Raphael Benchabbat


I almost lost a brother. While my brother and some of his friends were on their way home after their first week in the army, a Palestinian terrorist decided to ram his car into them and murder as many people as possible. Thankfully the terrorist was neutralized and my brother came away unscathed. The brother of this terrorist had attempted to carry out a similar act of terror a week prior. I cannot help but see a certain contrast between these two Palestinians and my brother and I.

I had served as a lone soldier and now my brother, as of last week, is a lone soldier. We both left the comfort of our lives in America and the certainties of college to serve a greater cause. We both did it for a love of our people and our homeland. We did it because we wanted to defend. We both did it so Jews would not have to run. We did it for love, love of our people, our land, and our fellow brother.

Conversely, these two Palestinian brothers chose to commit acts of terror. They chose to commit acts of hate against people they have never met. It makes one question how another human being can harbor so much hate against another person they’ve never met. How can someone hate someone else who has never transgressed against him or her? Furthermore, how can one brother influence another to kill innocent people? Brothers are supposed be responsible for one another. To love each other and to look out for each other. One of my fondest memories with my four brothers is playing football in two feet of snow, tackling each other, and laughing. These two terrorists share the fond memory of hurling rocks at civilians and soldiers; similar acts have caused numerous civilian and military casualties.

I am proud of my brother and his friends for serving our country. It is unfortunate that one of his first experiences donning his uniform will be associated with someone trying to murder him. I can only hope that he and his friends understand the implications of this event, and use it to reaffirm their understanding that we must defend our brothers, biological or not. We must cherish them and love them unequivocally, while defending our beliefs and people from constant baseless hatred.

That is what separates us from them. While we promote love and emphasize the importance of life, they embrace hate and pursue death. While they openly endorse murder, we hospitalize the failed terrorists and nurse them back to life. I do not absolve these terrorists of their heinous crimes but I do partly hold their leaders responsible, the leaders who urge children as young as eleven to carry out such attacks. There can be no peace until the leaders who actively inject hate into the impressionable youths are indicted and made accountable for their crimes, crimes that bring death to both sides.

Although Thanksgiving was yesterday, I could not be more grateful to hear my brother is safe and sound. Furthermore, I am grateful that he and his friends are carrying on the baton and continuing to serve our country in the face of terror. The more they attempt to terrorize us, the stronger and more unified we will become.

About the Author
Raphael Benchabbat served in the IDF as a lone soldier. After his service he returned to New York to pursue a degree in Finance.