Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva, where tonight's deadly terror attack took place, is the flagship of religious Zionism. Most religious Israelis know somebody who studies or studied there. When I studied in Jerusalem ( also near the entrance to the capital, we later moved to the same neighborhood, Qiryat Moshe ) several of my friends and fellow-students studied at Merkaz HaRav, or went there for lectures and celebrations. The yeshiva is 'named' after its founder, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook ( 1865 - 1935 ). The scumbags who sent the terrorist(s) who did this ( it seems there was one terrorist, who was killed; he reportedly is from East-Jerusalem ) knew very well what target to choose. Yeshivas are normally not well guarded, this particular one is relatively large, students who carry weapons do not necessarily stand out, and hitting this symbol of the world of the kipot haserugot ( the knitted yarmulkes, 'the' trademark of religious Zionism ) might very well trigger Israeli responses, either official or more private ones. PS: I couldn't help paying attention to one or two tiny differences between us and our enemies, differences that continue to remain unnoticed by most foreign media. Whereas Israel never deliberately targets civilians ( whoever claims otherwise is not worthy of any serious response ) Israeli civilians have always been the primary targets of the terrorists. Also, I do not remember seeing even one Israeli celebrate the deaths of Palestinian civilians or terrorists in Gaza during the last two weeks. Neither do I recall worshippers in synagogues saying thanksgiving prayers for those deaths. One of the first things that I thought, cynically, when I read about the celebrations in Gaza was: Islam is truly a religion of peace, and the Palestinians are its most peaceful prophets. But then I was reminded of the very striking speech by one of the English participants of last week's conference that I attended in Jerusalem. That man is a Muslim, and his speech was one of the most impressive and moving lectures of the whole conference. We should never generalize.

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