If I forget you, O Jerusalem . . . I would sleep better.
My mind races instead. Before going to bed I read of the surgical strike that killed the infamous terrorist Samir Kuntar.
He was part of the infamous Israeli government catch and release program. Caught for murdering Jews. Released by politicians who negotiate with terrorists who kill Jews.
I had not heard of the 1979 terrorist attack that involved Kuntar. That attack was before my “Israel interest” began. My mind races to India where I sat with my heavy laptop in 1996, listening to the internet dial-up, crossing my fingers that I would get a connection. I connect and see the news. The bus on Jaffa road had been bombed. It is the first time as an adult I had started paying attention to Israel. The beginning of reading about terror. The beginning of my racing mind.
I read the details of the 1979 attack and cringe. The attack involved children. I remember sitting on the beach in Nahariya and wondering how Israel protects its coastline. That day in ’79 it did not. The coastline was infiltrated. A father and his 4 year-old daughter were dragged to the beach and killed. (Never mind that an Israeli police officer was shot and killed first.) The mom and her other daughter, who was 2, were able to hide in a crawl space. The 2 year-old whimpered. The mom firmly covered her child’s mouth, desperate to stifle the sound. She accidentally stifled her child’s breath instead. She too was dead, like her sister on the beach. But it does not matter to the politicians who negotiate with terrorists. They will say it matters. But it does not.
The 4 year-old, who Kuntar murdered, and her 2 year-old sister make me think of the Fogel children. And baby Chaya Zissel. And Adele and Yonotan. And so many other children. All murdered by terrorists. All children who were living under the rule of a government who negotiates with terrorists who kill Jews.
The same thing happened with Abdel Aziz Salha, the Butcher of Ramallah, as with Kuntar. The butcher was caught and released.
I ate Shabbat dinner with the man who captured the Butcher of Ramallah. He is the toughest man I have ever met. He risked his life to capture the terrorist who had participated in the murderer and disembowelment of his IDF comrades. The capture was all for naught.
I met his wife too. She is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. As a child, she survived a terrorist attack. It happened on the playground at her school. Boys playing basketball were shot and killed. She fell on the ground, played dead, and survived.
Perhaps the terrorists who tried to kill her were part of the 1,026 released prisoners, along with the Butcher of Ramallah, in 2011. Two hundred and eighty of the released prisoners were serving life sentences. They all walked free, just as Kuntar did. One was even serving 64 life sentences. One used a bus to run over and kill eight people. One was the accomplice to the Sbarro pizza shop bombing. She maintains that she was happy that many children were killed in the attack. One helped plan the Dolphinarium disco bombing in Tel Aviv that killed 21 Israelis, most of them ages 14 to 18.
Murdered children. Their murderers released. Released by politicians who have children of their own. Politicians who don’t care if other Jewish children are murdered, I guess, as long as it is not their own. Politicians who with bravado claim, “Never again!” while they watch their own people murdered again and again. And continue to negotiate with the murderers again and again.