Rena Cohen
An Israel-born, US-raised, Israel returnee

The Silence of the Lambs

I heard about the terrorist murder of three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, Z”L, late last night U.S. time. My husband’s cry as he read the news alerted me that something which should never, never happen at all had just happened — again.

To me, the connections between the attack on innocent people waiting for a tram in Jerusalem and the murders and attempted murders that have occurred in Canada were palpably obvious. So obvious, it hurt. I assumed they would be clear to others.  However, my rapid check of the headlines in the U.S. press first thing this morning cured me of my apparent naivete.  And fast.  The terror attack in Israel either wasn’t mentioned at all or was tucked away in obscurity.

Say what you will, I can assure you without a doubt that if a Jew in Israel acted in that insane and bloodthirsty fashion and rammed a car into a crowd of East Jerusalem pedestrians — and this should never, ever happen!! — that despicable act would be an instant and absolute hit in the world press. It would be all over the place. The commentators and the talking heads would have a virtual field day.  So would the folks in the PLO and Hamas who were busy extolling Chaya Zissel’s murder today in speeches and posters in the West Bank and Gaza.

But …. the victims of yesterday’s terror attack in Jerusalem were Israeli Jews, and the soul who was ripped from this earth by that hateful and cowardly act was one tiny Israeli Jewish infant’s, a Jewish infant who (thank you, oh US State Department) was also “reportedly an American citizen”.  So … what was the general reaction of the Western press? …… SIlence……. Of the majority of Western governments? ….. Silence, or pronouncements along the lines of the U.S. State Department, which seemed much more interested in stressing the need for “restraint” than in honestly recognizing, even for just a moment, just how putrid and truly inhuman any ideology is that can justify, promote, or applaud the murder of an infant, much less in truly acknowledging the terrible and tragic loss of one little Jewish baby.

So, plenty of silence out there to go around.  And yes, in that silence, I for one hear a distant bell tolling a warning to oblivious civilizations delicately balanced above an abyss of violence.

Here’s the bottom line.  In the face of everything that has gone on and is going on, all of this silence is hypocritical, insular and morally bankrupt. Hypocrisy, insularity, and obsessively self-interested moral bankruptcy just cannot and should not be allowed to pass these days.  Not as reportage. Not as political thought.  Not as either foreign or domestic policy.  And not just because they are repugnant — which they most certainly are — but because ultimately they are downright dangerous.

A little Jewish baby died yesterday for the sins of someone’s inflamed politico-religious ambitions.  Let no one deny her humanity.  Let no one ignore her loss. I hope that the essence of her little innocent being is safe and at peace, and that the Almighty will comfort her family among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

About the Author
Born in Kibbutz Nachshon Israel, raised in the U.S. and lived there on both coasts with lots of visits (even a few residential stays) in Israel, and intending to return yet again. Entrepreneurial generalist -- worked for others, built my own medical reporting business (with NO seed money), and since have had an extended career in the U.S. biotech industry in early startups through late clinical stage firms, holding positions in everything from investor relations and corporate communications to business development to Director, Facilities (my current post). Longtime editor, particularly on foreign policy topics. Co-founder, with my sister, Jade Bar-Shalom, Z"L, of the Books for Israel Project during the Second Intifada, which connected synagogues, churches and community centers in the U.S. with low-income Israeli Jewish, Arab, and Druze schools to help them build much-needed English language libraries for the kids. Author of the book, LambBunny and His Friends (on Amazon). On and off painter. Writer of op-eds. Blogger for The Times of Israel.