The gory butchering in Itamar of three sweetfaced youngsters (one of them three
months old) and their gentle parents is unfortunately far from unique in the
history of our land.
The names of Udi, Ruth, Yoav, Elad and Hadas Fogel
are tragically added to too long a list of names of Jewish families slaughtered
in their homes by Arab marauders.There obviously were other victims in
some 150 years of Arab terror – on school buses, in classrooms, in kindergartens
and nurseries, in markets, near shopping malls, in hotels, at airports, in
public conveyances, on city streets, in pizzerias and ice-cream parlors, in
playgrounds, at the movies and wherever else folks routinely gather.
somehow the home is seen as sacred, a place of supposed safety, one’s castle,
Homes weren’t sanctuaries, however, on August 24, 1929, when
at the instigation of a supposed man of God, infamous Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini
(later Hitler’s wartime accomplice in Berlin), hordes of Arabs descended on the
tranquil and ancient Jewish community of Hebron. At the end of their rampage 67
Jews – men women, children, babies – lay dead.
They weren’t neatly
assassinated. Some were decapitated and disemboweled. Limbs were severed, eyes
gouged and all manner of ghastly unthinkable mutilation practiced. A preteen
girl was raped by 13 heroes of the Palestinian revolution (before there was a
State of Israel or occupation to rage against) and then hung upside down over an
open flame to roast slowly to death.
Hebron’s was the most notorious
massacre, but others were simultaneously perpetrated elsewhere. In the Jewish
community of Safed, 21 were butchered as gruesomely (a cat was stuffed into one
elderly woman’s disemboweled stomach).
In Motza, near Jerusalem, the
Maklef family was slain, but nine-year-old Mordechai survived after he jumped
from a second-story window. In 1952 he became the country’s third chief of
The mobs rioted countrywide for a week, discontinuing many
centuries of uninterrupted Jewish life in Hebron, as well as in smaller Jewish
enclaves like Gaza, Tulkarm and Nablus.
On the ill-fated evening of
August 13, 1936, several Arabs invaded the humble Unger dwelling in Safed’s old
Jewish Quarter, just as the family ate supper. They murdered the father, Alter –
a 36-year-old Torah scribe – his daughters Yaffa and Hava (aged nine and seven)
and the six-year-old son, Avraham.
In his book Safed Annals, author Natan
Shor includes the following eyewitness account from one of the first neighbors
who chanced by: “We heard groans from the house. We entered and in the middle of
a dark room – furnished only with a table, a broken chair and a bookcase crammed
with mostly religious volumes – lay a man’s body. His skull was bashed
Half the head was missing. We saw only a beard, part of a nose and
the right eye... The corpse lay in a pool of blood and brain matter... In the
next room amid the dishes, lay three little bloodied lifeless
Two of them were still open-eyed.
“An old woman, the
grandmother, ran around from room to room, crazed with grief. The mother,
herself wounded (probably left for dead), went from child to child. She didn’t
yell or wail. Staring intently, she repeated quietly over and over in Yiddish:
‘If it were only me instead of you.’ Her hand bled profusely and an amputated
finger hung by a strip of skin.”
THE ABOVE carnage and much more occurred
before a Jewish state came to be, before Arabs created and perpetrated their own
refugee problem, before Israel could be accused of occupation and before the
advent of beyond Green Line settlement. Incited Arabs went on the warpath even
without any dubious casus belli like mass aliya, Jewish independence or 1967’s
Six Day War.
Significantly, their earliest targets were mostly members of
the pre-Zionist “old community,” comprised of haredim who had resided for many
generations particularly in the holy cities, passively awaiting the
Just as Zionism was a false pretext for homicide, so is
settlement. The Fogels of Itamar weren’t knifed because they lived outside the
Green Line. There was similar heartbreak inside the 1949 armistice
On April 11, 1974, Arab terrorists raided an apartment
building on Kiryat Shmona’s Rehov Yehuda Halevi 15. They went from flat to flat
in a barbaric killing spree.
Iris Sheetrit, then nine, who hid behind a
closet, was her family’s sole survivor. Her mother Fanny (30), sister Yocheved
(11) and brothers Aharon (eight) and Mordechai (four) were all shot at
In neighboring apartments the dead included Esther
Cohen (40) and her children David (17) and Shula (14); Miriam and Ya’acov Guetta
(both 30); Shimon Biton (30) and his children Avi (five) and Anat (two); Anissa
Stern (47) and her daughter Rahel (eight); Shaul Ramjerkar (64) and Esther
Wazana (60). Two soldiers who came to help were also killed.
19, 1974, another apartment house – within Green Line Beit She’an – was likewise
On April 22, 1979, terrorists broke into the within Green Line
Nahariya apartment of Smadar and Danny Haran. They marched Danny and
four-year-old Anat to the beach, where they smashed the child’s head and shot her
father. Smadar hid in a loft with the couple’s two-year-old daughter, clamping
her mouth to muffle the toddler’s cries lest they be detected by the invaders,
only to discover she had smothered Yael to death.
The grim affinity of
fate between Jews on both sides of the Green Line was lamentably demonstrated in
2002. On June 21 Fatah stalwarts burst into the Szabo home in Itamar and
murdered the mother, Rahel, and her sons Avishai (five), Zvi (12) and Neria
(15). Two other children, Avia and Asael, were wounded.
later, on November 10, this time inside the hallowed Green Line, in the very
left-wing Kibbutz Metzer (Hashomer Hatza’ir), Fatah terrorists murdered two
kibbutz members – Tirza Damari and Yitzhak Dori – outdoors. Earlier they broke
into Revital Ohayon’s quarters, as she was reading bedtime stories to her boys –
five-year-old Matan and four-year-old Noam. All three were cold-bloodedly
executed, with the mother found hugging/protecting her children.
line, our enemies’ chilling blood lust isn’t the product of recent events, of
geography or of ideological affiliation. Nothing marked the Fogel family for
death apart from its Jewish identity and the random opportunity to slaughter.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
ALL THIS is quite
unpalatable for Israel’s priests of political correctness, renowned for their
impeccably refined tastes and humanitarian sensibilities. The mention of Arab
bestiality is off-putting and may, heaven forfend, even serve the dastardly
purposes of the real enemy – Jewish political rivals. Conversely, sanitizing
disagreeable details allows, for example, to depict the renewed Jewish presence
in Hebron – Judaism’s second-holiest city – as a reprehensible colonialist
Moreover, remembrance can call attention to undesirable
truths about the Arabs’ genocidal Judeophobia and offer a clear glimpse into
what would happen to this country’s Jews were their self-defense to