BLOG 312 July 25, 2016
The continuing hostilities in the Middle East are wracking up grief and suffering at an incalculable rate. Unbearable pain stretches from Israel to Saudi Arabia and back. Even people walking down the street or sleeping in their beds are not exempt. Take a look.
Clandestine strikes by Palestinians inside Israel include axe, knife, and vehicle assaults. Sometimes called the Third Intifada, these are individual assaults rather than an army marching. A recent picture in The International Jerusalem Post depicted Rena Ariel hovering over the shroud covered body of her daughter Hallel Yaffa Ariel.
The thirteen-year- old girl was sleeping in her bed when seventeen-year-old Muhammad Tarayrah crept into their house in Hebron and stabbed the sleeping girl to death. Hallel was a beautiful black haired, brown eyed girl loved by all who knew her. At the funeral Rena Ariel looked to the sky and cried out to God, “How do you eulogize a 13 ½-year-old girl? Tell me what words to use to eulogize a flower, a pure soul, who is courageous and beautiful. Your only sin was that you were almost perfect.”
During the funeral Rena Ariel cried out to the murderer’s mother, “I am standing here with a heart filled with pain and I am turning to you, the Arab mother, the Muslim who sent your son out to stab. I raised my daughter with love, but you and the Arab Muslim educators, you taught him to hate.”
The next day Rabbi Michael “Miki” Mark was killed in a terrorist drive-by shooting near Hebron. As the shots were fired, his wife and several of his children stood by him. Rabbi Mark tried to shield his wife and children. President of Israel Reuven Rivlin said at the funeral, “The light of the way that Miki paved will not be extinguished. May his memory be blessed.”
Nothing can justify the loss of an innocent child and a devoted scholar, both bent on filling the world with love and making life better for everyone. Their loss is of no small value in calculating the cost of ongoing war in the Middle East.
In the Jewish world, life is precious. Jews constantly salute L‘chaim, life, with a toast. Whether Jew, Muslim, Christian or whatever, all life is priceless. Tragically, war and murder reduces human existence to a mount of dirt in a windswept field.
During the past month, week after week, America has had people killed in the streets. In France from Paris to Nice, citizens lived with senseless killings. This weekend, a killer shot children and adults outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Munich. The police killings and shooting by police continue in the United States. Every 30 minutes to an hour, television gives us another programed version of murder, mayhem, and slaughter. We casually go out for another bowl of popcorn without even wondering if we might be desensitized by the endless carnage.
Well, are we?