Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

The Ambulance that didn’t stop

Sometimes the sheer wave of extreme Islamic terror that is sweeping over the world including Israel is just overwhelming. In the midst of the horror and darkness there are some standout moments that are just so shocking they almost beggar belief.

One such incident happened last week when Rabbi Yaakov Litman (44) and his son Netanel (18) were brutally murdered whilst on their way to celebrate Shabbat with the family of their soon to be in-laws. It wasn’t just the brazen murder of innocents (or the now predictable silence of the world when we Jews are killed in our homeland) that was just as predictably followed by Hamas press releases praising “the magnificent operation” followed by the now ritual distribution of sweets to celebrate murder. What followed is truly indicative of the poisonous hatred that has seeped through every level of Palestinian society.

As the father and son, lay gravely wounded a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance happened on the scene, saw that the victims were “only” Jews and carried on their way thereby by making themselves accessories to murder. This is so shocking it almost defies comprehension.

I served as a combat medic in the IDF and we swore an oath, similar to the Hippocratic Oath, that we would help everyone requiring our services regardless of religion, gender or race, regardless if they were friend or foe. I myself have tended to wounded Palestinians during my IDF service, including those wounded in traffic accidents. There is the famous story of the IDF medic who treated the Jordanian sniper after the bloody battle of Ammunition Hill in 1967, despite the knowledge that that very same Jordanian soldier undoubtedly killed some of that IDF medic’s comrades. Indeed, one doesn’t need to look so far back in history to realise that this is the ethos of Israeli society. One of my friends serves as an IDF medic on the border with Syria and the IDF treat all that come to the border seeking medical help. Every Israeli hospital treats all without distinction of their religious, ethnic, or political background. Indeed, half of the children from developing countries who receive free life-saving cardiac surgery at the “Save a Child’s Heart” (SACH) organisation based in the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon are from Arab countries and the PA. SACH has a weekly clinic for Palestinian children. The list goes on.

Something is seriously broken in a society where political leaders, religious leaders, and even mothers praise their children for being murderers. Where children are incited 24/7 in school, by the media, in mosques to go out and murder. Where schools and public squares are named after murders. Where murderers are extolled as the epitome of heroism (and rewarded with American supplied tax-payers dollars) by the PA. Now to add a new low, there is a deep flaw in a society where the supposed healers become accessories to murder.

The world community, who funds and ignores this poisoning of an entire society, needs to fix its moral compass and help the Palestinians press the moral “reset” button. Palestinians need to understand that one can’t murder oneself towards a state. The PA is responsible for the current violence and to overlook this is to ignore the situation. The world is not doing the PA a favour by not holding them to account. Indeed this is reinforcing the current deeply flawed mindset. Former Israeli Ambassador observed in a speech I heard last week: “Being Palestinian means never having to say that you’re sorry.” Unless the PA educate for peace there will never be peace

Meanwhile, Sarah, the daughter of Rabbi Yaakov invited the entire State of Israel to her wedding, which will take place this week. Light will overcome darkness. In the words of the Chanukah song “We came to cast out the darkness.”

About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He is the author (and illustrator) of the internationally acclaimed Zionism curriculum; “For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Education” (fifth edition, 2017, Koren) and is at present working on his next book, a history of the Jewish people. Tuvia has a doctorate in Israel education. His dissertation title is: “Through the Soldiers’ Eyes: Exploring the Influence of a Birthright Mifgash on the Israeli Soldier Participants.”
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