Thoughts on The Murder of the Four Rabbis

(1) rabbi kiledThe last two days I posted about the actions by supporters of Israel who hope to push America into war. I told how they plan to pay money to candidates on the condition they promise to be more aggressive against Iran. I’ve written how these money people have a long history of seeking to bring us to war with that nation.

On the first day I posted on this issue there was a horrific terrorist early morning attack in Jerusalem by two Palestinians who somehow believe murdering peaceful men at prayer will accomplish whatever goal they seek. I was tempted to call them brainwashed or deranged but neither definition fit. I hope at some point I can find out what motivated this evil act.

Four rabbis and an Israeli police officer were murdered. The rabbis were all men of peace and good will struck down in the midst of their prayers.  The police officer was responding to the desperation of others.  A truly horrific event.

Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, from our area was called studious, caring, quiet and brilliant; Rabbi Kaiman Ze’ev Levine, 55, from Kansas City spent much of his time promoting tolerance; Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, born in Rhode Island and raised in Oak Park, Michigan, the father of five young children, was said to be kind and looking for ways to help people, and Rabbi Abraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, also the father of five, grew up in Liverpool and was deeply religious and not political.

This void act that accomplished nothing is as evil as any act committed by ISIS. How incomprehensible striking down people engaged in prayer. “Up, sword,” cried Hamlet seeing the king he was bent to murder in prayer believing that to murder him at such a time would send his soul to heaven. So what little comfort we can achieve from this dastardly act is these rabbis died doing what was most important to them, praying to God. What reward lies after a good life certainly awaits them.

Yet, nothing can justify their killings. They must be universally condemned by all right thinking people. Unfortunately that was not the case. Some celebrated them. Some justified them.  Some pointed to the long-standing and recent grievances of the Palestinian people. But still, nothing can justify the murder of men of religion in prayer.

When the faces of the killers were shown on a Jewish site  suggesting they were the faces of evil one commentator asked:”why show the faces of the reshoim?”  Reshoim I learned means the utterly wicked. It is a true description of these men but what do we know about them?

Two cousins Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamal who did the murders came from the East Palestinian neighborhood Jabel Mukaber. Ghassan was a 27-year-old father of two children employed in a clothing store; Oday was a 21-year-old interior decorator. Here’s the frightening thing, neither man had a criminal record and neither man was known to be affiliated with any militant group.

These murders were not committed in a vacuum. Other acts of violence by Palestinians who seem to have lived in peace in Israel for decades such as driving cars into Israeli civilians and stabbing soldiers have happened over the past week or so. These acts unjustifiable as they may be and truly scary to anyone living in Palestine have produced the likewise tragic response by the Israeli government of demolishing the homes of individuals involved, a practice stopped almost a decade ago but reinstated under Netanyahu after the murder of the three Israeli teenagers just prior to and perhaps the fuse that set off the recent Gaza war.

Such actions as destroying homes punish the innocent especially since those who committed the crime are dead or in prison. 50 people were evicted from the home of the man who ran a car into civilians and their home destroyed. 50 more people added to the roles of those with serious grievances against the government of Israel. More will be evicted when the Jamal homes are demolished.

It has become an endless cycle of violence committed by each group upon the other. Given the unpredictability of the next terrorist attack, since neither Ghassan or Oday could have been predicted to do such an act, the horror of the situation is enhanced. It seems there is no other place in the world where such is happening: back and forth violence between two Peoples living with and among each other with such great hatred for the other. The violence that it has spawned is truly frightening. That it continues to this day shows that the past approaches have failed and new one must be tried or else the madness will continue.

Yeat’s young Irish airman noted “those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.” Perhaps that is the solution needed for both Israeli and Palestinian.  Stop the hate. Stop also loving one’s own tribe. Unless that is done the only solution is a separation which is not a solution but a defeat.

Of all the people in the world the Israelis should be able to rethink the matter and resolve it. Let not the death of these four good rabbis be for nothing. Let it show the way to a better future. There must be a way the Palestinians can resume living in peace with the Israelis, after all, they have been doing it for decades.

Like Hamlet held the sword, Netanyahu should hold the revenge.  It hasn’t worked before; it won’t work now. Things have only deteriorated. Israel’s threat is not from the outside but from within its borders by its own citizens. It is time it concentrate there to see what can be done.

Bombing Iran will not solve that dilemma. It would be better use of the big money seeking that goal to spend their vast sums on Israel to help it become a land where both people feel they have a future. Remember, the fighting stopped in Northern Ireland because of the rise of the Celtic Tiger. If people have a future and believe their children have one, their grievances over past wrongs slowly fade away. Only by offering a decent future for all will peace come to that ancient land.





5 thoughts on “Thoughts on The Murder of the Four Rabbis

  1. All the killing is bad. It profits no one. This murder doesn’t advance a cause anymore than the 29 Arabs killed in the Mosque by Goldstein accomplished anything. Drop the swords. Pray for peace.

    1. NC:

      I wouldn’t drop the sword because there are lots of bad people out there who would pick it up and assault you with it. I would keep it in its sheath.

  2. Simply Eloquent. The best piece you have ever written Matt. It is an homage, a eulogy, and elegiac in the graceful way the Irish seem to suffer forth the poetry of the anguished soul .

Comments are closed.