Dear Friend of Israel,
It started as a typical Shabbat meal at an Israeli home in Halamish, a town in the rolling hills of biblical Samaria – an area which most people today know as the West Bank. The Salomon family was gathered together for dinner. This Shabbat (Sabbath) was particularly special; they were celebrating the birth of the newest member of the family.
Then came a knock at the door. Thinking it was one of the guests they had invited, 70-year-old Yosef Salomon opened it. Facing him was a 19-year-old Palestinian man with murder in his eyes. The knife-wielding terrorist stormed into the home and killed three family members – Yosef, his son, and his daughter – before he was shot and wounded by an off-duty soldier.
Less than two hours before the attack, the terrorist had posted on Facebook about his depraved desire for martyrdom: “I’m going to die for Al-Aqsa,” he wrote, referring to one of the mosques on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism, and also the location of Muslim holy sites – is always a flashpoint of controversy, but it has seen particularly bitter struggles of late. Two Israeli policemen were recently murdered on the Temple Mount, leading Israel to implement new security measures, including routine screenings with metal detectors. Palestinians have responded with rioting, violent protest, and attacks against Israelis.
By any standard, Israel’s security measures are reasonable and prudent. Israel has already announced adjustments to them to dampen Palestinian anger. But Palestinian leadership and radical Islamists, ever-eager to slander the Jewish state, have responded with their own agenda. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he was suspending all contact with Israel. The terrorist group Hamas called for a “day of rage.” Despite the removal of metal detectors from the site, Muslim leaders announced that protests and a Temple Mount boycott would continue. Clearly, this is about much more than metal detectors – it is an attempt to undermine and cripple the Jewish state.
Beyond the political arena, though, lie real people – terror’s innocent victims. Please join me in praying for comfort for the surviving members of the Salomon family who mourn the loss of their dear ones, and for all who have lost family members and friends to terrorism. Rest assured, The Fellowship continues to provide assistance to these victims each and every day. And pray for the day when, in the words of the Isaiah 51:3, “The Lord will surely comfort Zion … Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President