I am ashamed.
Early last Friday morning, the Dawabsheh family's home in Duma, near the West Bank city of Nablus, was set ablaze by Jewish extremists. The Parents, Saa'd and Reham, along with their 4 year old son, Ahmad, are hospitalized with serious injuries at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel. It was too late for their 18 months old infant, Ali, who died on the scene. Those who perpetrated this heinous and unforgivable sheer act of terror are not even worthy of being called human beings.
Yes, I am ashamed. And I am not alone.
The vast majority of Israeli society stood shoulder to shoulder this past weekend, wholeheartedly condemning the barbaric violence, from right to left, from political leadership to the common people. I cannot tell you how many of my own acquaintances in Israel called me and asked me to share the disgust they feel about this, with the outside world. "Tell them we are not like that", they said, "the World needs to know that these criminals do not represent us".
Israel's President, Reuven Rivlin, harshly condemned the attack on his Facebook page -- in Hebrew and Arabic -- and said:
More than I am ashamed, I feel pain. Pain for the murder of a little baby. Pain that some of my people chose the path of terror and lost their humanity. Their way is not my way. Their way is not our way.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to phone Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas and do the same, telling him, "We must fight together against terror, regardless of which side it comes from."
On Saturday night, thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Haifa, Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, on anti-violence demonstrations, calling for justice. Speaking at the Tel Aviv rally, in Rabin Square, was also Nasser Dawabsheh, the brother of the infant's father, who rose to the stage and gave an emotional speech. The hearts went out to him.
In spite of the terrible tragedy, I am proud of my people. The Nation of Israel stepped forward, and stood as one, uttering a resounding NO to such behavior. This is not our way.
One might look at the above as an opportunity to "re-ignite" the peace process and to try, once more, to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians. To unite in pain, against more pain.
However, I myself remain doubtful. Such events do a lot to dispirit me about the possibility of peace between our neighbors and us. It is on such occasions that the moral gap between the two societies is most evident, and the level of political maturity (or lack of) is painfully visible.
On December 2014, 11-year-old Ayala Shapira was sitting by her father as they were driving the family car on their way home. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at them by Palestinian terrorists, seriously injuring Ayala (it fell right unto her lap), who is still struggling with tremendous difficulties and will unfortunately continue to struggle for the rest of her life. At least she made it alive.
On March 11, 2011, 2 young Palestinian murderers penetrated the home of the Fogel family in the Israeli town of Itamar. They massacred all 5 family members in their beds: the father Ehud Fogel, the mother Ruth Fogel, and three of their six children -- Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, the youngest, a three-month-old infant (who according to some sources was decapitated).
On those 2 occasions, and on many others, NO major protests were seen on the streets of Ramallah, Hebron or Jenin in the West Bank, crying out against violence and for justice. No Palestinian leader came to visit and condole the bereaved families of the victims. And could you even imagine -- in your remotest of dreams -- a possibility of an Israeli standing in the Mughrabi Square in Ramallah, crying for their murdered loved ones?! And just in case you were wondering, the name "Mughrabi" belongs to a Palestinian terrorist, Dalal Mughrabi, a leader of a group of Palestinian murderers who butchered 37 Israelis on a bus in 1978, 12 of whom children. This is who Palestinians chose to dedicate the square after.
Today I am reminded by the famous words of Israel's late Prime Minister, Golda Meir, who said: "We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."
May we love all children, whomever they are.