I saw someone today and I said good morning. I didn't feel it but I said it because it seems the normal greeting. What am I supposed to say...
He replied "Good morning. At least as good as it can be..."
This is Adar, the happiest month of the year. Where everyday feels like a party in Israel. It's a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. Yet, there is a horrible gloom and sadness over all of us.
I can't stop thinking about it.
I can't stop thinking about them. The victims. The beautiful family stabbed to death in their home. They used to live in Ariel. The father looks familiar. I have probably seen him/them around. The kids could have been any one of my kid's friends. It could have been my friends. It could have been us. This is so close to home. I can't stop thinking. I want to curl up into a ball and cry. Just cry and cry and cry. And there is no comfort.
At 2:00 Friday morning I woke up to a helicopter flying over Ariel. That in itself doesn't happen very often. A few minutes later, I heard another one. Very close and flying very slowly. I looked outside to see if I could see anything but didn't. A few minutes went by and another helicopter passed. I knew something was up. The army doesn't do training exercises on Shabbat. Not that I generally hear training exercises over Ariel anyway.
I checked on the kids, knowing if Jonah woke up he would be bothered by the noise. I stood at the top of the stairs and surveyed my kitchen. What was going through my head? That perhaps there was an intruder that got into Ariel and they were looking for him? Maybe. I had no idea. I took comfort in the fact that we have a police man neighbor so if something was up, I figured he would know about it. If there was immediate danger, I imagine we would know.... maybe? I went downstairs thinking to myself, and what if there is someone in my house? Then what? I don't have a weapon or anything. The Cutco knives are all the way across the room.
Many lights were on because we don't turn on/off electricity on Shabbat so that made it easier to look around. I checked the kitchen, opened the laundry room door and locked the back door. We live in a safe neighborhood and don't always lock all the doors. I checked the front door which was locked and locked the one side of the sliding glass door that locks. If anyone tried to get in the other side, the "tris" is in the way and would make a fair amount of noise. Another helicopter and another go by. I imagine there is something going on. But hope it's pre-emtive. Maybe they got warning of a potential attack and are just keeping the peace....
Eventually I get back to bed.
Don't hear anything the next day. I mention it in passing to Shauli. Tell him to let me know if anyone says anything in shul. But I don't think much more about it.
Saturday night I go online and the first post I see on a Facebook friend's status is a link to a murder of a family in Samaria. We live in Samaria/the West Bank. I read further and see it happened in a small community called Itamar about 20 minutes away from us. We've been there before. To visit a beautiful farm. It's close to Shchem and our friends in Har Bracha. Yes, the location where not too long ago they decided to "relax security measures and dismantle checkpoints". I knew that would lead to no good. What kind of security minister relaxes checkpoints where we know terrorists and weapons are being smuggled in? That logic escapes me. Peace? Is that what he is attempting? A gesture? Why don't you open just hold open the f-ing door for the murderers?
Someone scaled the fence in Itamar and the fence has an alarm that goes off when it is touched. A soldier went to check it out but saw no cuts in the fence and no footsteps or anything else around. So he assumed it was an animal. Well, it was an animal. A different kind of animal. A deadly, killing machine. Someone who has been programmed since infancy to hate and kill me and my people.
This was around 10pm. He went to one house but it was empty. He went to the Fogel's house but there was a big group of Bnei Akiva kids there. And so he waited. Until they left - the family's daughter among them. And he waited some more.
The terrorist (or terrorists) entered the house through the living room picture window, did not notice the 8-year-old boy sleeping on the couch and continued on to the bedroom where they slashed the throats of the father and newborn baby who were sleeping there. A 3 month old baby. Innocent baby. He slashed her little throat? The mother came out of the bathroom and was stabbed on its threshold. The evidence shows that she tried to fight the terrorists.
Can you imagine? Coming out of the bathroom to come face to face with a murderer?
They then slashed the throat of the 11-year old-son who was reading in bed. They did not notice the 2-year old asleep in his bed, but murdered the 3-year old with two stabs to his heart. After that, they locked the door, exited through the window and escaped.
Exactly two hours after the infiltration, there was another warning signal from the same spot on the fence, as the terrorists left the way they had come. Once again, the patrol did not identify the source of the signal as infiltration.
The 12-year-old daughter returned home at 00:30 and found the door locked. She asked a neighbor to help her. He brought a weapon with him once he noticed tracks and mud near the house. The two woke up the 8-year old sleeping in the living room by calling through the window and when he opened the door, the Rabbi returned to his home.
When she entered the bedrooms, the young daughter saw the horrific bloodsoaked scene and ran out of the house screaming. The neighbor ran back and fired several shots in the air to alert security personnel. Within a short time, large police and IDF forces arrived and began intensive searches to see if the terrorists were still in the community. At 03:30 a.m., military trackers discovered footprints leading to the Arab village of Avrata.
I can't stop reading. I can't stop replaying these scenes in my head. How? How? How? How can a person slash a 3 month old babies throat? An 11 year old reading in bed. Stab a 3 year old in the heart? It's not human. It's just not human.
How will this 12 year old girl be able to go to sleep every night without horrific nightmares of the scene? Of seeing almost her entire family brutally, horribly murdered.
Graphic pictures have been released of the family. To show the world what brutality and terror looks like.
There are other pictures elsewhere of Palestinians handing out candies in celebration of their success. I read an article on CNN and then I read the comments. And there are so many blaming this family, blaming people like me, for just trying to live our lives peacefully, quietly, normally. All we want is quiet. All we ask for is a land promised to us for thousands of years. A piece of land the size of New Jersey.
We try and we try. We give and we give. This family gave up what was probably a beautiful home in Gaza. They were thrown out in the name of peace. And what happened? They came to Ariel and lived in a caravan. And then they moved to Itamar, where they were able to buy a new home. To start fresh. And then..... 6 months or a year after they moved, they were murdered by the very people they gave up everything for.
Israel has the best army in the world. Sadly, we also seem to have the weakest government. Everyone is condemning this act now. Expressing sorrow for the family. But what about action? I imagine we'll let about 50 more Arab terrorists go. Ya know, in the name of peace. I imagine after 2 weeks, we'll relax the checkpoints again. Come on in, bring your weapons, bring your hatred. Let us lay down for you so you don't dirty your feet. And while I'm at it, why don't you stab me in the back?
This is war. Rockets are being shot at our homes. Babies are being murdered in their beds. This is WAR. Why does no one see that???????????????
Dear G-d, have mercy on us. Let me continue to shield my children from the violence as long as I can. I will continue to explain to them that not all Arabs are bad. I believe it. I know there are some Arabs out there, who just want to live in peace. Who can't stand up to their government because they will be KILLED.
But I know that hatred is being taught to so many many more. And the terrorists were probably about 20-25 years old. Their entire life, hatred of the filthy Jew has been taught to them. Even on their children's TV programming. Barney sings about the beauty of becoming a martyr.
Where are their songs of peace? Where are their songs of living a quiet, fulfilling life and being good, hardworking people? Why are their songs about pushing the Jews into the sea until there are no more left?
How can we sit and talk peace with a person who only knows hate? Please...explain it to me. How we can sit across the table from someone who would slit a babies throat and stab a 3 year old 2 times in the heart? I'm sorry - but that is not human. And it's not someone who wants peace.
In one week is the holiday of Purim. A time when G-d was hidden but the Jewish people triumphed over their enemies. Haman was hanged on the gallows instead of Mordechai. Please G-d, have mercy on us and help us triumph over evil.
Please bring those murderous sons of b's to justice. Please give the government of Israel the strength to stand up and protect itself.
And it's citizens.
People like me.
People like you......