” could be retired from Israel’s diplomatic lexicon.
Imagine if an Israeli prime minister said: “World, we are here because the Almighty, in Whom we trust, gave us this land so that we should serve Him and observe His Torah therein. Without the promises of the Torah, we have no reason to be here. And we are here to stay, in the land of our history and our destiny.”
Such would end the days of defensiveness, awkwardness, guilt and recriminations. World leaders (and many Jews) would be apoplectic – in the short term. But they would recover – and Israel’s case would be persuasive and winnable, and have the added advantage of being true and holy.

It is about time the people of Israel were governed by Jewish leaders steeped in Jewish history and values and faith. In a region being swept by less savory revolutions, this would be a revolution that would inspire our nation and perhaps even lead the world to a bright and peaceful era of untold good.




Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun of Teaneck, New Jersey.

Sorrow, Determination In Wake Of Itamar Horror

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The ghastly discovery of her brutally murdered family will haunt 12-year-old Tamar Fogel for the rest of her life. Returning to her home in the Shomron settlement of Itamar from a friend’s house late Friday night, Tamar found her parents and three of her siblings lying dead in pools of blood.

Palestinian terrorists had entered Itamar by evading an electronic security fence around the settlement and breaking into the Fogel home. They stabbed to death Rabbi Ehud (Udi) Fogel, 36, a former IDF tank unit officer and teacher in an Itamar yeshiva; his wife, Ruth, 35; and three children – Yoav, 11, Elad, 4 and Hadas, 3 months. The perpetrators then left without being noticed, taking with them two stolen rifles.

The Fogels’ two other sons were spared by sleeping in an undetected room: 8-year-old Ro’i and 2-year-old Yishai, found crying and lying next to his bleeding parents, soaked in blood while trying to wake them up.

While Gazans under Hamas rule celebrated the atrocity by handing out candy in the streets, the murdered Fogel family members were laid to rest in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem on Sunday. Thousands of mourners packed the cemetery, listening to speakers who decried the loss of a selfless family and roused the crowd to continue building across the land of Israel.

“More construction, more life, more hanging onto the land. This is our answer to the murderers,” said Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger told mourners, “More building, that’s the answer. In Judea we will always settle and [in] Jerusalem from generation to generation.”

Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon stressed that “We have never given up on our right to this land. Anyone who gives up this right won’t have security either.” He blamed Palestinian incitement against Jews for the attack and accused Palestinians of “teaching their children that from the Jordan [River] to the sea, Jews have no rights.”
The latest martyrs: Udi and Ruth Fogel and their children
Yoav, 11, Elad, 4 and Hadas, three months

Colonel Geva Rapp, an IDF reserve colonel and head of the Panim el Panim Jewish awareness program in Israel, is reeling from the tragedy, which took a personal double toll on him. Ruth Fogel was Rapp’s niece and Udi Fogel was Panim el Panim’s coordinator and lecturer of the Shomron and central region for the past six years.

Rapp describes the couple as “modest, down to earth, with a deep love of Eretz Yisrael, always willing to give of themselves.”

He spoke of “Rav Udi,” who taught in yeshivot after studying at Yeshivat Eli and Yeshivat Har Hamor, as “a true mensch who will be sorely missed” and one who had “love for all people, especially his students.”

Rapp recalls Ruth as Udi’s partner in all his endeavors and a very brave woman. “She drove her car all over Israel without fearing anything or anyone,” Rapp said. Noting the irony of the situation, he remembers how Ruth once told her parents that the best way for a person to finish his life in this world is by sanctifying God’s Name.

The Fogel family moved to Netzarim, one of the most dangerous and isolated settlements in Gush Katif, when they had three small children. Shortly before the Gaza disengagement Udi became a coordinator with Panim el Panim. In an attempt to raise public opinion against the Disengagement, Udi went with several hundred volunteers door to door all over the country explaining how Jews “are one family and one nation.”

When the disengagement was implemented and the Fogels were expelled from their home, “they didn’t feel any anger or hatred, even when Netzarim was being destroyed,” Rapp recalls. “They were only full of love for Israel. If you would ask them what they would want, they would say more unity and more love for the people of Israel, Eretz Yisrael and the Torah.”

Rapp, who served as one of the coordinators of Operation Cast Lead against Hamas, was interviewed by the Knesset Sunday because of his close relationship with both family members.

“In the Knesset they are dealing with politics,” he explained. “This is beyond any politics. I had the zechut [honor]to be Ruthie’s uncle, but in Israel we are really all one family. We share the same history, the same vision and ideas, and we are all shaken by what happened.”

The sheer brutality of the Itamar attack shook the nation and galvanized even those seemingly inured by countless previous terror attacks. It also prompted government officials to approve construction of several hundred housing units in the settlement blocs of Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Edumim, Ariel and Modi’in Illit.

David Ha’ivri, director of Israel’s Shomron Liaison Office, which represents the settlement of Itamar, is not satisfied with the government’s response, calling it “an insult to the memory of that holy family and an insult to the community of Judea and Samaria.”

To Ha’ivri the gesture is too little. “What’s more,” he told The Jewish Press, “there’s no reason to connect the two. It’s not as if we deserve a prize because we’ve been slaughtered. We are citizens of Israel and we are being discriminated against in the issue of building permits. Now to tie the two and to give us some kind of gift in return for our neighbors having been killed is insulting.”

Ha’ivri also slams the government’s offering as “non-significant” because it focuses only on those settlement blocs not on the table in future negotiations with the Palestinians and does not include smaller communities of which the Fogel family were a part.

MK Dr. Michael Ben Ari (National Union), who was a neighbor of the Fogels when they lived in Karnei Shomron for a year and knew them to be “very fine, special people,” concurs with Ha’ivri that the homes that were approved were going to be built anyhow.

“This is like sticking a knife in the backs of the residents of Itamar,” he said.

Ben Ari feels Prime Minister Netanyahu deserves a large measure of blame for the massacre due to his sanctioning IDF raids against settlers, taking down checkpoints, and allowing the Palestinians free movement.

But Ha’ivri reserves most of his anger for Ehud Barak, the minister of defense.

“In any government with accountability,” Ha’ivri said, “a government figure who is such a failure in carrying out his responsibility, who uses his position in order to apply his political policies to settlers in Judea and Samaria, and who is exhausting our army enforcing building permits, destroying trailor homes and taking down check points that are needed for our security – it would be natural for such a person to voluntarily resign. He made faulty decisions that have cost the lives of the people he is being paid to protect.”

Ha’ivri insists that Barak resign.

“If Barak does not have the integrity to do that, then Netanyahu should fire him. Everything that’s been said regarding Barak and his accountability applies to Netanyahu as well, because Netanyahu appointed Barak and could at any time release him from that position.”

Noting the futility of putting too much stock in the alleged moderation of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Ha’ivri and Ben Ari both pointed to reports by, among others, Jewish Press and WND investigative reporter Aaron Klein, that at least two members of Abbas’s security forces have been arrested in conjunction with the Itamar massacre.

This followed an initial claim of responsibility and a quick reneging on that claim by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the “military wing” of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party.

Indeed, just one day after the Itamar slaughter Abbas’s Fatah faction named a town square in Al-Birah, a town near Ramallah, after Dalal al-Mughrabi, the Jihadist mastermind of the 1978 bus hijacking that led to the murder of 35 Israelis,.

If Fatah is responsible, it would be one more massacre to add to the group’s long record of carnage against Jews. Slitting the throat of an infant, however, may be a new low in evil, one that compelled 12-year-old Tamar Fogel to promise her relatives, “I will be a mother to my siblings.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/home-page/sorrow-determination-in-wake-of-itamar-horror/2011/03/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: