What Kind of Man Stabs a 70 Year Old Woman?

I imagine her standing outside the bus station.

A woman of seventy is not exactly elderly, but she is decades past being young, with her softened body, relaxed posture, and slower pace. Not fragile, but certainly vulnerable.

Yesterday a twenty-six year old Palestinian man scanned the crowd at the bus station, and set his eyes on this woman. “Her”, he thought to himself. “I will sink my knife into her.”

And he did.

What kind of man is able to do such a thing?

Such a man was not born that way. He was made that way.

First of all, he has lived his life marinated in a toxic brew of Jew hatred and victimization. If he could have seen his prey– and that’s what she was– as a human being like himself, that might have been enough to put the brakes on his blood lust.  But the steady dehumanization and  demonization of Jews in Palestinian mosques, television, and social media enable some to believe that a knife in the back is exactly what Jews deserve. Seeing yourself as a victim loosens moral constraints.

If this terrorist had a grandmother she is probably close in age to the woman he attacked. But you need empathy to even think of it that way, to imagine how it would feel if someone did this to your grandmother. This man had no empathy.

This man, and the other men, women, and even children who are wielding knives all over Jerusalem and beyond, have been fed a steady diet of conspiracy theories and lies. Judaism’s three thousand year old historic connection to the land of Israel is denied. In this narrative there was never a Jewish people, Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land, and never any Jewish temples on the Temple Mount. According to this view, summarized in this Times of Israel article, “the Palestinians see all of Israel – and not just the West Bank and Gaza – as analogous to Algeria: an Arab country out of which the foreign colonialists were ultimately expelled.”

The lie that is driving the current bloodletting is this one: that Israel is going to change the delicate status quo on the Temple Mount and the Al-Aksa Mosque. When Mahmoud Abbas says: “The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours… and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem, ” and , “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing,” it isn’t hard to see where this will lead.

Last night, in a televised address, Abbas spoke about the Palestinian teen who stabbed an Israeli teen earlier this week. Apparently, it is not enough for Abbas to claim that the Palestinian is innocent. He also claimed that youth was murdered in cold blood by the Israelis. The Palestinian teen is, in fact, alive and recovering in an Israeli hospital, with photos to prove it. This incitement by Abbas is so egregious that even the New York Times is reporting on it.

All of these lies add fuel to the fire of what is preached in some mosques. Perhaps the man who stabbed the seventy year old woman heard about this cleric in Gaza who, with knife raised, called on Palestinians to “stab Jews, cut them to pieces.”

The man who stabbed a seventy year old woman comes from a society where people who murder Jews are honored by the elites. The Palestinian Bar Association has posthumously awarded an honorary law degree to Muhannad Halabi (19), who killed two Israelis, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennett, and injured Bennett’s wife, Adele, and their 2-year-old son in a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem on about two weeks ago. Halabi was shot and killed by Israeli security forces following the attack. The Bar Association considers Halabi a martyr.

The man who stabbed a seventy year old woman has plenty of company among those who are carrying out attacks now, and those who have done so in the past. It is exactly a year ago that I wrote about baby Chaya Zissel Braun, who was killed when a Palestinian drove a car headlong into a crowd waiting for the light rail, catapulting the baby’s stroller into the sky.

It is almost a year since two Palestinian terrorists stabbed four Jerusalem rabbis to death, along with the Druze policeman who came to their aid. Details may change, the psychotic level of Jew hatred does not.

Complicating the issue is the fact that many of the recent attackers are residents of East Jerusalem and can move about the city freely. They live on the “safe” side of the separation barrier.

Some people say that expansion of West Bank settlements and resulting Palestinian frustration are what is driving this violence. I wish that was the case. The settlement issue can be resolved through negotiation. What is happening now is not about borders. This is something else altogether.

There are Palestinians who would never in a million years harm a Jew. There are Palestinians who risk their own lives to save Jews, as Fayez Abu Hamdiyeh did in Hebron last month. Brave Arab-Israeli journalists, such as Khaled Abu Toameh, have been warning of the dangers of runaway Jew hatred for years. While some Arab-Israelis initiate a “Day of Rage” in solidarity with Palestinians, others, such as Nazareth’s mayor, Ali Salem, are desperately trying to deescalate the situation. Israeli-Arab journalist Lucy Aharish’s courageous crie de couer against Palestinian lies and incitement was broadcast on live television.

But they alone are not enough to change the poisonous culture that produces an endless supply of men who will stab a seventy year old woman. Until the Palestinian’s Western apologists hold Palestinians to the same moral standards to which they hold themselves, nothing will change.


About the Author
Sally Abrams co-directs the Speakers Bureau of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. She has presented the program “Israel and the Middle East: the Challenge of Peace” at hundreds of churches, schools and civic groups throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. A resident of suburban Minneapolis, Sally speaks fluent Hebrew, is wild about the recipes of Yotam Ottolenghi, the music of Idan Raichel, and is always planning her next trip to Israel. Visit: sallygabrams.com
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