This week saw the return of Arab terrorism to my Jerusalem neighbourhood. On Sunday, an Arab resident of the nearby neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber drove a truck into a group of young IDF cadets who were visiting the popular Promenade at the entrance to East Talpiot, backed up and then ploughed into them once more, killing three young women and a young man, and injuring many more, before he was shot dead.
It came as no surprise that the headline of the BBC, not known as any kind of a friend to Israel, attributed the attack to the lorry which served as a weapon, rather than to the perpetrator (and even that, in quotation marks, as if to cast doubt as to whether this was an attack or merely a traffic accident). Only in the secondary headline is it noted that the perpetrator was a “suspected terrorist” and even this is only mentioned after Al Beeb notes that the “suspected terrorist” was shot by the police (in fact, he was shot, while still at the wheel of the truck, by the soldiers who were attacked and by a tour guide who was, fortunately, carrying his licensed weapon). One gets the impression that he was only mentioned at all, because he was shot dead.
The same was true of other news outlets such as CNN (a determined enemy of Israel). None of this came as any surprise. What did surprise me – favourably so – was the fact that major European capitals publicly expressed their solidarity with Israel, by displaying the Israeli flag on landmark buildings. Thus, the blue Star of David was flown at half-mast at Rotterdam’s City Hall, Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was lit up by the Israeli colours, and even the French capital emblazoned Israel’s flag on the façade of the Hôtel de Ville, in a rare gesture of solidarity from a country which is not known for its warmth towards Israel.
As the foreign press only describes the victims as “soldiers”, I would ask you to take a minute or two to get to know them as people – youngsters at the start of their lives, and – tragically – now at the end of those lives.
Erez Orbach, aged 20.
Shira Tzur, aged 20.
Shir Hajaj, aged 22.
Yael Yekutiel, aged 20.
May their memory be for a blessing.