They were laid to rest in the cemetery of Modiin. It is said that a hundred thousand people came to bid them good bye. Most of them had never even met either of the three or their families, but they came nonetheless, because for 18 days, we were all one family. And when Rachel Frankel said “Kadish” for her son, not an eye remained dry. Only a few days earlier, she had bought Naftali a new pair of glasses, never losing hope. “Who knows what shape his glasses will be in when they find him”, she had said, “and he’ll need to see”. Now she was saying good bye forever and all that was left was the pair of glasses he had never worn. That afternoon, we were all one family.
But by evening, we were at each other’s throats again. A few hundred angry youths collected in Zion Square, in the center of Jerusalem, calling for revenge and attacking Arab passerby.
In the morning, we woke up to the terrible news that an Arab boy had been found murdered in the forest, outside of Jerusalem. Immediately, conclusions were jumped to. He was obviously killed by angry Right-wingers. Some were even a little too gleeful, as if they wanted it to be Jews who had done the terrible deed so that they could prove that we don’t have the moral high ground, that we are just as bad as the murderous bastards who kidnapped and shot Gil-ad, Naftali and Eyal who were buried just yesterday.
So the day went by, while some still called for revenge, others were full of righteous fury against the Right, and Arabs from the northern neighborhoods rioted, hurling stones, firebombs and home-made pipe bombs-
Wait, let me just take a break here for a moment. Home-made pipe bombs?
Do any of you make pipe bombs at home?
Do any of my readers have a private stash of explosives for a rainy day?
Let’s see a show of hands. Anyone?
Didn’t think so.
So, while the manly men of Shuaffat, Beit-Hanina and Issawiya were showing off their collections of explosives and demolishing the light-rail stations that the Israeli oppressor had built, evilly, in their neighborhoods, three forest fires raged on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It took 60 firefighting teams to put the fires out, and the streets still smelled of smoke this morning. And it wasn’t even such a hot day. I wonder who lit those fires? Let me just say that if you claim to have rights to a land and claim to love said land, you don’t set fire to it.
Link– Arab mob in northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuaffat beat a man who they suspected of being an undercover police officer, Channel 2 News.
Link– footage from a police helicopter over Shuaffat, official police Facebook page.
Link– footage from the ground in Shuaffat along the light railway, 0404 news agency.
Link– footage from the ground in Shuaffat of the Arab riot, Palmedia.
And all day, the Israeli media was so busy beating upon Jewish chests for the heinous murder of the Arab boy from Shuaffat that they forgot to tell us his name. If this was about giving equal treatment to Jews and Arabs alike, they would have given us his name. But this wasn’t, and our Leftist media is just as racist as it claims the Right is. This was about grabbing an opportunity to bring the whole “Price Tag” and Settler blaming issue back to the front pages. Throughout Wednesday, most of the media reports were just about “the murder of the Arab boy from Shuaffat”.
Meanwhile, police attempted to piece together what had happened to the 17 year old Arab boy from Shuaffat. It turns out that his younger brother (9) was the victim of an attempted kidnapping just a few days ago. His father had told police that the perpetrators had been Arabs posing as Jews, but he refused to press charges.
The police have not concluded their investigation at this time.
Palestinian President Abbas was also full of righteous condemnation and demanded that the Jews who had murdered the boy be brought to justice. He hasn’t issued a similar statement about Marwan Qawasme and Amar Abu-Aysha who kidnapped and executed Gil-ad, Naftali and Eyal in the back of their car. He’ll probably be paying their salaries soon enough. But Abbas is right. The murderers of the boy from Shuaffat must be brought to justice.
The violent youths who attacked innocent Arab passerby on Tuesday night and Wednesday must be brought to justice.
And the Arab rioters who hurled rocks and firebombs and pipebombs at police in our capital city yesterday must be brought to justice.
We mustn’t ignore crimes committed by Arabs just because they were committed within Arab neighborhoods or because the victims were Arabs. Saying that the boy was the victim of an “internal dispute” or “honor killing” and then ignoring it is racist. Holding Jewish rioters and Arab rioters up to a different standard is racist. If we are indignant about Jewish youths calling for revenge and beating people in the street, but are indifferent to Arabs attacking police with explosives and demolishing public property- that is racist. It is saying that we expect Arabs to behave barbarically, and it’s racist.
While my Facebook feed was full of people calling for revenge (one group has already gathered over 30 thousand followers), the overwhelming majority of my feed was full of people calling for restraint. Revenge is not a Jewish sentiment, they said. The Frankel family, who just buried their 16 year-old son, Naftali, issued a statement that “… if in fact an Arab youth was murdered for nationalistic reasons, this is appalling and outrageous. There is no difference between [Jewish and Arab] blood. Murder is murder, regardless of nationality and age. There is no justification and no forgiveness or atonement for any murder” [my translation from Hebrew].
In another local Israeli drama, the Orthodox youth-movement, “Bnei Akiva” split in two yesterday. Rabbi Noam Perl, the secretary general of the movement, posted a pathos-filled demand for the IDF to become an “army of revenge”.
Many of the branches of the movement, mainly in Jerusalem and the Be’er Sheva area made a brave decision and declared their independence from the movement, while expressing their outrage at Perl’s words. They have banded together in a new movement called “Bnei Hillel”. And just like that, an 85 year-old youth movement split in two.
Since then, Rabbi Perl has erased his statement, and we probably haven’t heard the end of this story. An old Jewish saying says that “life and death is in the hands of the tongue”. They knew what they were saying.
And all the while, in the south, the rockets keep on falling.
Read more about it in the Times of Israel- Link.
By the way, his name was Muhammad Abu-Khdeir.
Update, July 4th: Since writing this post, the residents of Shuaffat have completely destroyed the light-rail in their neighborhood. They have brought in heavy equipment and ripped out the rails, and filled them in with cement, effectively cutting off the light-rail to the Jewish neighborhoods which are further north along the line (Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Ze’ev) for good. It took almost 10 years to construct the light rail. The city is considering rebuilding the line outside of Shuaffat, but this will take at least 8-12 months.
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