Yesterday was a very difficult day. I spent the afternoon with Noam Arnon, visiting the families of the three young men murdered by Arab terrorists from Hebron. From the Yifrach family in Elad, to the Sha'ar family in Talmon, and finally to Nof Ayalon, to the Frankel family.
These are amazing people. A week or so ago I wrote about the mothers. But it's not just them. The fathers too. These are people made of a special and unique material. They thanked people for visiting them, seeming not to understand why so many hundreds and thousands of people, including simple folk as well as MKs and even the Prime Minister himself. Despite their grief they could still smile and converse normally.
Keep in mind that these people have undergone almost a month of pure hell. After they heard the recording of Gil-Ad Sha'ar's call to the police, they must have known, deep down inside, that the chances that their kids were still alive were close to zero. Sounds of shooting, and the young men's screams of pain and final breaths, sighing their lives away, were clearly audible. Perhaps there was a hope that not all of them were killed. But the way they conducted themselves, before the bodies were found, during the funeral, and thru the end of the week-long mourning period, is not only worthy of esteem; it should be a lesson of humility, faith and patriotism.
With that, it wasn't easy to see them. Because, without any doubt, their pain and suffering must be excruciating.
Of course, that was only one element of the day's difficulties.
The murder of the Arab youth last week was abhorrent.
Even following the arrests yesterday, there still seemed to be some questions as to the methods of interrogation, etc. That evaporated this morning when the media reported that several of the young Jewish killers had reconstructed the kidnapping and murder.
The reports tell of six Jewish men, between the ages of 16 to 22. It is very very difficult to stomach.
For sure, there is no justification for this act of seeming 'revenge.' Civilians cannot take it upon themselves to act as public representatives, seeking out people and killing them. Reactions to the murders of Gil-Ad, Nafali and Eyal were, and still are, the responsibility of the Israeli government. (In fact, not only has the government ignored the triple killing; they are allowing Hamas to continue shelling southern Israel.)
It might be argued that Israel's lack of response to the abduction/murder is the reason for the killing. That the vacuum created by our inaction could be a rationalization for the act of vengeance. Except that murder is murder is murder.
Rabbi Eliyakim Levanon yesterday called upon the Israeli courts to punish the Jewish killers with the ultimate sentence: death. Israel has yet to put to death any Arab terrorists, including those who have committed the most horrid of crimes. That being the case, it would seem a bit inflated to demand that these people be executed for their crime. However, it is quite likely that, just as others have been sentenced to life imprisonment, so too it should be in this case. For it must be quite clear to others, that such offenses are inexcusable, and will not be 'overlooked.' People who randomly choose a 'victim' and then kill them have no place in our society. And everyone has to know that.
At the same time, it is not acceptable to identify these young Jewish criminals as terrorists, or to equate them with the Hamas terrorists who murdered the three Jewish youth. Hamas is an organized terror organization whose aim is the destruction of the State of Israel. This is the goal of all terror organizations that kill Israelis. The young men who killed the Arab youth have a warped sense of right and wrong, and have clearly missed the track. They must be punished. But they cannot be related to as terrorists.
One last point. For years people, primarily on the Israeli left, but also around the world, have tried to brand Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as the root of all evil and the roots of all violence. The people who committed this evil crime are not from Yitzhar. They are not 'hill-top youth,' nor are they connected to 'price-tag' occurrences. They are from 'normative cities' in Israel. Unfortunately, in any and every society there are malevolent people, whose place, in actuality, is not within that society, rather behind bars. But just as now, after this murder, Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh youth cannot all be stereotyped as 'wicked' because of the actions of others, so too, people and especially youth in Judea and Samaria, cannot be seen through 'a depraved looking-glass' because of their residency in Yehuda and Shomron.
The fact that Jewish youth committed murder is revolting. The way they killed is doubly revolting. The thought of this ever happening again is repulsive. We must ensure that all our citizens, young and old alike, realize that our security is not in the hands of private citizens, rather it is the responsibility of the State of Israel, its government and security forces. Period.
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