Are we being a light to the nations?
In the last few hours, it has come to light that Jewish criminals were behind the brutal murder of Mohammed Abu Khedair. While they have admitted their crime and are cooperating with the investigation, it is now clear that this was a clear act of terrorism and their shame and dishonor is our own. We, Israelis and members of the Jewish People worldwide, must look at this as a watershed event that causes us to redouble our efforts at education to actively and absolutely eradicating the kind of thinking that might lead others to think this is “OK.” From the Orthodox Union to the AJC in the U.S. and the chief rabbi of Israel and members of Knesset from both sides of the aisle have come ringing condemnations.
This is appropriate but not enough. We are a nation that claims to be “A light unto the nations.” This mantle compels us to respond to this brutal murder in a manner that makes it unequivocally clear to ourselves and the world, that these actions fall beyond the pale. PERIOD.
This despicable crime sullies the murderers, their families and their communities. We can only hope that the gag order will be removed and the perpetrators brought into the public light. Whether nationalism or Torah motivated their twisted plot, we who find only revulsion in this twisted obfuscation of both must clearly distinguish between the two even as the murders were clearly unable to understand either.
Stated more clearly:
There is nothing in either Judaism or Zionism that can sanction this kind of action. On the contrary, both ism’s flatly reject this abhorrent act.
I have seen pundits calling for a revisitation of the death penalty (only used once before in Israel’s history). I have seen calls for the terrorists to have their homes destroyed as was done to the murderers of our own boys. I will leave that to the law, but from this day forward, we can and indeed should walk a bit more humbly.
Israel did not commit this atrocity, Judaism and Zionism took no part either. Our pedestal has been shaken by these evil individuals. As we seek justice for Mohammed Abu Khedair, may we be equally vigilant in our attempts to better understand our own role in our special covenant. What does it mean to be “A light unto the nations”? Over the ensuing weeks, we are about to find out from players on the scene to be sure, but hopefully for all us... from within.
Executive Director & CEO
Central Florida Hillel, Inc.