So many videos, articles, and information get passed around the Internet through social media these days that it’s hard to know what to watch and read; what to embrace and believe. But last week a video appeared in my newsfeed, and the face before me was not one of a stranger, whose word I would not know whether to trust or not. It was the face of my friend and neighbor, Adena Mark.
I knew a little bit about Adena’s story. Her mother, Sara Blaustein, had made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in 2001. A devout supporter of Israel, a woman of faith, action, and kindness, Sara’s life was cut short just nine months after moving to the Holy Land, when she was gunned down by Palestinian terrorists as she and her husband were driving to the Western Wall.
Adena was still living in America at the time, but her mother’s horrific murder transformed her. It wasn’t long after her mother’s death that Adena and her own family moved to Israel as well. In addition, Adena became a voice for those who had been murdered by terrorists, a voice for those who no longer had one.
So when I saw Adena’s face on the video before me I knew I should listen to what she had to say. As disturbing as her message was, it is one that I needed to hear, a message we all need to hear.
Adena’s video was aimed at raising awareness about a woman named Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist, who is scheduled to appear as an honored speaker at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency McCormick Place on March 31st.
Adena exposed an ugly reality. In 1969 Odeh was the mastermind behind a bombing of a Jerusalem grocery store. She knowingly inserted explosives into coffee canisters with the intention of killing as many Israeli civilians as possible. She succeeded in murdering two innocent students in their early 20s, Leon Kanner and Edward Jaffe.
In 1970, she was convicted in a fair and just trial by an Israeli court. She was sentenced to life in prison but was released a decade later in a prisoner swap, a move Israel makes periodically to secure the release of kidnapped Israelis or the bodies of Israelis who were killed and taken by the enemy.
In 1994, Odeh lied her way into America. In her immigration papers, she failed to tell the truth about her crimes and imprisonment, a lie she repeated in 2004 when she applied for and was granted American citizenship. In 2013, charges of immigration fraud were brought against Odeh, but she remains free today on appeal.
The most disturbing thing is that Odeh is being hailed as a hero by many. She was one of the organizers of the March 8th “A Day Without a Woman”, and now is slated to speak for a group called Jewish Voice for Peace, who say they are eager to hear what Odeh has to say.
This should outrage not just every American, but every human being who cherishes life and true peace. A niece of Edward Jaffe wrote a column published in the Huffington Post asking: “How is my family supposed to reconcile the reality that the woman who stripped my uncle of his life is now deemed a hero by many of my fellow Americans? What justification is there for Rasmea Odeh, a woman who killed two people (with the intention of killing more!) to lead a peaceful fight for human rights?” Or as Adena puts it: “If my mother’s murderers were celebrated this way I would feel that my mother was being murdered again.”
If Adena had not posted her video I would never have known about Odeh, her covert actions, or Adena’s call to action to speak out against this outrageous situation.
We are living in times where evil hides and truth is hidden. Our job is to expose the lies and shine a light on the truth. We must live by the verse in Isaiah 62:1, "For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch."
We must speak out until the truth shines as brightly as the sun, and evil no longer can hide among us.