Even God told the angels not to sing

A 49 year old woman tried to do a terrible thing today in Jerusalem.

She was a mother who lost her son when he was shot by police during a “misunderstanding” at a checkpoint last year, and they say her mind loosened and unraveled, and today she tried to stab police officers in front of Damascus Gate.

She was shot and killed before she could attack them.

I wasn’t there and I don’t know if the police could have arrested her without killing her.

All I know is they didn’t.

And they are safe.

And she is dead.

I wish she could have been taken alive and arrested and interrogated, but again: I wasn’t there and I don’t know what happened in that split second between life and death.

The police did what they felt they had to to protect themselves.

And I AM glad she didn’t harm anyone, but I am distraught about something that’s happening, and I want to talk about it:

A woman died today. A woman who was sick with grief and out of her mind over her son who shouldn’t have died. A woman who had every intent to harm our police or our soldiers.

And I understand our anger and our relief that she didn’t kill anyone.

But I am seeing a growing sentiment in israel and the Jewish world that goes beyond these feelings, and ventures into deep and dangerous waters, and it’s this:

There are people actually celebrating her death.

The worst was when one person — a volunteer Israeli medic of all people — shared a pic of the body bag containing her corpse and said “glad to take out the trash.”

This woman wanted to do a terrible thing and she was stopped and thank God she didn’t carry out her grisly plans.

But she is still a person – a person capable of terrible things, yes, but a person.

Our enemies have dehumanized us throughout the centuries – they call us vermin, they call us filth.

We don’t do that

We don’t celebrate death.

We celebrate life.

Because we are a people who believe in the sanctity of life – so much so that we even diminish our joy when we remember the ten plagues during Passover by pouring out wine.

We don’t dehumanize and call people “animals” or “garbage.”

Even terrorists.

No matter how disgusted or how angry we are.

We mourn our dead together, and celebrate our continued survival as a just and moral people, together.

When the Egyptians were drowning in the sea, God told the angels not to sing songs of praise.

I know we are only human – but so was the woman who died today.

And so tonight I say a prayer of gratitude that we are still here and strong — and I say a prayer for the family she left behind and for the son we killed during that “misunderstanding”, and hope that one day things will be different for all of us.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Times of Israel's New Media editor, lives in Israel with her two kids in a village next to rolling fields. Sarah likes taking pictures, climbing roofs, and talking to strangers. She is the author of the book Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered. Sarah is a work in progress.