Seven years ago. Friday night. March 7, 2003. Two Arab terrorists cut through a fence on the eastern side of Kiryat Arba. Knowing that the fence emits an electronic signal if touched, they prop the cut-out piece of fence back in place. A few minutes later a security patrol arrives, searches the area, and seeing nothing, leaves. Most probably the signal sent from the fence originated as a result of an animal touching it.
The terrorists remove the cut-out piece of fence and climb through, into Kiryat Arba. The time is about 8:30 PM. Walking down the street they see a Jewish woman and attempt to kill her. She runs and their gun jams. The terrorists see a porch leading into an open apartment across the street and run in. There they find Rabbi Eli and Dina Horowitz in the midst of their Shabbat evening meal. Rabbi Eli screams and is immediately shot to death. Dina flees into a back room but is trapped, with nowhere to go. She too screams. Until the terrorists shoot and kill her too.
Rabbi Eli and Dina Horowitz
The apartment is surrounded and a battle begins. The terrorists are finally overcome and eliminated.
Some of the Horowitz’ children and grandchildren were supposed to spend that Shabbat with them, but had to cancel. So the death toll was only two. ONLY?!
No, not ONLY. Two, of hundreds and thousands of Jews murdered and maimed, scarred physically and psychologically, for the rest of their lives. Targeted because they are Jews, in Israel. Anywhere in Israel, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva, Hebron, Beit El, you name it. Jews who were visiting, students, tourists, also blotted out, Jews in Israel. Young, old, children, babies, couples. Living people. Dead.
The account of the Horowitz murders sounds familiar, no? Friday night, breaking into a house, killing Jews. Similar, but certainly not the same.
Late last Friday night, at 1:45 in the morning, my pager beeped. Actually I didn’t hear it, even though it’s very close to me, even when I sleep. But Friday night sleep overcame the beeps. But a couple of my kids, still awake in the living room, did hear it and wondered what message might be sent at that hour, on Shabbat night.
The next day we found out: “As a result of terrorists’ penetrating the Itamar community in the Shomron (Samaria), and the murder of several Jews, security has requested to be alert and prepared, in case several attacks were planned to occur simultaneously.”
I tried not to talk about it too much on Shabbat. There was nothing we could do, and on Shabbat you’re not supposed to mourn. But Saturday night, when the full extent of the terror became known, the internal anger, frustration and gloom bubbled over into a gushing rage.
There isn’t too much that can be added to whatever has been said, in writing or orally, about the slaughter of the Fogels. Perhaps one of the best pieces was written by Ariel Sharon’s son Gilad. It can be viewed here. Earlier yesterday, before reading this article, a journalist suggested that perhaps Abu Mazen really does want peace. I replied with several answers, but started with a simple analogy. Take a big monkey, dress him in an expensive suit, adorn a tie around his neck, and he looks just like you, right. Except that it’s still a monkey. Like it or not. So too it is with our neighbors.
Sharon’s article and example is a bit more descriptive than mine.
One primary thought has been sitting on me since the Friday night massacre. Only today do I feel the ability to express it. During times of crisis people get upset if the supposed ‘good guys’ are exposed as the ‘bad guys.’ But what can you do? The truth must be told, like it or not.
Of course, those directly responsible for the slaughter on Friday night are the animals who perpetrated that horrific crime. But who stands behind them? Where is the source of incitement, leading to such an inhuman act of barbarity?
The source, in my opinion, are the people, the Israelis, who allowed Jewish police to shoot plastic bullets at other Jews, Jewish civilians, before expelling them from their homes and destroying them a couple of weeks ago. The source of incitement continues with Jews, Jewish leaders, who continue to espouse support for declaration of a ‘Palestinian state,’ planning to announce these intentions within the next couple of months in Washington. The source of incitement leading to the butchering of the Fogel family are Jewish leaders who are willing to again abandon our land and our people, ‘returning’ all the heavily Arab-populated cities in Judea and Samaria to monkeys dressed up as people.
We’ve already gone through this, before. Thousands have died and been injured. Why do it again. What has changed? The people are the same, the religion is the same, the mentality is the same and the goals are the same: to wipe a Jewish Israel off the map. And the ends justify the means. Like cutting the throats of babies, and stabbing them in the heart.
Before Olso we warned. The warnings were ignored. Before the Hebron Accords, we warned. The warnings were ignored. Before Gush Katif we warned. The warnings were ignored. We continue to warn. And they continue to ignore. And Jews are shot by Jews; And Jews are expelled from their land by Jews; And Jews continue to be cut to pieces by our ‘piece partners’ who have nothing to lose. I mean, why not. The United States, the EU, and the Israeli left won’t allow the piece process to end, regardless of how many Jews are disposed of along the way. But the incitement begins at home, with those in positions of power, who target their own people, sending strong signals to our neighbors. A lesson learned quite well: If Jews can do it to Jews, we can do it too.
This time of the year, according to the Jewish calendar, there are four special Sabbaths. This week, the Shabbat prior to the Purim holiday, we call Zachor. In the 25th chapter of Devarim – Deuteronomy, we read: ''Remember what Amalek did to you on the way, upon your departure from Egypt''... ''You shall erase the memory of Amalek from beneath the heavens, you shall not forget.''
Amalek, is a nation of evil, the antithesis of good, the antithesis of the Jewish people. Their goal was (is) to eradicate all good from the world, and in the process, to annihilate the Jewish people. Some examples of present day Amaleks are easy to identify: Hitler and his crew; Ahmadinejad and company in Iran. And there are others, too. It’s the story of Purim, of Esther and Mordechai, two Jews, facing off against Amalek, against Haman, second only to the King, who intended to finish off the Jewish people. As Hitler, Ahmadinejad, and others.
We are commanded, every day, Zachor. Remember. This Shabbat is a special commandment, prior to Purim, Zachor. Remember.
We didn’t have enough to remember? The Hatuel family, Shalhevet, Rabbi Ra’anan, the Diksteins, Elazar Lebovitch, the Horowitz’, and so many others? It still wasn’t enough. We didn’t remember enough. So now, every year, from now on, when we repeat Zachor, prior to Purim, other names will be illuminated in our collective memory: Yoav, Elad, Hadas,Udi, Ruti.
Zachor. Remember. Zachor. Never Forget. Zachor. If we remember as we should, maybe we''ll eventually learn, and act accordingly.