Over the years, as I read newspapers (both online and print), I have often been impressed when someone from another country writes a letter to the editor or an Op-Ed piece to an Israeli paper.
In that spirit, I decided that it was time to take Israel’s case straight to the people of Sweden. In light of horrific comments made by her Foreign Minister about Israel and the way it treats terrorists, I submitted an article to one of Sweden’s main online newspapers called Dagen.se. Below is the contents of that letter. (The original is in English and was translated for me by Shaul Lindblom). The format that this appears in the paper is their “Debate” section which specifically calls for replies and comments. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and what form of response will be seen.
To the Swedish People, I bring you greetings from Israel!
Over the past few weeks, your Foreign Minister, Wallstrom has made some remarks that are vicious attacks on our country and its citizens. I am certain that she does not represent what the majority of Swedish citizens think, but to be safe, I wish to reply publicly to one of her charges. FM Wallstrom claims that Israel is involved in a campaign of “extra-judicial” killing of Palestinians, who attack Israeli citizens. In her opinion, our military or our citizens are killing Palestinians in an unlawful manner.
Allow me to bring a little clarity to the situation. Over the past few months, there have been hundreds of attacks against citizens of Israel by Palestinians. They come in the form of knife attacks, vehicular attacks, rocks thrown at moving vehicles and other methods. Sadly, we have had many citizens murdered as a result of these attacks including a mother of six who was murdered in front of her children in her home only a few days ago. In addition, a man and his son were murdered in front of their family as well as a mother and father shot dead in a car in front of their children. A gardener in Hebron was knifed to death and an elderly man was run over by a car.
In every one of these cases, the motivation of these murderers was the hope that the murder of a Jew would bring about a state for the Palestinian people. Instead, what has happened, as a result of stepped up vigilance, those who attempt to stab or run over our people are shot either by police or citizens. These are measures of self-defense. If the time were taken to assess the situation, take them to a court or call a lawyer for a legal decision, more and more Jews would have their blood spilled. These are not actions of extra-judicial justice. This IS justice and it IS protecting the citizens of the State of Israel.
Good people of Sweden, please do not be fooled by the misguided and harmful words that your FM is saying to us! I ask you: if a person armed with a knife was rushing toward YOU to murder you, what would you have your security personnel do? If the person were shot dead prior to being able to kill you, would that be called “extra-judicial” killing or would you sigh a sigh of relief and be happy at what the police did? Please do not allow the blood of the Jewish people be considered cheap in the eyes of the Swedish people.
I publicly protest the words of Wallstrom and hope that you will join me in doing this as well.
Rabbi Zev M Shandalov
Maale Adumim, Israel