Just days after Tel Aviv was struck with an organized terror attack — an exception to this past year’s rash of lone-wolf stabbing attacks — Orlando is struck with the deadliest mass shooting attack in U.S. history. U.S. authorities have only begun to piece together the whys and wherefores, but we know that the one common denominator of these two geographically dispersed events is the blind unthinking hatred that motivated both.
The Orlando attack may critically impact the current Presidential campaign. Democrats will emphasize the need for curtailing access to assault weapons and responding to hate. Republicans will tend to define this incident as a manifestation of “radical Islam” and the international Jihadi threat.
Scholars of the online community initiated by Ameinu as The Third Narrative, experienced a personal loss in one of those murdered in Tel Aviv, Prof. Michael Feige. To read this brief obituary by Ilan Troen, president of the Association of Israel Studies, click here.
In a Times of Israel blog post, Hillel Schenker, co-editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal and a personal friend, reflects on his beloved hometown “Celebrating Life – Resilient Tel Aviv Looking for Answers.” Here’s a key selection:
. . . In an interview on Galei Tzahal (Army Radio), [Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai] said: “We are probably the only country in which another people is living under occupation without civil rights. You can’t hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they’ll reach the conclusion everything is all right. I know the reality and I know that courageous leaders need to aspire to take action and not just pay lip service. The fact that we are tolerating this misery will not lead to the change that needs to be made.”
And the father of Ido Ben-Ari one of the victims murdered at the Sarona Market said at his funeral: “The leaders we elect at democratic elections are supposed to find a strategic solution, which demands far-reaching vision, concessions, a creative solution, and not mantras and laundered words.
“Last night, after the attack, the prime minister and two of his ministers arrived and yet another security cabinet issued decrees — not to return corpses, to put up barriers, to destroy houses, and to make lives harder. These solutions create suffering, hatred, despair and [lead] to more people joining the circle of terror,” he said.
“What’s needed is a solution rather than saying all the time that there’s nobody to make peace with. We chose you to stop the cycle of blood, already 49 years you’ve been trying to solve things tactically and you haven’t succeeded. The time has come for a strategic solution.”
. . . One of the four murdered victims on Wednesday evening was Prof. Michael Feige, who was head of Ben-Gurion University’s Israel Studies program. In 2010 he won the annual Shapira Prize of the Association for Israel Studies for the best book published in Israel Studies: “Settling in the Hearts; Jewish Fundamentalism in the Occupied Territories.” His random murder was a terrible loss to his family, to academia and to the study of the challenges facing Israeli society.
The two brothers who committed the atrocity came form the West Bank town of Yatta near Hebron. According to research by Israel’s second president, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the residents of Yatta are assumed to have been originally Jews who converted to Islam. One wonders if this isn’t also a case of trying to be “holier than the pope” to demonstrate their Palestinian identity. Though the fact that their uncle is a Hamas member being held in an Israeli prison is also a factor. Hamas celebrated the “Ramadan attack”, while the Palestinian Authority officially condemned it.
Just as there was no justification for any Israeli celebration of the shooting by the IDF soldier of the neutralized Palestinian assailant in Hebron on March 24th, I see absolutely no justification for any expressions of Palestinian joy at the “success” of the murderous attack in the Sarona Market that have been reported in the press. Both Israeli and Palestinian societies are in danger of being ground down into mutual inhumanity.
We should listen to the Mayor of Tel Aviv, and to the father of murder victim Ido Ben-Ari. . . .