Jews have been fighting prejudice for thousands of years. This prejudice has come in many forms ranging from subtle and covert comments and actions to extreme violence, such as pogroms, Nazi death camps and terrorism. Now, we have the latest instance, the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas. Make no mistake about it. This was an act of terror. These young men – Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, were abducted and murdered in the West Bank while hitchhiking home from seminary school. These were not armed combatants; they were innocents. Few things are more gut-wrenching for a parent than having their children murdered while returning home from school. Parents send their children to school every day with every expectation that they will return home safe and sound. For three Israeli families, that was not the case. Every parent can identify with this horror.
Reactions have been predictable. Tens of thousands of Jews all over the world have held memorial services to mourn the victims. The Israeli government has stated that it will bring the perpetrators to justice. Additionally, it will no doubt step up military action against Hamas. The cycle of violence will continue. Few doubt that Israel will extract its pound of flesh, and likely be condemned by most of the world for retaliating.
The UN has said and done nothing. No surprise there. The US Government has also acted predictably. It, too has said and done nothing. There have been no statements of sympathy, condemnation or outrage. Perhaps, the State Department is working behind the scenes, but I sincerely doubt it. Even when a group of Nigerian children was kidnapped and murdered recently the Government participated in a campaign to “bring our girls home.” That was fine, but where is the US Government now? Nowhere to be seen or heard, even though Mr. Fraenkel held dual US-Israeli citizenship. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, although it should be denoted that its inaction is consistent with its attitude over the past 5 plus years. Mr. Obama has characterized Islam as a religion of peace. In addition, he has not been particularly friendly toward nor supportive of Israel. Generally, he has pursued a policy of neutrality in the Middle East, preferring not to offend either side. We can all see the result of that policy.
CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION
This was a tragic situation. But, the reality is that it will change nothing. To be sure, the murdered teenagers will be mourned in the Jewish community, but after a time the world will move on. Nothing will change in the Middle East; the cycle of violence and hatred will continue. There will be other events to capture the world’s attention.
The additional question is why any American Jews who care about Israel continue to support President Obama. I have been blogging this for over a year. His support for Israel has been tepid, at best. Once again, I am reminded of the famous conversation between former-Israeli Premier Golda Meir and former-President Richard Nixon. In the midst of negotiating an arms deal, Mr. Nixon asked Ms. Meir why Israel felt it needed so much weaponry when the US had always been there to support it and always would. Supposedly, her response was that in the event of a conflict Israel just wanted to be sure it had enough to hold out until the US decided to come to its aid. With all the turmoil in the Middle East at the present time, let’s all hope and pray that Israel has enough military strength to defend itself independently, because, in the event of a military crisis I seriously doubt that this President will rush to its aid.