Nobody protests for the victims
This week a social media post showing the two remaining Dee sisters trying to come to terms with the loss of their mother and siblings cut deep into my heart. Unfortunately, their story is already on the back burner of any significant media coverage because it’s a repetitive story of terrorism so regretfully common to Israel, that the world and Israelis alike have become somewhat synthesized. We got “used to it.” We hear about them, we get disgusted, we send prayers, we comment, then we move on, until the next killing.
Orly Goldschmidt, spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in the UK, published a scathing article in The Guardian (February 24, 2023) on the unprecedented number of Palestinian terror attacks against Israel in 2022. Besides missile attacks, attacks against civilians reached a disturbing high. According to the Wm. Robert Johnston archives, in 2022, 32 Israelis were killed and 129 injured. These occurred during car rammings, shootings, stabbings, and bombings. I doubt that anyone remembers the incidents or the victims’ names. At the end of January 2023, 8 Israelis had already been killed and 6 injured. More to come.
As the toll on families mounts, we only seem to remember those who touched us the most because they were the most vulnerable. My catalyst was the young 16-year-old Canadian Jewish student killed in November 2022, in a bus stop bombing in Jerusalem. I happened to be in Israel that week. To bring home the realization of what has now been considered “norm”, our party was leaving Haifa for Jerusalem that morning. We were informed about the attack by the hotel staff. The concern of our driver was that hopefully, by the time we arrived in Jerusalem they would have opened the roads. In another world, folk would have probably discouraged us from going, but we were told that it was nowhere near our destination and security forces would have everything under control. And so we went, never giving a thought to the dead and the maimed. It wasn’t until months later when I was writing another blog that I got to know the young teen and those injured. Suddenly, they had faces, families, friends, and lives. Aryeh Shechopek was the young victim. I wept and became angry, but a little and too late.
The Dee family’s tragedy angered me on many levels. But putting into perspective the enormity of the interior terror problem in Israel takes a lot of effort, energy, and emotion. Since the beginning of 2023, three separate families lost siblings in identical terror attacks. The emotional enormity that a family didn’t only have to cope with one loss of a child, father, or husband: but with multiple losses at once should anger every decent citizen in the civilized world. The grief is unfathomable. Unlike soldiers killed in action or in the line of duty, these innocent civilians were killed just because they were Jews. The civilian victim roll call is getting longer with little angst from either side of the aisle. Immediate rhetoric and military response are expected and given, but the public is relatively silent. No protests.
In four months, three families have lost half of their members. In February, Asher Menachem & Yaakov Yisroel Paley eight and six respectively, were on a bus stop in Jerusalem with their father when a Palestinian rammed his car into the crowded bus stop, killing six-year-old Yaakov on the spot, and Asher dying later of his wounds. The third victim of this heinous terror attack was Alter Shlomo Lederman, a newlywed 20-year-old on his way to his parents’ home for Shabbat with his wife.
Barely two weeks had passed since the murders of Asher, Yaakov, and Alter, when another family lost siblings at the hands of another Palestinian terrorist. This time in Huwara, an Arab town that Jews living on the other side normally drive through. Brothers Hillel and Yagel Yaniv were in their car stuck in a traffic jam, when shot point blank. Both died on the way to the hospital. They were Yeshiva students 22 and 19 respectively. Their shortcoming was their Jewishness.
Several weeks later, two German tourists were attacked in Nablus after being mistaken for Israelis. They were driving a rental out of Tel Aviv. Gerald Hetzel 26, a law student from South Germany, and his friend were driving through Nablus as tourists. Both said that they had done this often. But this time they were surrounded by a vicious mob with stones and eventually knives. Although they tried to explain in English that they were not Israelis, the mob got bigger and slashed the tires while Palestinian police looked on. They managed to escape with the assistance of a Palestinian in the crowd and treated at an IDF checkpoint. Gerald had been to Israel before and travelled through many Arab towns with Palestinian “friends”. Never did he encounter such imbedded hatred. He later stated that he never understood the difficulties Israel had with terrorism until the incident. An understatement.
On April 7, 2023, Rina, Maia, and Lucy Dee, three British Israeli women were driving through the Hamra Junction in the Jordan Valley on their way to their home in Efrat, when they were shot. Rina, 15, and Maia 20, died on site, while Lucy their mother, died a few days later. The Dee family immigrated from the UK, where Leo, the father was a rabbi to two Orthodox congregations in Northern London. On the same day as the shooting, Alessandro Parini, an Italian tourist was killed in a presumed terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, when a vehicle driven by a Palestinian, rammed into the crowd on the promenade. Seven others were injured, among them a 74-year-old man, a 70-year-old-woman, and a 17-year-old girl. They were all tourists. An eyewitness said that when the light changed at the intersection a motorcycle sped at high speed, followed soon after by a “…white car speeding on the promenade throwing people into the air.” (Times of Israel, April 8, 2023)
As I was ready to wrap up this blog, on April 18, 2023, two ultra-Orthodox men aged 48 and 50, were shot in East Jerusalem in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood as they drove home from morning prayers. They both survived with minor injuries. The perpetrator was a Palestinian minor. A child. A child who from infancy was probably taught to hate Jews. Arab children are raised with hatred toward Israel and Jews through textbooks (often provided by the UN Relief Works Agency, UNRWA), social media with the assistance of anti-Israel organizations like BDS (Boycott Divest Sanction), and Palestinian Authority policies that embolden young people to commit violence against Israelis and Jews. They are raising the next generation of terrorists. In the meantime, they keep an entire Arab population in squalor and deprivation.
The outside world’s response to the murders of Rina, Maia, and Lucy Dee was shameful. 972Magazine, a pro-Palestinian publication headlined the killings: A British-Israeli tragedy born out of the occupation.” The long article by Ben Reiff (April 11, 2023) was a tongue-in-cheek futile attempt at denouncing the killings while at the same time excusing them through a long narrative of Palestinian suffrage. The author described Efrat, the town the Dee family lives in, as part of the “colonial expansion” of Palestinian occupied territory squeezing Palestinians into “ever shrinking” “Bantustans”, referring to South African apartheid segregation of blacks by the white government. He accused Israel of stealing privately owned Palestinian land to preserve Jewish supremacy. The rant goes on with distorted historical fact that plays into the hands of an eager far left anti-Israel narrative and terrorists. Conveniently not mentioned were Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran. Terror organizations and a terror state bent on obliterating Israel and anything Jewish. Also not mentioned were the over two million Arabs who live in Israel relatively content, peaceful, and contributing to the economy and the state. I know because I frequented their businesses and restaurants. Can’t get lower than justifying murder for an alleged greater good.
Gilead Ini writer for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), takes The New York Times to task in an April 14, 2023, article on CAMERA, NY Times Downplays Dee Family Murders, Continuing a Pattern. The following are some of his observations and assessments.
After the deadly attack on the Dee family, subsequent funerals and grief, NYT’s headline reflected a cold indifference to the reality of terrorism in Israel as “Tensions subside in South Lebanon but rise again in West Bank & Israel”. The NYT considers the cold bloodied murder of three women, and later on the same day a presumed terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, as “tensions”. The newspaper never mentioned Rina and Maia by name until a day later, and totally omitted reporting on the death of the mother. Instead, it featured a “human interest” story on Palestinian food. Featuring Palestinian families, their favorite dishes, and their lives. Here are typical NYT headlines when Israelis are killed by terrorists:
- The Yaniv brothers: West Bank Erupts in Violence after Officials Pledge to Work for Calm.
- The Paley brothers: At least 2 Dead as Driver rams Bus Stop in East Jerusalem
- The massacre at the Synagogue in Jerusalem: At least 7 killed in attack in Jewish Area of East Jerusalem
When Palestinians are killed, the NYT finds someone to blame:
- Israeli Raid on West Bank City kills Nine Palestinians, Officials say
- Israeli Raid Kills at least 5 Palestinians in West Bank
- 6 Palestinians Killed in Israeli Raid in West Bank
The systematic minimization of Palestinian terrorism in Israel gives justification and credence to terrorism and terror groups by virtue of their “suffering”. When the NYT calls the Abu Nidal Organization a Palestinian Liberation Group, or describes a killer plainly seen on video brandishing a balisong knife as having a “scout” knife, and raising doubts as having a knife at all, it purposely undermines the gravity of terrorism against Israel, and reduces the credibility of their reporting into an insidious joke.
When a group of Israeli Jewish teens attacked a young Palestinian Jamal Julani, the NYT gave prominence for several days to the story. Thank God, Jamal recovered and is well. But when later, three Palestinian teens massacred and slashed to death the Fogel family: a 3-month-old baby, a 4-year-old, an 11-year-old, and both parents, Gilean says that “by comparison the story was buried” into insignificance.
Who speaks for the dead? Thousands were in the streets protesting politics, but no one was in the streets protesting terrorism. As a matter of fact, on the day of Lucy Dee’s funeral, the political protests went ahead despite some asking for respect. All the victims of terrorism that I mentioned are etched on this paper for posterity, but their names remain in my heart and mind forever. To put it in perspective: as of January 2023, 19 Israelis lost their lives to terrorism. They were killed because they were Jews or presumed to be Jews. Driving a car, waiting at a bus stop, or walking on a promenade should not be hazardous to your health in your own country.
I have never met or known any of the victims I have written about. But who will speak for them? Who will keep their memories alive? Who is going to stand up, walk the streets, carry the flag, make speeches, and fight on their behalf? The silence is unbearable.
Goldschmidt, O. February 24, 2023. The Guardian. Israelis were hit by 5,000 Palestinian terror attacks in 2022. The state has to defend itself | Israel | The Guardian
Johnston, R. January 29, 2023 Summary of terrorist attacks in Israel (johnstonsarchive.net)
Ort, Y. February 12, 2023. Chabadorg. Israel Mourns Children, Newlywed Student Murdered in Jerusalem Terror Attack – Yaakov Israel Paley, 6; Asher Menachem Paley, 8; Alter Shlomo Laderman, 20, laid to rest – Chabad.org
Berkowitcz, A. E. March 24, 2023. Israel 365News. German tourist attacked in Nablus: “I saw the hatred in their eyes” – Israel365 News
Fabian, E. April 8, 2023. Times of Israel. Italian tourist dead, 7 others hurt in car-ramming on Tel Aviv promenade | The Times of Israel
Jerusalem Post Staff. April 19, 2023. The Jerusalem Post. Jerusalem shooting perpetrator arrested in overnight raid in Nablus – Israel News – The Jerusalem Post (jpost.com)
Reiff. B. April 11, 2023. +972Magazine. A British-Israeli tragedy, born out of the occupation (972mag.com)
Ini, G. April 14, 2023. Camera. NY Times Downplays Dee Family Murders, Continuing a Pattern | CAMERA