Monday, March 14, 2011

The Horror And The Strength

Israel is still reeling from the horror of the terrorist attack that took place Shabbat night, in the town of Itamar, in Samaria. Yes, CNN, it was indeed a terrorist attack, and yes, arabs were the perpetrators. As we Israelis first heard the reports of the attack, our minds couldn’t comprehend the news, our hearts were broken and our cries pierced the air: “WHY?” We cried, we screamed, we questioned: how could this be? We asked so many questions, except for one: “Who would do this? What kind of person, or people could do this?” Why ask the question when we already knew the answer? Sadly, we knew exactly who was capable of such an act of brutality. Surely now the world would see it too, we hoped. It would see what surrounds us and lives amongst us day in and day out.

So we waited for the response, the outrage, the condemnation. We waited, for surely it would come. How can humanity not abhor such an atrocity? How could the world not scream out with us? What could the world say about five family members, including three children, being butchered in their sleep, other than this butchery of innocents must end? The world would surely condemn those who slit the throat of a four month old baby, right? Well, we received the world's response, and is was sorely lacking. The world had very little to say in the way of condemnation. Actually, that's not true. The world had plenty to condemn once Israel announced that she will build some new homes in Judea and Samaria. The UN raced to say that Jews building in these areas is not conducive to peace. That’s interesting. When did the UN race to say that killing a Jewish baby, a toddler an older brother and their parents isn’t conducive to peace? Oh, that’s right…it didn’t. I also heard no outrage from the “moderate” muslims of the world. You know the ones, the ones who say that violence isn’t part of Islam, yet do nothing to denounce it.

Israel really needs to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks of her. Obviously, as we’ve seen time and time again, the world really doesn’t mind when Jews are killed. Did the Olympics committee stop the games when the Israeli athletes were massacred? No. Did the world cry out when eight yeshiva boys and young men were slaughtered as they learned over their holy books? No. Did it shout out “NO!” when a whole family was wiped out eating pizza? No. When a Passover Seder was bombed in Netanya did the world denounce the violence and the rhetoric of Jewish hatred that accompanied it? No. Unfortunately, I could go on and on with so many examples of the world looking the other way when Jewish blood is spilled. Six million Jews anyone? No.

The world is not crying for Israel. The world never does. And I don’t mind because I don’t expect it to. What bothers me much, much, more, is how we Jews keep asking, begging for the world’s approval. We keep giving and giving, hoping and hoping. We give our homes, our land, and worst of all, the lives of our children. It never matters what we do. We gave away Gaza. The Fogel family,ironically, was evacuated from Gaza. We were thanked with Katushas and with the world asking us to give more.To the world, nothing Israel does is good enough. It's about time she got that memo and just took care of herself.

When prime minister Netanyahu visited her grandparents’ home after the funeral, 12 year old Tamar Fogel, one of three orphans from the freshly murdered family, challenged him by asking, “If you do something, are you afraid the U.S. will do something to you?” In her hour of unrelenting grief and trauma she had the clarity and the strength to ask such a question right to the prime minister’s face, eye to eye. She’s an inspiration to us all. He, on the other hand, had nothing to say. What could he say?

Israel must be strong and unyielding in its claim on her homeland, every inch of it. From the Golan to Eilat. From Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Form Itamar to Hevron. So the world won’t like it. So what? They don’t like us now. The Arabians won’t like it. So what? They want to kill us already. At least we’ll have our homes, our land and Please God, our children. We are surrounded by a culture which celebrates death. After the gruesome murders, candy was handed out in the streets of Gaza in celebration. Why should we care what people like this, who nourish this violence, think?

We, the Nation of Israel are a culture of complete contrast to the culture of death that surrounds us. We plant, we build, and we protect life and save lives all over the world. Once in a while, parts of the world thank us. Once in a while we get some credit. No one could deny what the Israelis did in Haiti. We kept Iraq from obtaining nuclear weapons. However, we mostly stand alone. That’s OK with me too, because I know who we are and what we are. We are the Nation of Israel. We know from where and from whom life comes. We celebrate life. Everyday we pray for it. We cherish it. We raise our glasses to it. We exist for it. We live for it.

May the almighty give comfort to the Fogel family and may the memories of the murdered be for a blessing and may the Almighty avenge their blood. Am Yisrael Chai.