Israel and America – Terrorism in the Same Boat

Fresh off of yesterday’s beheading of yet another American by ISIS comes today’s massacre in Israel.

First let me offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. I am still in state of shock over what happened there. This butchery took place in a Shul in Har Nof, an Orthodox section of Jerusalem. 4 religious Jews were attacked by 2 Palestinian terrorists and were killed while they were in the middle of prayer. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has already claimed credit for it.

One of them, Rabbi Moshe Twersky – grandson of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik – was a Rosh Yeshiva at Rabbi Moshe Meiselman’s Yeshiva, Toras Moshe. He was 60 years old.

A fifth victim died as a result of wounds received after arriving at the scene. He was an Israeli police officer who responded to the attack. The 2 terrorists were killed in a shootout.

I have relatives that live right in that area. Rav Moshe Sternbuch lives there.  It could have been any one of them.

I don’t know how the families of these four Jews can deal with what – so suddenly and so unexpectedly – just happened to them. One moment their son/husband/father/grandfather is alive in Shul where he Davens every day at that time. And the next thing you know he is covered in blood lying dead on the floor.

I can’t begin to imagine the pain these families must be going through. These are normal – everyday Jews going about their daily affairs. The thought of a terrorist attack was probably the furthest thing from their minds. They rarely if ever think about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. For them it is a remote story happening somewhere on the West Bank – a place where they never go. Har Nof is a peaceful place nowhere near the West Bank. It is not the most likely target for a terrorist. I don’t think Har Nof has ever experienced anything like this before.

It has been quite awhile since there has been anything like this in Israel. Terrorism has been curbed by the extraordinary measures taken by the Israeli government. Llike building a protective wall of separation between the West Bank and Israel proper. But nothing is foolproof. Aas we learned today. The hard way, Rachmana Litzlan – may the Merciful One protect us.

I have no clue how Israel can protect itself from these kinds of terrorists. Perhaps police or security guards should be placed at the entrances of every single Shul in Israel when people are there. I don’t know. What I do know is that there has to be something that can be done to stop it. Because the people of Israel have the same right to live in peace and security as we in America do.

There are some misguided individuals that may say that this is a direct result of renewed settlement activity in East Jerusalem. This has in fact been condemned even by Israel’s closest friend and ally, the United States.

As much as I am opposed to settlement building right now, (for reasons I’m not going to get into here) they are not the reason any of this happened. Anyone who has been paying even the slightest bit of attention would see the proverbial ‘Elephant in the Room’. Which is radical Fundamentalist Islam. That – in my view is the basis for all Arab hatred against the Jewish people.

As I have said many times, I am in favor of making peace with the Arabs and am willing to pay a price for it. My reasons are simple. I want to see an end to the hostilities. I want to see an end to terrorisism like that which happened today. I want to see an end to rockets being fired. I do not want to see any more Jews being tortured and butchered; kidnapped or maimed.

I want there to be peace between two peoples so that each can get on with their lives without fear. Without one people subjugating another.  Without one people needing to resort to harsh measures against the other for security reasons. I want that to end and am willing to pay the price of even an Oslo Accord type solution if that would guarantee a peace between 2 peoples sharing a border. A peace similar to what the United  States has with Canada.

But as I have also said, that is currently a pipe dream so remote that it is pure folly to even suggest it.

And yet the nations of the world – including the United States (under the leadership of the  Obama administration) still think it’s still possible even in today’s terrorist climate. If only Israel would stop building settlements and ‘take chances’ for peace – they say.

This ‘song and dance’ may have made sense to the world pre 9/11.  But after 9/11 however, it should have been obvious to everyone what the real impediment to peace is. It is not settlements. It is the mindset of the devout Fundamentalist Muslim in the Arab world.

The events of 9/11 should have made clear then that settlements is not the real issue. Islamic fundamentalism is. For a while I thought the American people would finally get it… and understand what Israel’s needs are all about and why they need to take the security measures that end up being so harsh on the Palestinian people.

Unfortunately that did not prove to be the case. Not long after 9/11 some people started saying that if not for Israel none of this would have happened. That the US was only attacked because of its support for the Jewish State. While most Americans understand the truth, there were plenty of  people that somehow ignored it and simply painted Israel as occupying tyrants.

And now we have a new reason to understand what Israel is constantly going through:  ISIS. Religious motivation is very powerful. People sacrifice their lives for it. That is how suicide bombers are recruited. They are dying – and killing -for the sake of sanctifying God in the holy cause of righting the world for God via establishing a worldwide caliphate that will govern by Sharia (Islamic) law.

Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Jihadists are no different. While their tactics have not been quite as brutal as ISIS (yet) that doesn’t mean they don’t have the same goals. This is why they will never recognize the state of Israel and will continue to fight it until they win back all of ‘Palestine’.

Fundementalist Muslim clerics preach it from their mosques all over the world. Increasingly so. They always have been. Israel must perish. Its existence is a theological impediment to Islam.

Does any sane person really believe that if Israel only stops building settlements that these people will say, ‘OK, let’s make peace now and allow a Jewish state to exist in our midst’?! Certainly not! Their fundamentalist goals of destroying Israel will not change. Clerics will still be preaching it to the ever growing population of devout Muslims.

All of these very clear facts seem lost on those who say that Israel should take chances for peace. Even more inexplicable is that some of the nations of the world normally friendly to Israel have unilaterally recognized a Palestinian State!

ISIS has shown the world what radical Fundamentalist Islam is capable of – and Israel keeps paying the price in blood. ISIS has promised more of the same until their ultimate goal is reached. I can’t understand why the rest of the world doesn’t look at what ISIS does and see what Israel is up against.

Come on world. Wake up!

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.
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