“To most of us nothing is so invisible as an unpleasant truth. Though it is held before our eyes, pushed under our noses, rammed down our throats-we know it not.”-Eric Hoffer, “The Passionate State of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)
“The soul that has conceived one wickedness, can nurse no good thereafter.”-Sophocles
The Moral Lies We Tell
Torah is truth personified. Yet some truths cannot be said. We recognize that lying is odious. Yet some lies are permitted, such as the lies we tell to shield people from embarrassment or to protect the innocent. When we occasionally lie to our children to insulate them from things that no child should know about, we do so with a clear conscience. Lies of omission, lies of calculation. All for the good of the child.
To assuage their fears when they are very young, we assure them that there are no such things as childhood monsters with horns, fur, and teeth. In time, we teach them that while there are indeed wild creatures in this world with teeth and hearty appetites, civilized societies don’t have predatory animals roaming about. But what about the true monsters in this world, the human monsters who exist? How do we broach these topics?
We don’t. We avoid the question of those products of nature and nurture who commit acts as terrifying as any imaginary construct. The developing child approaches us with their ever expanding brains and the consequential concerns. We counter their inquiries. They bring it to us. No normal rational parent introduces these concepts.
Children first have a notion of robbers, and this often becomes the first anxiety relating to the real world. The killers, the rapists, the human predators, these are extensions of the first fear. The man who enters the home. The man who creeps about in the night while we sleep. When this first fear is articulated, we evade difficult questions with comforting solutions, to assure them of their safety, and help them mature into functional people, without the handicap of excessive anxiety. We pray to G-d that they will never meet such people, neither in childhood nor their adult lives. We tell them lies. We protect them as best we can. But life can be ugly.
Monsters in Our Midst
“You gave me a present and now I am returning it to you.”-Hallel’s mother Rena Ariel; at her murdered daughter’s funeral
A teenage girl’s bedroom should be the safest place in the world for her, a haven of privacy and seclusion. And in the normal world, it usually is. But not in Kiryat Arba, where the Jewish populace is surrounded by Arab barbarians. Home may be a man’s castle in his mind, but unguarded castles are easily stormed. Even within the illusion of gated communities, and electronic fences, and security patrols, these measures are only as good as the people maintaining them.
And when the mythology of security is shattered it is devastating. An insane image, impossible to fathom: a child’s bedroom drenched in her own blood. Portrait of Hallel Yaffa Ariel’s bedroom on June 30, 2016, courtesy of a 17-year-old Arab monster named Muhammad Tarayrah, who climbed through her bedroom window and stabbed her to death as she slept.
May G-d avenge Hallel’s blood. And may Hashem teach the Arabs of Kiryat Arba, the environs, and of Greater Israel the justice of the ancient city of Shchem.
Outside the realm of hasbara fantasy, most Israelis are unarmed and vulnerable, and although many people oppose the draconian laws which permit only the elite to obtain a legal weapon to protect themselves, many are not even bothered. In such a society, the terminally enlightened concern themselves with “restraint,” the rights of murderers, and perpetuating the system of apprehending terrorists. Such a society breeds weakness, because it denies the common man the most basic right of all, the right to live. The kind of society where the worst of humankind terrorize the innocent.
Whether maimed or murdered, or damned to witness the former, when people encounter human monsters their lives are ruined. In the same way that no one who survived the Holocaust can truly ever be “normal,” how can one who saw his parents gunned down or stabbed to death or hacked to bits, ever know normalcy? Can a society forced to endure endless Arab atrocities even appreciate the concept of normalcy?
There is no dearth of monsters in Israel. Man-beasts who resemble man but act less human than carnivores. Men who cast away their humanity and choose the evil. Arabs nursed on ideations of suicide/homicide martyrdom and are given every opportunity to actualize their madness. Arabs who stab babies in cribs and detonate themselves in the marketplace to attain said “martyrdom” and the depraved fantasies of Islam’s sexual pathology. Those Arab “passion-plays”, obscene Arabs theater featuring school children who reenact the slaughter of Jews. And Arabs who stab teenage girls in their bedrooms.
And still the left and clueless governments continue to perpetuate the myth of good Arabs. Of reasonable Arabs. Of Arabs who want to live in peace with Jews. These same politicians have the nerve to attend Jewish funerals and pay shiva calls. They speak of protecting Jews and yet Jews are sitting ducks in Israel. On many roads, Jews are targets for Arab snipers or cinder blocks. Or firebombs to burn his wife and children to death or destroy a little girl’s face. Even crossing the street in Jerusalem or buying milk can become an ordeal, should the Arab knife frenzy return, or the Arabs rediscover their predilection for crushing Jews with automobiles.
The government never calls for vengeance. Social media outlets for military and government speak of the murdered “of blessed memory”, the tamest of words suggesting that a murdered Jew slipped away in the night from old age. “May G-d avenge her blood” is considered the refrain of extremists. Netanyahu blasts Abbas and the “PA” for incitement. If as the sages of old taught us, the wise man is one who foresees the future, then the fool pokes out his own eyes and sees nothing. What on G-d’s earth did Bibi think he would accomplish? Compel Abbas to repent?
Thank G-d the latest Arab terror attack in Jerusalem was thwarted. But in Israel, the positive is laced with negative. Averted bloodshed doesn’t preclude the possibility of future bloodshed. On the contrary. Israel’s ethic of “do-the-least harm was on display. The terrorist was apprehended rather than having his head blown off. He will sit for a time, and as sure as the day is long, he will be part of a future prisoner release, as one with ‘no blood on his hands’. And when he is released, he will attempt to rectify his failure.
In Israel, the uncompromising warrior is often treated like a fiend, or a lawless vigilante. A soldier such as Elor Azaria who kills an Arab terrorist is a hero, and any “Jewish” government that punishes such a warrior is reprehensible. I don’t care if the creature was trussed up like a Thanksgiving Turkey. Or whether or not the ghoul had an explosive. A bullet to the head is the Jewish response. You can bet your last shekel that King David would have agreed. The witch-hunt against Azaria shrieks of Jewish degradation. Such actions are the antidote to Jewish funerals.
The double standard is jarring. The Left gets away with incitement to murder. Academics, journalists, activists, etc. They can say anything on twitter, Facebook or in a prominent paper. Military men can compare Israeli society to the society that birthed the disease of Nazism. Without any consequence. All during a “right-wing” government. Several months ago, the morally defective leftist editor of Walla News Roy Baharir Perl called for Arab terrorists to attack a “right-wing” Jewish concert. While this incitement was spread all over social media, our government tortured and imprisoned innocent Jews, on a witch-hunt to seek out supposed “Jewish terrorists”. If Perl was a right-winger, he would have been hanging upside down within the hour while Shabak agents pummeled him.
A government who refuses to protect the Nation and imprisons those who do, sends a message that 1) Jewish lives aren’t valued. 2) Jewish deaths are acceptable if the threshold of “acceptable losses” doesn’t remarkably change the status quo. 3) that Rabin’s perverse notion of “karbanot” for an impossible peace is pragmatic. A government and a society which spurns the gift of Jewish strength and holds its fire has blood on its hands. Jewish history will recall these sins born of weakness and self-loathing, whose consequences destroy lives and those of the survivors. Orphans and widows and parents who bury their young. Of sons and daughters who shriek “Abba”, as their beloved father is interred into the earth. Of a mother who one day drove her girl to dance class, and the next day spills tears stands over her murdered corpse.
Given Israel’s torturous form of government where a hodgepodge of groups usually forms a coalition, the question remains: How precisely to coordinate and implement the proper framework for genuine change? There are no easy answers, since yesterday’s best tactics are not necessarily feasible and today’s are useless. We need to use the best resources of our age. However, short of an undeserved miracle, nothing short of mass civil disobedience will make a dent in the government’s armor. When society wakes up and takes to the streets in unprecedented numbers, we will see the possibility for change. Articles and videos will not bring about change, no matter how provocative, powerful, or reasoned. They may cause people to think. They may inspire people, but nothing short of authentic societal grassroots effort on the ground, can rehabilitate our collective Jewish soul.
The pernicious effect of havlaga (restraint) can only be cleansed with Jewish strength and unrelenting power. There is no place on earth for mercy with the Arabs. Truly, they are the Am Lak-a nation that laps Jewish blood. The company of man-eating lions is preferable. When Arabs kill Jews it is perverse to celebrate our humanity with assurances that “we love while they hate”. Of course we are not like them. And that is precisely why the Torah demands that we destroy the wicked. The failure to do so, results in OUR slaughter. It is time to scream and demand that our government deals with the Arabs once and for all, before the next round of Jewish funerals.
Those terrible funerals. Those horrifying images of parents clinging and shrieking over the small inanimate bodies of their children all dressed in shrouds, awaiting the final journey. I prefer the funerals of my enemies. And every Arab funeral where the blood-crazed jinn celebrate their shahid is a G-d given opportunity to bomb them to smithereens. Whole villages of Arab terror can be obliterated this way.
When Moshiach arrives, he will be pressed to identify Amalek. I am convinced that this most noble of men (may we see the redemption in our times) will open his eyes wide with puzzlement: “Are you serious”, he will say? “They are all around you!”
“Pour out YOUR wrath against the nations, who know YOU not.” During the joy of the Passover seder, we call for vengeance against the evil nations. Some distorted modern commentaries try to minimize the significance of this powerful refrain in the Haggadah. It is significant and provocative. Unabashed and unapologetic. The wicked deserve punishment, and unlike petty revenge against a fellow Jew which is forbidden, this is something we long to see. Jewish outrage as a counter to apathy and indifference. Strength and dignity to repair the degradation, and self-respect for Torah and Halacha, rather than a systematic attempt to explain away halachic obligations. With such a mindset, we can finally deal with the Arabs.
We need more of the teachings of torat Moshe Rabbeinu, and less of the arrogance of Moshe Dayan. More of the glory of King David and less of David Ben Gurion’s Ghandi-esque havlaga. And truth be told, we need more of Shimon and Levi whose righteous zeal for their sister brought the city of Shechem to its knees. And lastly, we need more of Shimshon Hagibor, who terrified and terrorized the Philistine enemy.