Every time I see a Hatzalah ambulance speeding by with flashing lights, it makes me sad. Not because I oppose Hatzalah, God forbid. Even though I at first opposed the idea of a Jewish ambulance service (for reasons I will not get into) I am now fully supportive of it. They are a valuable asset to the Jewish community. They have in fact made many a Kiddush HaShem by responding to emergencies even when they don’t involve Jews.

Every emergency call is treated the same way. They respond quickly (much faster than 911 calls) and their EMTs are well trained in emergency on-site treatment. And since they are all volunteer there is never a charge for their service. If hospitalization is required they will transport you to the hospital of your choice even if it is further than the nearest hospital – provided that there is no danger involved in doing so.


 So why am I sad when I see Hatzalah in action? I should be proud, right?

Well, I am proud. It’s just that when I see a Hatzalah ambulance I realize that it is probably responding to one of our own. Perhaps even someone I know. Human suffering makes me sad. Particularly when it is Jewish suffering.

And yet lately when the media reports about a terrorist attack in Israel where a Jew was killed or wounded, I barely react. It unfortunately happens so often that I’m used to such stories by now.

This is not to say I don’t empathize with the families of those victims. I do. I cannot imagine what it feels like to lose a loved one who is otherwise totally healthy, happy, and just going about their daily business. And then suddenly and randomly subjected to act of terrorism.

But sadly it has happened so often that it isn’t even news anymore. That is pretty much the way I reacted to 2 recent attacks in Israel. Not excusing my reaction. Just explaining it

Yesterday it happened again in the city of Bnei Brak. A city I considered my home when my parents lived there and visited every summer. A city as far away from Israeli/Palestinian politics as fire is from water. This time 5 people were killed. 4 of them were Jewish and one was a Christian Arab who served as a sergeant on the Israeli police force. 5 innocent people killed by a man who probably believed it was his religious obligation to kill Jews.

My initial sorrow quickly turned into anger. I must admit that upon hearing of this event yesterday, my first reaction was to just carpet bomb Gaza and the West Bank and be done with it already. I just can’t take it anymore.

But as always I immediately rejected that idea as completely immoral. You cannot wipe out an entire people even if they don’t like you. Not all Palestinians are mass murderers. And despite the fact that many of them see terrorists killed in actions as martyrs and heroes, that does not justify annihilating them. That would be genocide. And some of them are actually good people that reject terrorism.

Not that any of this is news either. We have been through this before. Many times. Innocent Jews have been blown to bits on busses and in restaurants in Israel and elsewhere.

Unsurprisingly, this incident was condemned by PA (Palestinian Authority) leader, Mahmoud Abbas. But that was only for public consumption. It should be obvious what he really thinks by the way he compensates the families of terrorists killed in action.  Most likely using humanitarian aid he got from the US intended to benefit his people. It is also pretty obvious what many Palestinians in the street thought about this attack. They celebrated! (See here.)

I don’t know how anyone thinks we can make peace with a people that cheers mass murdering our people and whose leader rewards it by compensating the families of those who do it. Even if every settlement was taken down, that situation won’t change.

Here’s the thing. The mass murder of Jews by Palestinians must end. Israel must put a stop to it. I’m not sure how they can accomplish that. But the one thing that ought to abandon is worrying about what the world will say.

Israel has a right – an obligation – to protect its people. Whatever it takes. If that means using even harsher measures than they are now, so be it. And if Palestinians are looking for someone to blame for their increased misery – they need to look inward. At their own leaders and their own attitudes that glorify terrorist events like the one that happened in Bnei Brak yesterday. And the rest of the world needs to once and for all be disabused of the Palestinian claim that their misery is in any way Israel’s fault. It is not.

 I’m just plain tired of innocent Jewish blood being spilled all the time. Enough already

{Reposted from the author’s blog}


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Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at [email protected].