Sherri Mandell

How dare you!

The barbarism of the Jewish terrorists has damaged the soul of a people that does not seek vengeance

l am outraged, as are all Israelis, as are all civilized people at the violence you Jewish terrorists perpetrated against an Arab boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir — there is no justification for your barbaric act. We are also outraged at the damage you have done to the Jewish soul. In 2001, my 13 year old son Koby and his friend Yosef Ish Ran were brutally murdered by Arab terrorists and I always speak about the way that the Jewish people seek justice, but leave vengeance to G-d. That what separates us from our enemies is our love of life, our appreciation of the good. We Jews are not a people who seek vengeance. My mother always told me: the best revenge is a good life and I have always followed her teaching, never allowing the murder of my son to fill me or my family or children with a rage for vengeance.

When I heard that the three yeshiva boys, Naftali, Eyal, and Gil-ad, were murdered I admit I felt both rage and anger. Those are legitimate feelings when young boys in your community are kidnapped and murdered. But the Jewish way is always to choose life, not death. To seek justice, not vengeance. Justice is not burning another innocent human being alive. Justice is allowing the government to find the murderers and punish them. I am concerned about how the world views us in Israel. But I am more concerned about what we say and think about ourselves. What can we believe about our own society now that you have weakened our integrity? We are guilty of committing an abominable depraved act.

I pray that that this is an isolated incident. I pray that the perpetrators are punished because we cannot allow ourselves to be weakened by the vengeance morality that we see in the extremists who surround our nation. We have read too many times of Arab mothers of murderers who say that they are happy that their son has killed. We must never allow ourselves to think like that, to speak like that, or to act like that. We know that Rachel Franekel called the family of Abu Khdeir as did Netanyahu, who offered his condolences and promised to find the killers. What matters now is that we tell our children that Jewish nationalist extremism may be the worst thing that could happen to our nation.

About the Author
Sherri Mandell is co-director of the Koby Mandell Foundation which runs programs for bereaved families in Israel. She is the author of the book "The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration." Her book, "The Blessing of a Broken Heart," won a National Jewish Book Award in 2004. She can be reached at
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