Israel, Zionism and the Media

Tag: murder

The Cult of Death That Took Away Our Boys


My heart is heavy. I feel loss and despair.

Today I watched the funerals of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sha’ar and Eyal Yifrach, three teenagers abducted and murdered on their way home from seminary two weeks ago.

As I watched the simultaneous live streaming of the three funerals, prior to burial in Modi’in, where they now lie side by side, united in death as in life, I witnessed love, warmth and compassion bursting from every fibre of their families’ being. I listened to the heart-wrenching eulogies of parents, siblings, teachers. I witnessed their families’ love of their community, the Jewish people, humanity,  G-d.

Their dignity is inspiring. We are moved to want to cross the distance that separates and to comfort and mourn with them. There is no consolation for a parent who has lost a child to brutal, meaningless, unspeakable murder.

Not so long ago my son was at a seminary nearby to theirs. Yes, not so long ago I passed the very spot from where they were abducted and murdered. It could have been my son, G-d forbid. It could have been yours. These boys ARE our sons. We are the Jewish People. We are the Jewish Family. Your son is my son and mine yours. You are my brother, sister, father, grandfather, my niece and nephew.

At the funerals there was not one single call for blood or revenge; just dignity and heartbreaking emotion. It was unbearable. I could not watch the final scenes.

Don’t tell me that we – anyone – doesn’t value the life of our own more than the other; whoever tells you that is a liar – or a saint. I have pity, yes, but not this sense of close familial ties, not this depth of grief and anger. Not this despair.

This cult of death which gloats and laughs with glee at grief and suffering, this cult with its maniacal glorification of revenge, this cult which feeds off the offal of its own vicious immorality, is simply not human; it is a travesty of thousands of years of human moral development to which Judaism and the Jewish people sit as the cornerstone and the abiding custodian.

It is, however, here to stay as it spreads across the Arab-Muslim world; a death cult devoid of pity, the absolute zero, the deep ocean trench, the nadir of nadirs of human moral worth and value. A cult that, like a tsunami of ideological delusion, scarifies the landscape of our culture, leaving a wasteland of flinty desiccation, the death of the heart, of the soul, and every last scintilla of humanness.

It is a cult that throws rocks at ambulances bearing the dead teenagers, distributes sweets rejoicing at the abduction of children (and considers them fair game), indoctrinates children to hate with a passion that is pathological, immiserates its people and wallows in the swill of its self-inflicted victimhood.

Israel and the Jewish people are not faultless, they are capable of evil, fanaticism and hatred; but this is not a pathology, it is not an essential and indivisible component of the culture, it is confronted and prosecuted, it is not nurtured and glorified.

This is the challenge of our century: how to defeat unconscionable evil, and expose its apologists.

To do so may mean our own culture is morally damaged in the fight against this scourge of our modern world, which competes with itself in plunging to new depths of depravity.

The Jewish people and the State of Israel, with all their imperfections, must be supported, critically if necessary, in this fight. It is a mistake to see it as a fight for land only, it’s far more complex. There are competing rights and claims, but interwoven with this narrative is an ever increasing, ever harsher infiltration of religio-political ideology which paints Jews as devils and untermenschen and reverses the meaning of good and evil.

Whilst the Jewish mother is consumed with loss, the Palestinian mother’s loss is somehow transformed to glorious martyrdom and the desire for more sons to sacrifice. As the Israel Matzav blog so aptly points out quoting journalist, Brett Stephens:

Here’s my question: What kind of society produces such mothers? Whence the women who cheer on their boys to blow themselves up or murder the children of their neighbors?

Well-intentioned Western liberals may prefer not to ask, because at least some of the conceivable answers may upset the comforting cliché that all human beings can relate on some level, whatever the cultural differences. Or they may accuse me of picking a few stray anecdotes and treating them as dispositive, as if I’m the only Western journalist to encounter the unsettling reality of a society sunk into a culture of hate. Or they can claim that I am ignoring the suffering of Palestinian women whose innocent children have died at Israeli hands.

But I’m not ignoring that suffering. To kill innocent people deliberately is odious, to kill them accidentally or “collaterally” is, at a minimum, tragic. I just have yet to meet the Israeli mother who wants to raise her boys to become kidnappers and murderers—and who isn’t afraid of saying as much to visiting journalists.

To hell with moral equivalences and journalistic ‘balance’, it’s time to decide which side you are on because it will sooner or later become that simple: life or death. Which path to you want humanity to follow in the decades ahead? Is it to push back and defeat, to obliterate religio-fascism, or bury yourself in a quagmire of misdirected human rights’ qualms that are only appropriate for a society and culture that has the moral capacity to produce them?

Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu said at today’s funeral:

The moral chasm that separates us from our enemies is deep and wide.

On his website, former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, had the last word on the distinction between a cult of death and those that cling to, and value life:

Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were killed by people who believed in death. Too often in the past Jews were victims of people who practised hate in the name of the God of love, cruelty in the name of the God of compassion, and murder in the name of the God of life. It is shocking to the very depths of humanity that this still continues to this day.

Never was there a more pointed contrast than, on the one hand, these young men who dedicated their lives to study and to peace, and on the other the revelation that other young men, even from Europe, have become radicalised into violence in the name of God and are now committing murder in His name. That is the difference between a culture of life and one of death, and this has become the battle of our time, not only in Israel but in Syria, in Iraq, in Nigeria and elsewhere. Whole societies are being torn to shreds by people practising violence in the name of God.

Itamar and the redefinition of evil

The story of the murder of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar in Samaria, or, if you insist, the West Bank, should be known to you. If not, then here is a short description of what happened from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

At least one terrorist infiltrated the West Bank settlement of Itamar, southeast of Nablus, late Friday night (11 March) and stabbed to death Udi (36) and Ruth (35) Fogel, and their children Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and 3-month-old Hadas.

The killings occurred shortly after 10 p.m., when one or two attackers jumped the fence that surrounds Itamar and broke into the home of Ruth and Udi Fogel. The attackers went from room to room, first stabbing the parents and their 3-month-old baby girl, Hadas. They proceeded to the next room where they killed the two sleeping boys, Elad, 4, and Yoav, 11.
Two other boys – Ro’ie, 8 and Yishai, 2 – were sleeping in another room and were not attacked.

The family’s oldest child, 12- year-old Tamar, was out of the house at the time and alerted neighbors when no one opened the door for her.

I don’t know what your views on Israeli settlement activity in Judea/Samaria are.  If you are an anti-Zionist,  that’s fine. If you don’t like Jews, then I think you are a bigot, but never mind. If you don’t agree with Israel’s policies in Judea and Samaria, ok, I’m not a big fan myself.

If you dislike Israel and/or Jews and/or Zionists BUT you want peace and you want two peoples to be able to live together despite your dislike of one of them, then please read what I am about to write.

Just to be sure. I don’t care what your politics are or which side you support or who you hate or dislike but I do want you to think about this incident.

I am especially keen that those of you on what’s known as the ‘hard left’ who are very fond of demonising Israel and Israelis read this.

If you are a supporter of Palestine and somehow think that this family deserved this, then I want you to read what I am about to write.

If you think that these actions are a valid form of ‘resistance’, then read this.

If you love life, Israel, Jews, Zionism, humanity in all its forms and with all its terrible faults and contradictions, then I would guess you are already outraged and don’t need to read this; but please spare me a few more minutes of your time.

Look at the picture of 3-month old Hadas Fogel above. Now imagine that you are about to break into her bedroom and find her in her cot. You have a knife, a very sharp knife, in your hand. You are fired up with hate and anger and, no doubt, jihadi passion. Maybe you have seen friends killed by Israelis. Maybe you have been fed hatred of Jews your entire life. Maybe life is hard for you and your family because of Israeli checkpoints and restrictions. Maybe some Jew has torn out your olive trees.

Maybe you have a 3-month old sister or niece or daughter. You love children and babies. They are the future. They are innocent, are they not?

Nevertheless, you find the sleeping baby (and you have already killed her parents whilst her young brothers wait for your knife in another room). Maybe the the baby has woken with the commotion. Maybe she is crying for her dead mother whom you have just slaughtered in her bed, stabbing her many times.

You grab the baby Hadas. You don’t know her name. She is just a Jewish baby. Something inhuman. Less than human. Of less worth than a dog or even a rat.

You have her by the head and you draw your knife across her throat and watch the lifeblood spill out on her pillow and bedclothes.

You do not feel remorse. You feel jubilation. You have committed an heroic deed. You can’t wait to get back home and show them your bloody clothes and your hands still drenched in Jewish blood. But there are still two young boys to despatch. Did one watch as his brother was stabbed to death awaiting his fate? Or were they still sleeping as your knife did its deadly work?

And what do your friends and your parents and your community think of you? Do they alert the police? Do they scream bloody murder?

No. They rejoice. They could not be happier.

When the news reaches Gaza, Hamas hands out sweets/candies to children of a similar age to those just murdered.

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas calls Israeli president Netanyahu to express his sorrow at the deed and then continues with his never-ending slanders, blood-libels and dehumanisation of Jews.

No doubt Abbas is happy that Netanyahu has retaliated. Did this retaliation take the form of a massacre of Palestinian innocents? No, it took the form of approving 500 new housing blocks in West Bank ‘settlements’, for which he was condemned by the USA. Another notch is tightened on the rack of Israeli delegitimisation. The assassin has done well.

So, I ask you, you who approve or at least ‘understand’ how such things can happen, or, rather then condemn, reel off a long list of Israeli ‘crimes’ which justify the ‘resistance’, I ask you to explain your moral position. Or maybe you’ve come out with some platitudes about how sorry you are, but…

Yes, it’s that ‘but’ which says it all.

There are no ‘buts’.

Any person who can perform such a depraved act is no person. They are not members of any human race that I can recognise. No-one, however angry, however repressed, however poor and certainly however ‘religious’ can ever, ever, ever justify or minimise or excuse or explain, let alone rejoice, at such an act.

And any people, which wants to take its part in the family of nations, which bases its national aspirations on the demonisation and dehumanisation of another race or nation or group is not, nor deserves the name of, a ‘nation’ or ‘people’.

And before you start to tell me about the atrocities Jews perpetrated against Arabs and the British and bring up Deir Yassin and Gaza and Lebanon and Sabra and Shatila, then read again the sentence above.

All I hear is the deafening silence or mealy-mouthed ‘explanations’ coming from the Arab world and the hard left.

At the Fogel home there is also deafening silence.