Jewish lives (don’t) matter

Scrolling down my Facebook page these last few days has been very difficult for me as I am sure it has been for many of you.  Article after article, I see Dafna Meir’s beautiful, smiling face in one moment, and in another, I see her draped body being mourned by her family and friends at her funeral service.

This Israeli woman is the latest terror fatality in the Jewish State.  I want to look away.  But I cannot help but stare.  I want to cry out and scream, and I want those who cause such unbearable pain to suffer even more than their victims for what they do.

Dafna, 38, was a wife and a mother of six children, the youngest only four. Two were foster children because Dafna grew up in foster homes until she was 13, when she was finally adopted herself.

This amazing woman learned firsthand that every child deserved an environment of unconditional familial love, and would only marry her husband on one condition – “It doesn’t matter how many children we have, we will also adopt children.”  Dafna devoted her life not just to her family but she was a medical center nurse specializing in fertility and related problems.

The oldest child, 17-year-old Renana, fought the terrorist as well after which her mother, protecting her family as best as she could, succumbed to her wounds and bled to death.  “I am sorry that in your most difficult moments I was not able to help you,”  Renana tearfully said at her mother’s service.  How this 17-year-old, still really a child, and her family, ever get over this real life nightmare if at all, I don’t know.

The world community has suffered a terrible loss.  Lord knows we need more Dafna Meirs, not less.

*            *            *

We are witness my friends, all of us, to a world gone mad.  And I do not just refer to the horrific Islamic terrorism engulfing the planet and the anemic response to it by a world more attuned to Muslim sensitivities than the lives of innocents.  That is disgusting enough.

I refer to how from century throughout century, from time immemorial, the blood of Jews has been spilled with impunity, and we see this hatred go on and on and on.  See, Jewish lives don’t matter.  They never have.  For some of us – the Jewish people, the world had gone mad long ago.

Sadly, I have seen caveats, even from Israelis distressingly enough, that although tragic, the murder took place “in the territories.”  (Outside Israel’s pre-1967 Six-Day War borders.)  How compassionate.

Perusing social media, I have seen and heard nothing, absolutely nothing, from many of my fellow Jews about the murders of Israelis.  This is nothing new.  I see this “nothing” when a Jew is slaughtered even in Israel proper and not, heaven forbid, in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank.  Some of you may not know about Israeli terror victims, but you should.  A number of you also simply don’t care.

Even with some Jews, sadly enough, Jewish lives don’t matter.  To those of you who do know about the terror and ignore it, as hard as this may sound, your silence is acquiescence.

There are those of our people, their empathetic values embedded deep within because of their Jewish DNA, who care very much for every maligned community.  Except their own.  Perhaps it is for political reasons, but does it matter?

Israel’s fair-weathered friends, bending over backward to not even try to be balanced in their Mideast policy approach, add insult to injury.

A day after Dafna Meir’s murder and only hours after a pregnant Israeli was stabbed, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, speaking at a security conference in Tel Aviv, harshly criticized Israel not just over settlements, but because of, in his view, an Israeli versus Palestinian double standard when it comes to vigilantism.  Which is absolutely false, of course.

Shapiro did compassionately mention Dafna Meir and terrorist attacks against Israelis, but in the end after spending much time defending the Iran nuclear agreement, he made his sympathetic words appear as a “but still.”  The current US government would not miss the opportunity to criticize and condemn Israel, even when a mother of six from the Jewish State was being buried by her grieving husband and young children, and a grieving nation.

To make Muslims and the UN and the EU happy, there is now always a “but still.”  Talk about being tone deaf.  Considering what had just happened in Israel, and what was taking place only a short distance away from where he was speaking, the Ambassador could not have tempered his dishonest criticisms even a little?  Shapiro’s comments were an obscenity.  And a license to kill.  He is an embarrassment and a disgrace on more than one level.

To those who “but still” even if they are Jewish, Jewish lives don’t matter.  Certainly not enough.

Friends, we as Jews care for the downtrodden, the environment and for animals and all life, as we should.  It is correct and commendable, and a big part of us.  But charity begins at home, and our home is not just where we live but who we are.

I am an American and I deeply love my country, the greatest in the world.  But as has been instilled within me for as long as I can remember, there is another home in my heart.  It is Israel, and with it, it is the Jewish people.

We have learned the hard way, more times than can be counted, we cannot solely depend on others for our safety.  We must also depend on each other.  And whether some Jews get it or not, Israel’s existence and strength is not what hampers us, but what keeps another Holocaust from happening.  Israel is on the front line of terror and of preventing the worst.

To those of you who feel for all but your own, if God forbid we are again faced with an unchecked genocide on a massive scale and not a ‘one Jew here and another Jew there’ genocide, an indifference pedigree will not save you.  It didn’t protect those like you before and it won’t again.

So save the whales if you wish.  They are important and I support their protection too.  Care for refugees and advocate for those victimized by abusers of power.  We need to speak for those who cannot.  But it would sure be nice if you came home every once in a while.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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