Festival of Hate

Today is Tu b’Av, popularly (though mistakenly) supposed to be the Jewish equivalent of St. Valentine’s Day. A love fest. This year, it has turned out to be a hate fest instead.

Yesterday afternoon, the local LGBT community held their annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, in the teeth of vociferous opposition from the city’s ultra-orthodox community, who held a counter-demonstration. An ultra-orthodox fanatic, Yishai Schlissel, released just three weeks ago after serving ten years in prison for stabbing three people at the Gay Pride Parade in 2005, and who evidently has not learned his lesson, somehow managed to evade the heavy police security cordon along the route of the parade, and stabbed six people – one of them, a fifteen year old girl who is said to be still in danger of her life.

There is no doubt about it – the Police screwed up, big time. Only two weeks ago, Schlissel was interviewed on an ultra-orthodox radio programme and it was clear from his words that he had no regrets and would repeat his hateful crimes given the slightest chance.  He should have been under close police surveillance and kept away, by any means, from the area of the parade.

Moreover, a brief perusal of Facebook, which, after an event like this, always brings out the keyboard warriors, turns up dozens of comments praising his actions. Yet on the other hand, there were also hundreds of condemnations – including the Mayor of Jerusalem, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, Arye Deri (the leader of the ultra-orthodox party Shas),   the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who called it “a loathsome hate crime” –  to name but a few. The attacker was arrested on the spot and will be tried. If convicted, he will be punished. Of that there is no doubt.

But, of course, the Israel-haters wasted no time in crawling out from under the wood-pile to claim that the attack proves that Israel is anti-democratic and hostile to gays – despite the fact that there are many more anti-gay hate crimes the United States, yet no-one claims that the USA is hostile to gays!

Here in Israel, the anti-religious crowd also used the opportunity to blame the entire religious community for the dastardly crime. I even heard someone on the radio (I was only listening with half an ear so I missed the name of the speaker) make the ridiculous claim that anyone who opposed gay marriage shared in the responsibility for the attack!

And as if that wasn’t enough, the Left is now lumping together everyone on the Right and accusing them of supporting the actions of the ultra-orthodox fanatics who think they are doing the work of God by “cleaning up the pollution”.

I myself identify with the political Right. But I also think Schlissel and his supporters are criminals – one might, justifiably, even call them terrorists – who have set themselves up to be judge, jury and executioner. They justify their actions on the premise that the Torah forbids homosexuality. They seem to have forgotten that the Torah also forbids murder and that the prohibition of murder was proclaimed first, on Mt. Sinai, in the presence of the entire nation.

And from anti-gay hate crimes to what appears to have been a racially-motivated hate crime. In the early hours of this morning, unknown individuals tossed Molotov cocktails into two houses in the Arab “Palestinian” village of Duma, setting them on fire. In the ensuing blaze, an eighteen-month-old toddler, Ali Dawabsheh, was burnt to death and his parents and four-year-old brother were critically injured. The local residents are claiming that the murderers (who were masked) were “settlers” (their term for every religious-looking Jew) and indeed, the fact that the words נקמה  (“Vengeance”) and יחי המלך המשיח  (“Long Live the King Messiah) were spray-painted on the walls would seem to point to a “Price Tag” atrocity. On the other hand, it has been pointed out that in the past, the “Palestinians” have not been above trying to blame “settlers” for acts carried out by their own people.

I try, as always, to keep an open mind but, much as I hate to believe that Jews could carry out such a heinous crime,  I very much fear that, as in the case of  Muhammed Abu-Khdeir, who was kidnapped and burnt alive by three Jewish terrorists last summer in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers, this will indeed prove to be the case.  At any rate, the Israeli leadership seems to think so, and has had no hesitation in calling this a terror attack. Which it is.

As I said, I identify with the political Right. I believe with every fibre of my being that the whole Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. I also believe that whoever murdered this innocent baby is a vile, despicable scumbag, who, when caught, should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.


About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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7 Responses to Festival of Hate

  1. David Allon says:

    Indeed it is a sad day when the light unto the nations (אור לגוים) is extinguished. Simone, I share your anger at these heinous crimes.

    Amazingly enough the report of the terror attack in Duma on Swedish TV is as balanced as could be expected. The claim that the perpetrators are Israelis is given as a statement from a Palestinian spokesperson. The news item mentions that Israeli settlers attack Palestinians but that seldom are there any deaths. Bibi’s condemnation is also mentioned.

    • “Amazingly enough the report of the terror attack in Duma on Swedish TV is as balanced as could be expected. ”

      That sounds rather ambiguous. Just how balanced could one expect a report on Swedish TV concerning such a subject to be?

      But the light unto the nations will only be extinguished if the murderers are allowed to get away with it.

  2. Rick Bailey says:

    I assume Yishai Schlissel hopes not to judged by the same measure with which he meted out his attack. By his measure, his transgression of the Torah would call for summary execution. And by the same measure, who among any of us could stand? I certainly couldn’t. I’ve broken each of the ten laws (and many more) by my actions and my thoughts. Thank God that He has not dealt with me according to the letter of the law, nor even the according to the gross accumulation of my transgressions and imperfections. Mercy rejoices over justice, though justice is absolutely necessary in any government.

    The religious right in America (I’m a member, but disagree with most of their political goals) get this idea wrong every time. They are not satisfied with a “secular” government that tolerates every religion and respects every person. They would like to see their own brand of holiness and conduct not only endorsed, but enforced throughout the land. But this cannot be. We are not wise enough to enforce such a code, nor even agree on what it should contain. Not all the Jews in Israel, and none of the Christians in the U.S. could ever come to an agreement about a theocratic code to enforce, nor how to enforce it.

    The attack in Duma is another tragedy that is impossible to fathom, regardless of the identity of the attackers. Your title puts the finger on it: festival of hate. Acts carried out – often in the name of God – that demonstrate God has no part in it. All of these hateful crimes indicate the handiwork of mankind, not God.

  3. D-PAK says:

    I tend to identify with the right on some issues and the “left” on others, but I would agree with you that both of these acts were vile acts of murder (or attempted murder) and should be dealt with to the fullest extent and with the utmost severity of the law.

  4. David Allon says:

    Now it is murder in both cases 😦

  5. Pingback: Scorched Earth | THE VIEW FROM THE PALACE

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