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Speechless in the Face of Violence

October 8, 2015

Dear Friend of Israel,

They were all just driving home – Eitam and Naama Henkin from a class reunion, Alexander Levlovitz from a Rosh Hashanah meal, Malachi Rosenfeld from a basketball game with friends, and Danny Gonen from a weekend hike. They were normal Israelis going about their day-to-day life, none of them aware that they would be among the latest victims in a long string of senseless killings at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.

Not one of these Israelis made it home that day. Four of Eitam and Naama’s six children, who were sitting in the back seat of their family car, eventually did – but only after watching their parents brutally gunned down before their very eyes. They returned to a home, and a reality, that was irrevocably changed.

This past weekend two more Israelis – 41-year-old Nehemia Lavi and 22-year-old Aharon Bennett – were murdered by Palestinian terrorists, stabbed to death as they were walking in Jerusalem’s Old City. Aharon’s wife, Adele, still had a knife lodged in her neck as she stumbled away from the scene of the attack, seeking help for her injured two-year-old son.

Perhaps most chilling about the attack is that Arab onlookers, instead of answering Adele’s cries for help, shot cellphone footage of the bleeding woman while they laughed, spat at her, and chanted, “You should die, too.” Thank God Adele eventually made it to some Israeli authorities and is now in a hospital recovering from her physical wounds. It will take longer, I can only imagine, to heal from interacting with people who behaved so inhumanely. That is a reality we may spend the rest of our own lives trying to fathom.

These are just a few of the most recent attacks by Palestinian terrorists. In the past few months Israelis have been stabbed, shot, and stoned simply for being Israeli, and Jewish, and a symbol of the “enemy” that Palestinians have been trained to hate. The violence has become so prevalent of late that the Jerusalem Post created a live blog about the wave of terror.

Make no mistake that this spike in violence is a direct result of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’ recent speech at the U.N. General Assembly declaring that he no longer holds himself accountable to the Oslo peace accords. A leader who doesn’t honor his word and abide by international agreements has become the father of people who don’t value human life. A system that teaches their young people to revile and kill Israelis, ensures that the violence will only continue.

When Prime Minister Netanyahu took the podium at the U.N. one day after Abbas, his most powerful statement was a 44-second reproachful silence in response to the international community’s lack of criticism of Iran’s threats against Israel. When I contemplate that the world still expects Israel to seek a true and lasting peace with the Palestinians, especially following this latest wave of violence, I stand with the Prime Minister as he stood in front of the U.N.: speechless.

With prayers for shalom, peace,


Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

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