Early last week the world learned about the tragic murder of three Israeli teenagers who had been kidnapped by terrorists. Later in the week there was the murder of a Palestinian teenager which now appears to have been a "revenge" action by Jewish extremists. As everyone from leading rabbis to the Prime Minister of Israel to the leaders of the major Jewish American organizations have stated, this action by Jewish extremists is disgusting, shameful and there is no place for the perpetrators of such a vile act within Israeli society. There is every reason to be confident that the murderers of the Arab teen will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, as well they should be.
Unfortunately, these events have helped fuel violence across Israel as Palestinian leaders failed to take any action which might have defused what was clearly an explosive situation. Now Hamas and other terrorist groups have taken advantage of the tragic deaths of these young men as well as violent rioting among Arabs in the country to launch a reenergized assault against Israel, firing hundreds of rockets out of Gaza, and today, a rocket apparently came quite close to hitting Tel Aviv. There are also reports of terrorist attempting to infiltrate an Israeli army base.
Citizens in places which have not often been under direct threat from tickets and missiles, such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem now must face a real possibility that they too could face this kind of attack. It is perhaps both reassuring and depressing that Jerusalem already has bomb shelters in many places - when I lived there I always made a mental note of the nearest one, and I'm thankful I never had to use that knowledge.
Now major conflict has flared once again - and it is striking how as Israel attempts to neutralize the threat poised by terrorist leaders, rocket launchers and terrorist weapons supplies, Hamas and its fellow militants are firing indiscriminately into Israel without the slightest concern about how many innocent children and it get civilians (including Arabs) might be maimed or killed.
It is impossible to know when this fighting may end or when peace talks may resume, but I hope that those who are so often intensely critical of Israeli defensive actions will look at how this latest disaster has unfolded and realize that as Israeli leaders are doing everything they can to avoid the deaths of innocent people, that it was the intentional murder of three israeli teenagers which lit this match, and that the terrorist who did it had every intention of starting a fire.
Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2014.