Some confusion still surrounds the events of last night, Thursday, March 6, 2008. As best anyone can determine, a lone terrorist, a Palestinian Arab resident of East Jerusalem, entered the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, in West Jerusalem, and opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle ("Kalatchnikov") massacring eight students. Their names: Yochai Lipschitz, 18, of Jerusalem; Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16, of Shiloh; Yonadav Chaim Hirschfeld, 19, of Kochav Hashahar; Neriah Cohen, 15, of Jerusalem; Roey Roth, 18, of Elkana; Segev Pniel Avihayil, 15, of Neveh Daniel; Avraham David Moses, 16, of Efrat; and Maharata Trunoch, 26, of Ashdod. A student at the Yeshiva, apparently Yitzhak Dadon, shot at the terrorist from the roof of an adjacent building, but the terrorist continued shooting in the air until an IDF officer who lives nearby arrived and shot him again. Police detectives arrived and may also have shot the Arab terrorist.
According to various reports, the Hezbullah's al-Manara television was quick to claim that the attack was the work of the "Imad Moughnieh free persons of the Galilee" brigades, or the "Jalil Freedom Battalions - the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh and Gaza," supposedly composed in part of Israeli Arabs, but the actual identity of the responsible organization, if there was an organization, is not known.
The Merkaz Harav Yeshiva is the apple of the eye of the orthodox Zionist National Religious Party. Unlike students in ultraorthodox Yeshivot, the young men who graduate Merkaz Harav Yeshiva go on to become soldiers and officers in the IDF. Increasingly, in fact, they are becoming the command cadres of the IDF, replacing the role once held by kibbutz members.
It is quite possible that this attack was a pay back for the demise of the late terrorist Imad Moughnieh in Damascus. Iran and the Hezbollah blame Israel for the accident that took the life of the arch-
terrorist militant, when his vehicle was blown up in Damascus. Moughnieh had not exactly ingratiated himself to many countries and groups in the Middle East, with his habit of blowing people up. His killers could have been inspired by the Israelis, or Lebanese, or Kuwaitis or Jordanians, or Americans. Among other things, Moughnieh was responsible for suicide bombing of the US Marine barracks and the US embassy in Beirut, and many deaths of Lebanese, Kuwaitis and others.
That it is retaliation, is suggested by the sophistication of the target chosen and the location, in Israel's capital, as well as the unusual method. Those who attacked suicide bombings as particularly reprehensible sort of terror should contemplate the fact that the victims are just as dead after this sort of attack, or if the perpetrators escape.
If it was pay back for the Moughnieh, it was only partial pay back. Iran's last such retalation involved blowing up both a Jewish center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. However, at the time, Iran was careful to maintain the fiction that it had nothing to do with the killings. Now it has more or less admitted that Moughnieh did its bidding, and it cannot afford to strike targets outside Israel. Nobody likes countries that perpetrate terrorist attacks, unless they are attacks against Israel.
A second motive for the attack in Jerusalem was no doubt sabotage of the peace talks, which are due to resume - a send off for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice from her secret admirers in Teheran. The massacre will not, apparently stop the peace talks. However, it certainly was a dramatic illustration that Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has nothing to offer in return for Israeli concessions: they do not control the security situation, and unfortunately, Israel doesn't control it either apparently.
On the other hand, the massacre could have been just one of the many attacks that are normally foiled by the IDF and Israeli intelligence services each week, or it could be a result of heightened tension following the bloody attacks in Gaza. There were ten attack warnings in Jerusalem on Thursday. In any case, we can assume that whoever planned it was doing the bid of the Iranian Mullahs, who are intent on fighting the American Great Satan to the last Palestinian Arab and Israeli Jew.
The massacre has generated a certain amount of unwonted solidarity in Israel, and even a bit of support abroad. Ha'aretz has taken the unusual step of labeling it a terrorist attack, and calling the killer a "terrorist" rather than a "gunman" or a "militant." Of course, the BBC described it as an "attack" by a "gunman," but they did at least mention the bloodthirsty jubilation in Gaza and the official announcements of support by Hamas.
Whoever carried out this attack, they can boast that they struck a mighty blow for Greater Israel and Eternally United Jerusalem. These are causes of the National Religious Party, and they have been handed eight young martyrs for their causes. We can be sure that phrase "Hashem Yinkom Damam" (the Lord will avenge their blood) will be heard in many synagogues and Yeshivot.
The usual bad tasting concoction of politics and grief was not absent from remarks and commentary of various personages. At the funerals of these youths, Rabbi Ya'akov Shapira, head of the Yeshiva, was quoted as saying:
The time has come for all of us to understand that an external struggle is raging, and an internal struggle, and everyone believes the hour has come ... for us to have a good leadership, a stronger leadership, a more believing leadership.
Actually, the time has come for the rabbi to understand that belief is fine, but in such cases an armed guard or two would be more effective, and closing the gaps in the security fence surrounding Jerusalem would be helpful. Right wing politicians called for a halt to the peace negotiations. David Rotem of the Israel Beiteinu party declaimed,
The government must immediately halt all negotiations and eradicate terrorism in every way possible.
Meretz leader Yossi Beilin was sadly predictable as well:
It's the job of a responsible leadership, a logical leadership, to say in moments like these, looking at the blood, at the cries for revenge ... that we, at least we in Israel, will do everything we can in order not to be dragged into this cycle,
At least one blogger in the United States insisted that everyone must write to Shas to leave the government now. Of course, the mullahs in Tehran would love to see the Israeli government fall because of a terror attack, and the Philistines of Gaza would rejoice as well.
This was hardly the first massacre by Palestinian Arabs or the first terror attack in Jerusalem. Jerusalem has been the site of bombings, shootings, massacres, car bombs, refrigerator bombs and other ingenious devices since 1946. Ben Yehuda Street has been the site of numerous attacks since the Ben Yehuda Street bombing
of February 1948, a massacre in which about 54 people were killed. The Palestine Post
had the "honor" to inaugurate the first car bombing in history apparently, on February 1, 1948. The Post put out a small edition despite the bombing (see Palestine Post Bombing
To some of our readers, the Post's reaction may seem very strange. It did not blame other Zionists or Jews for the attack. It did not advise stopping the "cycle of violence." Nor did they call for. bloodthirsty revenge or replacing the Zionist leadership with more religious personnel. It blamed the terrorists who carried out the bombing, an obvious idea that doesn't seem to have occurred to many people this week.
The Post editorial began
The truth is louder than TNT and burns brighter than the flames of arson.
It is time for everyone to remember and understand that unity, grim resolve and cool heads are our greatest assets. The truth is brighter than blowhard airheaded politicos and rabbis, and louder than an AK-47.
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Replies: 1 Comment
Deuteronomy 4:31 For the Lord your G-d is a merciful G-d, He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.
I pray every day that there will be leaders in Israel who UNDERSTAND the times we live in, that Jerusalem will have peace again and The G-D of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (The G-D of Israel) will remember His promise and set His people free!
Nico Bronkhorst, Monday, March 10th
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