April 14, 2024
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April 14, 2024
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Have We Already Forgotten Ori?

The shiva is over and the politicians have stopped visiting. Another innocent Jewish soul, this one of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, H”YD, has ascended even as her story continues to descend down the online news feeds.

It’s been less than two weeks since another daughter of Israel was defiled and murdered by a Palestinian Arab. Less than two weeks since a teenage Jewish girl was found lying on the ground, her body left naked and punctured with stab wounds.

She was found in a forest on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the heart of a Jewish state that was established after 2,000 years to end such atrocities once and for all. The Arab who brutalized and murdered Ori had already been detained by Israeli authorities over a year ago.

In 2017, on the Temple Mount, he was also carrying a knife and even then openly expressed his wish to become a “martyr” in the cause of Palestine. That is, to become a murderer of Jews. He was somehow released by those authorities and thus allowed to try again. This time he achieved his heinous goal.

What else can one say about this failure but that the Israeli authorities simply didn’t believe him? That is perhaps the most charitable thing that can be said about this phenomenon, which we have seen countless times before even with respect to Arab prisoners who already have Jewish blood on their hands.

We Jews seldom believe our enemies when they tell us exactly what they plan to do to us. Worse still, we often don’t believe them when they actually do it.

Days after murdering Ori, the murderer sat in an Israeli courtroom smirking with pride in his own barbarism and at what he did to a Jewish girl. The truth of what happened to her was at first obscured by the authorities and the mainstream media. In relying on a gag order and a purported hesitance to rush to judgment, they initially refrained from admitting the terrorist nature of the crime as well the full degree of its brutality.

Yet the truth about what happened to her is apparent for all who want to know, but do we actually want to know? Judging by the near total lack of natural, normal and holy Jewish outrage, the answer seems to be a resounding no.

Jewish demonstrations of outrage and demands for action were far too few. Initial calls for imposition of the death penalty have already begun to fade as they have in the past. Aside from small groups of stalwarts in Israel and even smaller ones in America, there were no mass demonstrations or large gatherings to express shock and grief, much less rage.

There was no substantive demand for an investigation into how this could have been allowed to happen or a strong sense emanating from the Jewish public that the entire tragedy could have been prevented had the authorities not treated the murderer like some protected species of fish to be caught and released. But Ori’s killer was no fish; he was a rabid jackal who no responsible Jewish authority would ever dream of freeing to prey upon young Jewish women.

To our shame, Ori’s death did not rock the Jewish world. Not the religious world and not the secular world or any Jewish world in between. It didn’t impact us as much as such an event would have a generation ago. A new argument for the concept of the decline of the generations (yeridat hadorot) has thus sadly been revealed.

How can we honestly say that we “choose life” when a young Jewish life like Ori’s apparently means so little to us? We must therefore reflect on what happened, and as importantly, on what did not happen.

On the very same day that Ori’s killer made his smiling appearance in Israeli court, there were reports out of France that the home of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” had seen a 74 percent surge in anti-Semitic acts. And there was also something else.

Amidst swastikas and graffiti of Juden! found scrawled on Jewish businesses that day in “enlightened” France, a tree was uprooted. Not any tree, but a memorial tree planted on behalf of Ilan Halimi, the 23-year-old Jew who in 2006 was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by a gang of Muslim immigrants in Paris.

Like Ori, Ilan’s tormentors left him lying naked with stab wounds. He had also been burned. Ilan and Ori, two Jewish youths with lives of endless possibility, who were tortured and humiliated without mercy before being cut down and disposed of like garbage 13 years apart.

What happened to them both should have sparked a genuine, deep feeling of outrage in our people and an urgent need to take concrete action to see to it that it will never happen again. Not in Israel, France or anywhere else.

But this assumes that we actually cared enough to do something about it. Have we already forgotten Ori? Perhaps the real question is whether we truly remembered her in the first place.

By Eric Ruskin

Eric Ruskin is an attorney in New Jersey and a member of the board of directors of the Israel Independence Fund.

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