Some in the media want to claim that the murders of innocent Jewish families is the beginning of a new intifada. The murder of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin, beautiful parents of four young children who were in the back seat of the car when their parents were shot and killed. Saturday night, a young family, the Benitas, on their way to the Kotel, on Shabbat, a father murdered while walking with his wife and a baby. Another rabbi, Nehemia Levie, father of seven children.
But didn’t the media say that it was the start of a new intifada last year in 2014 when a young convert, Karen Mosquera from South America, was killed by a Palestinian at a bus stop? When cars were running us down in Jerusalem and a three-month-old baby, Chaya Zissel, was murdered last fall around this time of year. And Dahlia Lemkus was stabbed and run over by a terrorist in Gush Etzion near the bus stop where Gilad , Naftali and Eyal were kidnapped and then murdered in June? And didn’t the media repeat that it was the start of a new intifada when Malachi Rosenfeld was shot in a drive-by shooting on his way home from a basketball game this summer. And Alexander Levlovitz was killed during Rosh Hashanah when his car was pelted with rocks?
Terror continues. But that doesn’t surprise us. It wearies us. It’s easy to grow tired, it’s easy to despair, to want to give up. But terror will not weaken us. It will not destroy us. Because we know the nature of our enemy.
On Saturday, as part of the Sukkot Shabbat service, we read Kohellet, Ecclesiastes, which claims that there is nothing new under the sun. Unfortunately, the nefarious ways of our enemy is not a new story.
The media is about what is new. They seek the latest trend, fad, happening. They can’t make sense of something with a long history.
But we Jews can. We know what our tradition tells us: that as soon as the Jewish people left Egypt, the enemy Amalek attacked those who were weak, the stragglers. Our enemy still targets the weak: young families and children. This summer, Danny Gonen, a young man, was driving and was waved down by a Palestinian who seemed to need help. Danny was murdered as a result of his kindness. Hamas welcomed the killing calling it excellent and heroic.
As King Solomon says in Ecclisiastes, what is crooked cannot be straightened.
So we have to continue to fight an enemy that refuses compromise, refuses to recognize our rights to our holy land, an enemy that seeks and celebrates our deaths.
But we have not changed either. On a day when the army is out in full force, when Nehemia Levie and Aharon Benita are buried, there is also a prayer service at the site of the killings in the Old City. We call to God to help us, to give us strength and to listen to our prayers, to redeem us in the merit of our courageous ancestors.
For we must remember that we are a people with tremendous courage. We will not succumb to terror. While this is an old story of our enemies attacking our vulnerable people and celebrating their deaths, we Jews embrace another old story: a story of courage, survival and redemption.