On Christmas day, Ayala, an 11-year old Jewish Israeli girl and her father were driving near their home in Samaria when their car was targeted, and took a direct hit, by a Molotov cocktail. Ayala suffered third-degree burns over most of her body and remains in critical condition, improving but still in danger of losing her life.
I posted a comment to an article about this on a popular Israeli English news site, speaking of the inhumanity of other people being raised on such hatred of Jews that attacking a car with a Molotov cocktail is somehow, even remotely, an acceptable thing to consider, much less actually do.
The attack is very personal and horrific. Making it all the more so, two Palestinian Arab teenage boys were arrested and confessed to the crime. One has to wonder what kind of society has values that breed children where this sort of violence and terrorism is celebrated and exalted.
Making it worse, the comment I posted immediately was pounced upon by other Jew haters who troll this website and feel free to hurl anti-Semitic hatred as freely as these Palestinian Arab teens thought they could throw a fire bomb at the passing car of a Jewish family.
At the risk of sounding like a Dr. Seuss book because the situation is much more serious than a child’s book, allow me to share responses from what I call Jew Hater 1 and Jew Hater 2. These people troll this website and promptly came out and blasted my comment, and credited the burning of this Jewish child because at a protest recently, a 5-year-old Palestinian Arab child was hit by a rubber bullet. This person equated this incident to the purposeful attack on a family in a private vehicle by Palestinian Arab teens that meant to kill, justifying it because of the shooting of the 5-year old Palestinian Arab child.
There are many ways in which this is a horrific and repugnant justification of incitement to murder, but top among them is that the Jewish family was attacked deliberately while the 5-year-old child who was shot was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Certainly had the shooting of the Palestinian Arab child been deliberate, the soldiers shooting would have used live ammunition.
But it was an accident. Either way, it’s terribly sad and Israelis don’t celebrate it. It’s what happens when protests turn violent and soldiers (or any police force tasked with keeping quiet and the overall population safe) need to open fire to prevent further risk of life, including theirs.
It’s not pretty and nobody in Israel is condoning the shooting of a child, but it was accidental and one has to ask what the parents of this child were thinking bringing their child to (participate in) a violent protest. But using this as justification for further violence is indecental at best.
Jew Hater 2 was quick to follow, but surprisingly showed empathy for the 11-year-old Jewish girl. Honestly, I was shocked. I thought maybe we had a person on the other side that we could talk to, with whom we could be civil and bridge differences.
In the situation where a whole culture breeds such rampant hatred which is the foundation for wanton violence and murder, I naively look at any glimmer of hope that maybe they don’t all hate us. Maybe we can find a way among our differences to get along, to abhor violence together, and in doing so, bring it to an end. Maybe.
But then Jew Hater No. 2 let the other shoe drop. He justified the attack on the Jewish family because of the alleged “occupation” of Palestinian land. That’s not a new mantra, but what was a unique twist is that he claimed the occupation began in 1948. That’s a significant nuance because most who preach that the “occupation” is somehow an obstacle to peace at least have the decency to let us think that they mean the results of the 1967 Six-Day war. At least it is refreshing in the case of Jew Hater 2 that he’s honest about it: The “occupation” began when Israel became a state.
And then he continued with a lie suggesting that the Palestinian Arabs were all driven from their homes, villages and land. This can be debunked on many levels. First that the Arab leaders at the time called on their own people to leave, and after they predicted the seven Arab armies would slaughter the Jews and drive the rest into the sea (yes, that was their public goal), the Arabs would come back and reclaim their property and that of the Jews who had been slaughtered.
Forget the fact that the Arabs lost and the “refugee” problem was created at least in equal part by the Arabs themselves, this lie is also disproven by the simple fact that not only are the Arabs not driven from their land, but some 20 percent of Israel’s population is Arab, and 3-to-4 million Arabs live in what’s commonly referred to as the West Bank and Gaza. That’s as many as 5,000,000 Arabs who most certainly were not thrown from their land because they continue to inhabit it, alongside more than 6,000,000 Israeli Jews.
Other than the fact that the whole “occupation” narrative is a bit dishonest, in my opinion, the Jewish people restoring Jewish sovereignty to the Land of Israel is anything but “occupation.” It’s the fulfillment of a Divine promise.
These events remind me of another incident (there are many) where a young father and his infant son were driving not far from my house and came under attack by a barrage of huge stones, causing the father to lose control of the car and die, and his baby son also died after being hit in the head by one of these rocks. One wonders why well-armed soldiers might shoot at protesters who are “only” throwing rocks. Throwing stones and firebombs are dangerous and deadly.
Underscoring that Israel not only does not deliberately target Palestinian Arab children, a fascinating story took place last weekend where a Palestinian Arab baby suffered a heart attack near the border with Jordan. The baby was saved by a combination of Israeli military and civilian paramedics, and then taken by an Israeli military helicopter to an Israeli hospital. Signs are that the baby is recovering.
I pray that he does recover fully and I pray that he will grow up on stories of how Israeli Jews saved him. I pray that those around him, at least in his immediate family, will have appreciation for the civility shown to them and respect for how Israel sanctifies life, so that this boy will grow up not imbued with hatred, but a living example of how we can get along. I pray that as the New Year begins, these are the stories that dominate the news cycle, not what the media cynically calls the “cycle of violence.”
Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes a regular column for Charisma magazine’s Standing With Israel. You can contact Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org.