Stolen

Reflections on the monstrous theft in Tel Aviv.

The horrific murders committed by Palestinian terrorists in Tel Aviv last week did more than kill four innocent people. A monstrous theft that can never be undone also took place. 

A 39-year-old mother of four was stolen from her family and they from her. She will never see her children grow up and her husband has been left a widower.  A 41-year-old father of two was stolen from his family and they from him. He will never to see his children grow. His wife was wounded and left a widow. A 32-year-old woman engaged to be married was stolen from her future husband and he from her. A future, children, all gone.  A 58-year-old professor was stolen from his family and they from him. He was stolen from his students and they from him. Another widow left behind.

All of this inhumanity happened in an instant at an outdoor café on a warm evening at a mall with people of all ages just enjoying life, birthdays, a meal – and all that is considered normal.  After enjoying dessert at the same restaurant and next to the people they would murder, two terrorists began shooting in all directions killing four people in cold blood and injuring and traumatizing many more.

When news breaks of a terror attack in Israel, the rush to the phone or to a news channel to see where it occurred is what many in, and outside of, Israel automatically do. You hold your breath and pray till you know your loved one or someone you know is safe.

I know this frantic and dreadful feeling firsthand. Spending much time in Israel, but living outside, panic sets in immediately. And even when all your loved ones and friends are safe and accounted for, your heart aches for those who are not.  One minute you are having a leisurely meal in a café, and the next minute all hell breaks loose – from the table next to where you may be sitting.

Only Israelis have to live with this in their own country, day in and day out. You have to think before you make a plan – will it be safe?  Is there security? 

This terrorist attack in Israel, as with every attack, was perpetrated against innocent human beings simply because they were Israelis. Nothing in this world justifies such a craven act. 

But once the attack was announced on PA media, the celebrations began – cheering, fireworks, candy to children – while Israelis and normal human beings were stunned, horrified and heartbroken over the death and injury the two terrorists caused.  Reaction from around the globe was slow to come. As always, there was no “We Stand With Israel” sign -- as Israel does for others anywhere there is an attack (i.e. Paris). On this occasion, was there blue and white anywhere to be seen?

All kinds of justifications, as always, came forward. We heard all about the so-called “occupation,” all about the moral equivalency, all about the need for Israel to “show restraint,” etc. It all came, as expected, from the U.N. and the U.S. administration. In other words, what was really being said was that Israelis have to turn the other cheek. They had it coming, you see, for living life, for being Israelis and, of course, for being Jews. Israel, meanwhile, treats terrorists in her hospitals while Palestinian terrorists murder innocent people. Israel drapes buildings in colors of countries that suffer terror attacks, but the same countries never stand with Israel. They only demonize Israel.

There will be much debate in Israel over security measures that might have prevented the Tel Aviv attack. There will be discussion about the lax security at points such as Hevron, from where the terrorists came. But no amount of soul-searching or enhanced security measures will ever return what was stolen from all of these people and their families and friends and others who were yet to know them. Their future was stolen, never to be retrieved.

From the mouth of a daughter of the woman murdered: “Wake me from this nightmare.”

If only that were possible.

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