Esor Ben-Sorek

A Stolen Life in the North

A news item on 6 January struck at me like a knife in my heart. A tiny young 4 year old Arab boy whose family lives in a northern town, Bir al Maksum, was shot and killed by stray gunfire from an Arab gang against another gang, while he was playing in a northern playground in front of his mother.

A stolen life in the north of our country snatched away the life of a beautiful happy and smiling young child as shown in his photo.

I write as a grandfather and a great-grandfather of an infant child and my tears well up and flow down my cheeks as I look at the photo of Ammar over and over again. And the knife in my heart cries with me.

Ammar Hujayrut had been a happy little boy and a treasure to his parents who cherished him. I don’t know if he had other siblings but the loss of one is impossible to overcome, in particular as the murder occurred in front of his mother. It was not simply a death. It was a cruel wanton murder by cruel gangsters even though the gunfire was a stray, unintended bullet which stole Ammar’s life.

The happy smiling photo of Ammar touched me as a grandfather who would have wanted to know him, to hug him and to share candy and sweets with him, as I did with my own grandchildren when they, like Ammar, were 4 years old.

In an attempt to do something to ease the grief and to let Ammar’s parents know that others, a strange Jew, feel their pain and want to do something to alleviate it I made an effort to contact President Herzog.

I wished that a fund could be created in Ammar’s memory to protect all children from the death by dreaded bullets.

And in that regard I have sent a special letter to our esteemed President Yitzhak Herzog with some money enclosed, requesting him to give it to Ammar’s parents in the name of an Israeli Jew, a rabbi, to let them know that I share their deep grief and to extend my heartfelt condolences.

Someone told me that money should not have been included in my letter because postal thieves (and there are too many) might open the letter and take out the money. Very sadly, our country has no lack of murderers and thieves.

Theodor Herzl did not predict a Jewish nation of Jewish criminals. But we have them…. too many of them.

President Herzog extended condolences on behalf of the nation to the grieving family and Police Chief Kobi Shabtai together with Minister of Defense Benny Gantz made the trip north to pay personal condolences to the Hujayrat mourning family and promised that every effort would be made to find and to arrest the killers of Ammar.

No matter if one is a Jew, a Christian or an Arab Muslim… our blood is the same red color and the loss of a child touches each one of us. And we are grateful to all those who console us in our unending grief.

It is a tragic death that no parent should ever have to know. It is a tragic death that should never have happened. It is a tragic death which prompted me to cry out “Baruch Dayan ha Emet”… blessed be the Judge of Truth.

A young life has been stolen. What would Ammar have become if he had lived longer years into adulthood? We can only dream. But the dream does not assuage my pain.

A beautiful young four year old child has been taken away from his family. Not taken, but stolen by force of wicked gunfire, killed by members of his own people and religion, as he played on the swings in the playground while his now grieving mother sat and watched.

May God comfort Ammar’s parents’ deep grief. May his beautiful memory always be a source of happiness to them.

Regrettably, our Jewish police forces have been unable to stop the murders of more than 125 Arab citizens throughout our country in the past recent months. It is possible that they fear to use force in attempting to arrest the killers. But much more needs to be done to protect innocent Arab citizens in particular who are suffering from treacherous gangs.

Our esteemed President again offered his personal condolences to the mourning parents. Our Prime Minister and members of his coalition are condemning the murder of Ammar Hujayrut.

But condolences, although welcome, are insufficient. A fund should be created to help parents of murdered children in order to help them with burial costs in Arab cemeteries. A Keren Ammar.

I implore all my readers to share what they can give and find a way through President Herzog’s office to be able to contribute something in memory of a young little boy whose life was stolen yesterday in the north of Israel.

May the memory of Ammar Hujayrut be a blessing and a comfort to his grieving family. Insh’ Allah. Amen.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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