Monday, March 27, 2023

While Israel wants the attention of the world to look at its existential threat from the outside-in, namely Iran, it is also important that its government and people take a look at another threat from the inside-out.

That threat, dare we write, is Jewish terrorism.

And it must end. For many reasons.

On July 30, Yishai Shlissel, an ultra-Orthodox extremist attacked indiscriminately at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem. He killed Shira Banki, 16, and seriously wounded five others. Shlissel had been recently released from jail after serving 10 years for a similar act.

If that wasn’t horrific enough, Ali Dawabsheh, an 18-month-old Palestinian toddler was killed and his family seriously injured by a Molotov cocktail thrown by yet known assailants at their Douma Village home in Samaria.

Lastly, Meir Ettinger, the grandson of the murdered right-wing activist Meir Kahane, was arrested by the Shin Bet in connection with extremist activity.

The death of Banki, a beloved young woman and daughter, was horrifically random and done by a killer who swung his weapon madly.

We are encouraged that leading Jewish rabbis and government officials have condemned in unity both cases. Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Aryeh Stern visited the victims who were at the parade. A rally of thousands showed up in support of tolerance and condemning the stabbings.

Mainstream Israeli society, while watching the events unfold in the Iran deal, has also been standing united against any form of Jewish terrorism. The murders of Shira Banki and Ali Dawabsheh have left many Israelis shaken that this could happen in their country.

We would feel otherwise saddened if Israeli society didn’t react with grief over these terrorist acts. We know, as the rest of the Jewish world knows, that these attacks seriously and severely undermine our standing in the world, in the media, and in the eye of public opinion.

Yes, there is much to be wary of outside of Israel. But what’s happening inside needs action, no matter how difficult. It is simply not welcome in the Israel we know, love and defend.

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