Remembering Rina

There’s plenty of time to make political hay. For now, our focus should be on the beautiful soul named Rina Shnerb, whose light was extinguished far too early.

August 26, 2019 21:35
3 minute read.
Remembering Rina

These sermons delivered in the hell of the Warsaw Ghetto act as a unique yahrzeit candle to a lofty and sacred world. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The country was in shock over Shabbat after hearing the news on Friday of the terror attack that killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and injured her father, Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, and her brother 19-year-old Dvir.

The three residents of Lod were taking advantage of a warm, sunny Friday morning to hike in the popular Ein Buvin spring – known as Danny’s Spring – near the West Bank community of Dolev, just three of the thousands of Israelis who routinely take to trails, wadis and hills throughout the Land of Israel.

As Tovah Lazaroff reported in The Jerusalem Post, the family checked with the IDF beforehand to ensure that there was security surveillance at the spring during their planned hiking time.

Despite the precautions, this pre-Shabbat hike ended in tragedy when an explosive device planted at the spring was detonated remotely, in what the IDF called “a serious terror attack.”

With Rina’s funeral taking place Friday afternoon as her father and brother were undergoing emergency surgeries at Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem, the thoughts of everyone who cares about human decency should have been with the family and their horrible loss.

But even as Rina was being buried and kaddish said over her body at the grave site, her death was being shamelessly exploited by all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The anti-Israel organization IfNotNow, which tried to disguise itself as a pro-peace organization, tweeted condolences to Rina’s friends and family and then squarely blamed her death on Israel because “the rightward drift of Israeli and US govts make the situation on the ground less safe for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Certainly less safe for Israelis, they got that right, but no mention that the violence was perpetrated by Palestinians? And nothing about their “rightward drift.”

Similarly, US Rep. Rashida Tlaib, never one to ignore suffering in her ancestral home for her own political gain, tweeted about supporting “nonviolent approaches to ending the Israeli occupation” and condemning “extremism” in calling the attack “tragic & horrible.” But she failed to acknowledge that it was Palestinian extremism that was causing the current suffering.

As champions of the Palestinians were predictably targeting the extremists on both sides in rationalizing the barbaric attack on the Shnerbs, political opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lost little time in blaming the murder on his policies.

“The attack... is a slap in the face of Netanyahu’s ‘surrender government,’ which chooses to abandon the security of Israeli citizens in favor of bribery payments to Hamas and the PA to buy quiet until the election,” said Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman.

Likewise, Labor-Gesher chairman Amir Peretz claimed that “Netanyahu’s ‘conflict management' policy leads the country to a cessation of security. When all of the PM’s efforts are directed toward his political survival, he stops seeing people; he obviously has no time to worry about civilian security for everyone everywhere in Israel.”

Israeli ideologues also traveled down predictable, well-worn paths. Yair Revivo, mayor of the Shnerb’s hometown of Lod, issued a joint call with Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan for construction of a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank as a response to Friday’s attack.

As we’ve stated repeatedly in the past, the establishment of new settlements should not be initiated as vengeance or punishment for a terrorist attack. A decision like that needs to be part of an overall policy of the government – either building new settlements is in the country’s best interests, or it’s not. But it should not be simply a pay-back tactic in the war against terrorism.

All of the knee-jerk reactions to Friday’s attack blunt the raw tragedy, pain and suffering that the Shnerb family is experiencing, and that all of Israel should be feeling as well.

There’s plenty of time to make political hay. For now, our focus should be on the beautiful soul named Rina Shnerb, whose light was extinguished far too early. A fitting way to honor her memory would be to take part of a day this week and go out into one of the trails of natural beauty that crisscross Israel and take a hike. That’s an on-the-ground answer to terrorism.

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