Words fail to truly comprehend the savagery and blind hatred harbored by the Palestinian Arab terrorists that entered Itamar. The victims were Ruth and Rabbi Udi Fogel and three of their young children, Yoav, Elad and Hadas (only four months old). What was the terrorist thinking as he slit the throat of a baby? What were the feelings of the 12-year-old daughter who arrived home around midnight to find her family slaughtered?
Now is the time for moral clarity. One need not be a supporter of settlements like Itamar to condemn these savage acts of terrorism without attempts at justification or equivocation. We must stand up and expose those that denigrate the murdered to justify the murderer. Now is the time to acknowledge that there is an international climate of primal hatred directed at Jewish settlers as such, and to recognize this massacre as a clear symptom of the need to end it. We must expose the “root cause of terror”: a “culture of incitement pervading Palestinian Arab institutions that glorifies violence and martyrdom – and demonizes Israelis and Jews.” This incitement is nothing more than modern day socially acceptable anti-Semitism.
Yet, throughout this difficult week, much media attention has been given to the statement of the surviving 12-year-old daughter Tamar, who was quoted as saying, “we must remain strong, I will be like a mother to my two siblings.” In many ways, Tamar was exhibiting the national resiliency of all Israeli’s who since the establishment of the state of Israel have had to endure terrible wars, periods of intense terrorism, periods of massive missile attacks on major civilian centers, and isolated incomprehensible acts of wanton murder, such as the case of the Fogel family. Tens of millions of dollars have been provided by the Federations of North America to create programs of trauma resiliency and community preparedness in Israel facilitating the inner strength and stamina that we have witnessed this past week. Now is time to ask; what is the true cost that we as Jews, and we as Israeli’s are paying for our federation funded resiliency? For the unwavering ability to get up the next day and go to work, as if nothing will stop us from getting on with our lives.
I would suggest that this resiliency has fostered and created a pathological response of normalcy that projects the following message to our political leaders: despite the heavy price we pay for the continuing “peace process”, continue the training and arming of Palestinian Arabs, continue supporting the delusional concept of “land for peace”, ignore the daily condemnation of Israel while those who murder ruthlessly are forgiven and forgotten. We the citizens of Israel are strong, we have been trained to be resilient, we can take anything they throw at us.
By being strong and resilient, by not demanding real change, we are unintentionally perpetuating the current situation and political stalemate letting our political leadership off the hook. Our lack of emotional crisis, our lack of weakness, enables political leaders to go about their business as usual. Those responsible for thought control in the printed and broadcasted media can continue unabated to report about and support peace initiatives even though they have been proven repeatedly as baseless and built on false assumptions. We the public do not demand of them to change or really be accountable for promoting peace initiatives that have enabled thousands of Jews and citizens of Israel to be murdered and killed. We are strong, we will meet the challenges, we have undergone resiliency training. We have been taught to suffer in silence and condone the continuing peace charade. We have been empowered.
This kind of self-defeating resiliency distorts thinking at all levels of diplomacy and society. Oslo, Camp David, and the ensuing peace programs that have emerged out of these seemingly worthless agreements have always ended up with increased terror and more Jews as victims. Yet, because of our “pathological” coping abilities, our “pathological” national resiliency, our political leaders are exempt from feeling any urgency to ask themselves, is this a normal situation, can the reality for the nation of Israel be different? Would any other people of other Western nations allow their politicians to exhibit apathy to the suffering of its people for so long without taking strategic action to stop once and for all the wanton murdering of Jews like the Fogel family?
On Shabbat Parashat Tzav, no less than 54 mortars were fired on the communities surrounding the Gaza strip. What we will hear in the coming days is the need to better fortify buildings, increase funding to resiliency centers, and augment efforts in local schools to help pupils deal with their anxieties so they can concentrate on their studies. We will be shown media reports of how successful the residents of the area are responding to these missile attacks, we will continue to celebrate Purim, “no events will be cancelled, we will not let Hamas dictate when we celebrate, and so forth”.
In response to the unprecedented mortars attack, we will not hear reports questioning how we got into this situation, or exposing the strategic blunder undertaken by Israel by evacuating its control of the Gaza strip. No need to be honest, no need to take effective action to rectify this situation, no need to admit that the peace policies promoted by the left and the Obama administration are worthless and cause more of Israel’s citizens to be sitting ducks. We can handle it, we are strong and resilient, we will continue to get up in the morning and continue on with our lives, as if nothing really has happened. Our toughness, our resiliency is being cynically used to perpetuate the big lie, that the Palestinian Arabs are interested in making peace and recognize Israel as the home of the Jewish nation.