Elster's World

Friday, March 07, 2008

Military Operations Vs. Murder

Yesterday's killings at Merkaz Horav take on a slightly (and I stress the word slightly) personal note for me. When I was learning in Israel, I used to spend many Shabbosim my first year at cousins of mine who lived in Givat Shaul, walking distance to the Yeshiva. Every Friday night we would walk to the Yeshiva for Mincha, Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv before returning to my cousin's for the meal.

To be honest, I don't remember too much of those experiences. I was usually exhausted by the time Friday night rolled around, dreaming more of chicken soup and a loooooong sleep than another hour or so davening, but I certainly remember the teffilah there being powerful and serious and the singing done by people who were very serious about their Yiddishkeit.

And now eight of them are dead - some of them just 15 year old children.

How someone can walk into a room full of children with a rifle and clips and clips of ammunition - and proceed to start firing at innocents - is something I will never be able to understand. It takes even less of a heart (assuming such a person even has a heart) than the detonation of a bomb - at least with the bomb detonation, you die instantaneously. Here you have to fire until your gun runs out of bullets, stop, eject the clip, slap home a new one and pull back the slide, all while the sounds of people screaming in horror and pain fill your ears.

How can a person do such a thing? What drives someone to be so full of hate that they can gladly give their own lives so that innocent blood can be spilled?

The answer, sadly, is simple. Someone who is born in hate, who is raised in hate and is immersed in hate their whole lives knows nothing other than hatred. Someone whose parents raise a mourning tent draped in the flags of Hamas and celebrate the death of their child as part of the greater good. Someone who probably ran in the streets and fired his weapon in the air when he heard the news that another bus or restaurant filled with innocents was just vaporized by a bomber. Can you really blame someone who knows nothing but murder when he commits murder?

And therein lies the biggest problem faced by Israeli people. They want nothing more than to just live their lives normally - without fear. But that will never be the case. They are surrounded on all sides by lands teeming with people who know nothing other than hatred towards them. People who don't know about George Clooney, Brett Favre, Lebron, Radiohead or Lindsey Lohan. They know about poverty (from their own leaders), they know about hatred and they know about death. They reside in depths that free people could never possibly understand. They are filled with hatred since their inceptions, it if injected into then as surely as the inoculations our children receive for small pox and measles.

Is this the first of a new wave of terror against our people or an isolated incident? What will be the fallout of these attacks? I don't know. What I do know is that when the internet sites describe how the funeral procession began in the courtyard in front of the Yeshvah - I know that i have stood in that courtyard many a time after shul on Friday night, watching hundreds of people milling around and talking to each other before their Friday night meals and their Friday night sleeps.

And I'll never think of that courtyard the same way again.

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