The victims of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva. Top row: Avraham David Moses (16), Ro'i Roth (18), Neria Cohen (15), Yonatan Yitzhak Eldar (16); Bottom row: Yochai Lifshitz (18), Segev Peniel Avihail (15), Yehonadav Haim Hirschfeld (19), Doron Meherete (26).
The official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority and its President, the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas, has declared the murderer of 8 Israeli yeshiva students to be a "shahid," a holy martyr. As reported by Palestinian Media Watch, Al Hayat Al Jadida prominently placed a picture of the killer, on the front page, with the caption, "The Shahid Alaa Abu D'heim." In a Page One article on the terror killings, his act is again defined as a "Shahada achieving" action. According to the Palestinian Authority's interpretation of Islam, there is no higher status that a human being can achieve today than that of Shahid.
In contrast, the Kingdom of Jordan, where family members of the slain terrorist live, moved to stop public mourning for him. Jordanian security forces ordered the relatives of Abu D'heim, who live near Amman, to dismantle a large mourning tent and to take down Hamas and Hizbullah flags that were hanging on rooftops and electricity poles. The Jerusalem Post quotes an uncle of the terrorist as saying that he decided to open a mourning tent as soon as he heard that his nephew had been killed in the attack. "We were hoping that people would come to congratulate us on the martyrdom of my nephew," he said. "This is a heroic operation that must be celebrated by everyone here."
A source in the Jordanian Interior Ministry stated that Jordan would not permit any group or individual to harm its national security by holding events that publicly supported violence against civilians. Jordan was one of the few Arab countries to condemn the massacre at Mercaz HaRav. Its forthright action gives one hope that sanity can prevail in the Arab world.
However, although Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack when speaking to Israeli and Western media, the published declaration in the PA's official newspaper that the slain terrorist is a holy martyr is glaring evidence of Abbas' hypocrisy, and certainly accurately reflects his true sentiments.
When one looks at the photos of the murdered students, including two 15 year olds and two 16 year olds, and then hears the praises that Hamas, Hizbollah and now the Palestinian Authority have heaped on Abu D'heim (may his name be erased) for his courageous heroism in shooting down unarmed teenagers, one can only shake one's head at how hatred can warp human minds.
The oldest of the murdered yeshiva students was Doron Meherete, a 26-year old Ethiopian Jew. Not only does the above photo of this African-born Torah scholar give the lie to the libelous Arab claim that Zionism is racism; but the entire horrific incident, and the reaction of the Islamic world to it (with the exception of Jordan), amply demonstrates which side in the Arab-Israeli conflict truly favors ethnic cleansing and genocide.
The Islamic world either has celebrated the massacre of the Jewish students, or has been silent in response. Contrast that reaction with the aftermath of the 1994 shooting of 29 Arabs in Hebron by the Jewish terrorist Boruch Goldstein. As Dennis Prager pointed out last week, while there were certainly Jewish right-wing extremists who did and still do praise Goldstein, the overwhelming reaction in Israel and the Jewish community worldwide was revulsion and condemnation, including at the largest public protest demonstrations in Israeli history. That, Prager concludes, sums up the moral gap between Israel and its enemies and detractors.
The Islamic and Arab genocidal inclination toward Jews is hardly a modern phenomenon that began in reaction to Zionism. The current era's Moslem Jew-haters look to the example set by Muhammad himself in the Seventh Century. At the time of the birth of Islam, several Jewish tribes lived in the Arabian peninsula, in the vicinity of Medina. They were systematically exterminated, enslaved or expelled by Muhammad and his armies. This genocidal program began with the expulsion of two tribes of Jews, the Qaynuqa in 624 C.E. and the Nadir in 625 C.E. It culminated in 627 C.E., when Muhammad exterminated the last remaining Jewish tribe in Medina, the Qurayza, killing all the men and pubescent boys, and enslaving all of the women and children. The estimates of the number of Jews killed ranges between 300 and 900, but there is no dispute that the entire Jewish tribe of Qurayza was wiped out. A full and well-documented account of this atrocity may be found here.