Friday, July 4, 2014

Reaction to Calls for Vengeance and Another Murder

Written just after the announcement of the discovery, in the forests of Jerusalem, of the body of murdered 16 year old Muhammad Abu Khdeir from Shuafat, 

At this time, we do not know the perpetrators or reasons for the killing of a 16 year old Arab boy, discovered in the early hours of this morning in the Jerusalem Forest. 

And you know what?

It doesn't matter. 

The pain we feel here for the murder of the three kidnapped teens, for Eyyal, Gilaad and Naftali,  CANNOT be channeled into acts of "Nekama" or vengeance. 

Last night, I wandered through downtown.  I saw a procession of far right extremists chanting "Death to Arabs," looking for Arabs to harass and harm.

This is not the Jewish way.

We cannot stand idly by. 

We must demand quick action from our Government to protect all citizens.

It does NOT matter if, in the end, the Arab teen was murdered by other arabs due to internal family tensions or by Jews. 

If this was a family problem, we are still left with "ours" walking through downtown Jerusalem, chanting hatred and looking for innocents to harm.

If this was done by "ours," we have serious cheshbon nefesh, soul searching,  to do.  When we are done with out accounting,  we must then  act as a nation to uproot this hatred. Punishment for "our" perpetrators, when found and tried, must be ma'asar olam - life sentences - and sealing of homes. Homes here can't be destroyed because almost all live in multi-family apartments. But families can be locked out permanently

Those who know me know I am a pragmatist, a realist, and center just slightly right on security issues. They also know that I am center, slightly left, when it comes to questions of civil rights.

But this is not an issue of left or right, religious or secular. 

This is a matter of the soul of our country.  

Nothing less. 

Praying this is a quiet Shabbat, one of comfort for the families of Eyyal, Gilaad and Naftali and for the family of Muhammad.

Praying there is quiet in Sderot and the communities in range of the Hamas missiles.

Praying we witness Peace, Shalom, soon and in our day.

העשה שלום במרומיו הוא יעשה שלום עלינו ועל כל עם ישראל

May the One who makes Peace in the Heavens make Peace for all Israel...

ועל כל יושבי תבל

And for all humanity.



Gary Fiske said...

Just as I'm appalled by the Israeli government destroying home of suspects in the West Bank, so I can't fathom why Rabbi Sykes would call for sealing the homes of the suspects in this case. The perpetrators should be identified, captured, tried, and if found guilty punished. Not their families, unless they are found to be legally complicit.

While less horrific than home destruction, home sealing still is not what a civilized nation does.

Unknown said...

Gary Fiske - Thank you for your comment. My point is that until such time as the government ceases using this particular punishment for Palestinian terrorists, then we are obliged to use apply the same consequences to our own terrorists.

A slap on the wrist is not sufficient to send the clear message that we will not tolerate homegrown, Jewish terrorists. Serious consequences are demanded here. Several national religious rabbinic leaders have called for the punishment of Din Mavet - the death penalty - in a symbolic way. That is, we don't (nor do I believe we should) have a death penalty but the symbolic declaration of applying it to the murderers of Muhammed Abu Khdeir would be sufficient.

I am certainly open to other suggestions for serious consequences for Jewish terrorists. Unequal application of consequences for arab terrorists and Jewish terrorists will not help the situation. It will only make it worse.

Thank you again for your thoughtful reply. We need more civil discourse on these kinds of subjects and I appreciate your comments.