Wednesday, March 23, 2011
As I brushed and braided my 12 year-old daughter’s hair I told her the story of another 12 year-old girl. I told her about Tamar Fogel.
I told my daughter that Tamar’s family had been murdered in Israel. I left out a few details, though. I didn’t tell her that Tamar was the one who found her murdered family. I didn’t tell her that the head of one of Tamar’s siblings was almost decapitated. I didn’t tell her that Tamar’s 4 year-old brother was stabbed in the heart three times. As if one stab didn’t satiate the killers’ hatred enough. I didn’t tell her that Tamar’s 2 year-old surviving brother was found covered in his father’s blood as he sat next to the body telling him to “Wake up!” I didn’t tell her that Tamar’s mother did not die in her sleep. She came out of the bathroom and saw that her baby and husband had been murdered. She saw the intruders. She tried to fight them. Then they killed her too. I did not want one 12 year-old to have to think about the horrid events another 12 year-old just lived through.
What I did tell her was that Tamar was a beautiful, strong modern-day Queen Esther. I told her that just as Queen Esther stood up for her people so long ago, Tamar was standing up for her people. Oddly enough, though, it is not a foreign leader that Tamar is standing up too. It is her own leader Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu sat shiva with the surviving members of the Fogel family. As I watched him speak to the children, I tried not to judge. I didn’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction like liberals did after the Tucson tragedy. I didn’t want to blame Netanyahu for something he had absolutely nothing to do with. But I couldn’t help think that Netanyahu had everything to do with the murder of the Fogels. Their blood was on his hands.
Rabid animals murdered the Fogels. Even PA President Mahmoud Abbas unwittingly agreed saying, “A human being is not capable of something like that.” He spoke the truth inadvertently admitting the terrorists who killed the Fogels were animals. His words reminded me of a famous Churchill quote, "An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last." It is time for Netanyahu to stop feeding the animals.
Everyone has moments in their lives that become dividing lines. Pivotal moments so poignant that events are then categorized as either “before” or “after” those moments. These moments are wake-up calls, spurring one to value and make the most out of his life. Netanyahu had such a moment when his brother, Yonatan, was killed in the 1976 raid on Entebbe. It seems safe to presume that the loss of his brother helped steer Netanyahu towards politics. That’s why it’s so disappointing and somewhat incredulous to watch Netanyahu appease the same enemy who killed his brother; Palestinian terrorists.
Tamar’s 8 year-old surviving brother, Ro’I, spoke about the Palestinian terrorists as Netanyahu sat shiva with him. “We must overcome them,” he said. To which Netanyahu replied, “We are not fools, we understand who we are dealing with.” A weeping Tamar interrupted him and said, “What will happen if you do something, will America do something to you?” Netanyahu’s response was, “They murder and we build, and we will build, we will build our land.”
It pains me to say it, but despite what Netanyahu says, his actions prove otherwise. He is a fool. Does he not understand that even after such a revealing, graphic murder, showing the true intent of Israel’s “peace partner” that his answer was still reactionary? Because they murdered, we will build? No! Because you are Jews and Israel is your country. That is the only reason you need to build.
If Netanyahu truly understood whom he was dealing with, he would never consider any outside policies or circumstances regarding building Jewish homes. He would never offer any land for peace again. Period. He would never sit at a negotiating table with a man who represents a pseudo-nation whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel.
If Netanyahu truly understood, he would never allow Israeli police to shoot at its own people whose “crime” was to build homes on Israeli soil. He would never allow bulldozers sanctioned by his government to demolish Jewish homes.
If Netanyahu truly understood, he would never agree to close checkpoints aimed at stopping terrorists. He would never show restraint while rocket after rocket is fired into his country. He would never govern his people according to the wishes of any foreign government or entity.
If Netanyahu truly understood, he would not have sat in a chair in front of the Fogel children. He would have prostrated himself on the floor at their feet and begged for forgiveness for facilitating the notion that Jews living on any inch of Israeli soil is illegal. The building freeze that he agreed to? That moratorium led to the murder of the Fogels. It helped feed the crocodile’s vile hatred and legitimize its belief that it had a right to kill Jews committing “crimes” against them.
The adage that “people treat you the way you let them treat you,” has never rung truer than with the current political climate in Israel. Every time Netanyahu does not condemn in word and deed policies that call Jewish “settlements” “illegitimate,” “folly,” or “the biggest stumbling block to peace,” he facilitates the UN and US’s new favorite go to answer for all the world’s problems: “It’s the Jewish settlements, stupid!”
Sarah Palin asked the million-dollar question while recently in Israel. “Why are you apologizing all the time?” Think the “Joe Biden/housing” incident. Think the flotilla incident. When will Netanyahu get it? When will all of Israel get it? There is no explanation Israel can give, no action Israel can do that will ever satisfy the nations. Israel is on its own. Yet, Netanyahu still foolishly expressed his expectation of support from the nations after the Fogel murders saying, "I expect the international community to explicitly condemn the murder.” Crickets chirped. The answer from the international community was deafeningly silent. In their estimation the “settlers” got what they deserved. Yet ironically that same community voiced loud condemnation at the mere mention of 400 new Jewish homes. How much plainer can it get? The world is bothered more by a Jew picking up a hammer to build a home than a Jew picking up the body of a baby, whose throat was slashed, to bury.
I’ve heard three holy, righteous Jews who live in the land of Israel say over the last few months the same hard-to-hear message. They have all said that ultimately there is no Arab problem. The problem is a Jewish problem. If and when Jews finally decide to grow up and act like Jews, everything will change. When Jews quit acquiescing to revisionist history and the faux Palestinian narrative, when Jews dismiss the legitimacy of the U.N., when Jews decide to make decisions without the interference of other governments, when Jews decide to appease the G-d of Israel instead of appeasing foreign governments and terrorists, when Jews decide that they have a right to exist unapologetically on every inch of Israel . . . everything will change.
Tamar Fogel, a twelve year-old girl, is more of a grown-up Jew than Netanyahu and most of the other members of the Israeli government. She gets it. She is a testament to the righteous, wise parents who raised her. In addition, she is a prophet speaking the truth unabashedly, even to the Prime Minister of Israel. In an interview on Israeli television, Tamar recalled the moment when Netanyahu said “they kill and we build.” “I said, okay, but then you evacuate. When you came to comfort us, you said we build and we expand, but on the ground, you evacuate all the time.” She sees through the duplicity. Would that Netanyahu.
After Knesset Member Tzipi Livni visited Tamar, she said, “She’s only 12 years-old and sounds like she should be running the country.” If only.
I’ve asked my daughter to pray for Tamar whenever she comes to mind. I don’t want her to forget this amazing girl. A girl who after losing so much said with composure and courage, “This whole thing, and everything that has happened to the people of Israel, has not broken us. We will continue to settle the land.” May G-d allow her words to come to pass. And may all Jews follow her lead.