January 22, 2015
Dear Friend of Israel,
Not long ago, our attention was focused on France after two brutal radical Islamist attacks there. And today, as it has been so many times in the past, our focus is on Israel. On Wednesday, a Palestinian man, motivated by literature promising “martyrdom” to those who kill Jews, stabbed and injured more than a dozen Israelis in Tel Aviv, several of them critically. Eventually, thank God, the attacker was subdued by Israeli police.
As I observed months ago – after the launch of the so-called Palestinian “car Intifada,” when radical Islamists mowed down innocent Israeli pedestrians in the street, and after the brazen and brutal slaughter of worshipers in a Jerusalem synagogue – attacks like this are almost impossible to prevent completely. In a pluralistic society like Israel’s, where Jews and Arabs mix together freely and for the most part peacefully, who can predict when a hate-filled individual will choose to carry out such an attack? Who can identify the one who will turn a bus ride to school, to work, or to the market into a moment of abject terror?
Whatever our response, we cannot – we must not – resort to the tactics of our enemies, whose disregard for the sanctity of human life violates not just the precepts of civilized society, but the word of God: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
Dear friends, today, even as our enemies choose death, let us choose life. Indeed let us continue to defend, in no uncertain terms and with all our might, the society and the values we have taken so long to develop and build. But let us also continue to pray for the day when God will bless us, and all of His world, with His most precious gift of shalom, peace.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein