When a Jewish baby boy is brought into the covenant of Abraham on the eighth day of his life, parents are blessed by those present, “May you merit to bring him to Torah, to the wedding canopy and to good deeds.”
On Tuesday, three sets of Israeli parents brought their teenage sons to the cemetery. Kidnapped on their way home from school, these boys were murdered by those who raise their children with different expectations.
For centuries, the Middle East has threatened the civilized world and confounded successive American administrations. The crux of the difficulty is this: those who revere life cannot live in harmony with those who revere death.
An oft-repeated falsehood of intellectuals who scoff at the tooth fairy but are unaware that they too believe in fantasies, is that those joined in the sisterhood of motherhood share universal values. If only this were true. The mothers of Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’ar raised their sons with prayers for peace on their lips. The mothers of their murderers live in a culture where children’s television shows—the equivalent of Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer—portray Jews as vermin needing extermination. In this culture, mothers and teachers lead toddlers in death chants.
The families of the murdered boys belong to a Jewish culture whose hospitals welcome Moslem children and adults, healing them with care and attention. The families of the murderers belong to an Islamic culture that distributes candies and cakes to celebrate the murder of Jewish children.
The adulation of violence and murder doesn’t target only Jews, of course. America suffered the twisted morality on 9/11. Christians in many countries feel it daily. The inter-tribal fighting in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere claims thousands of Moslems as well. When evil is loosed, borders disappear and no one is safe.
Focusing on how Israeli or western societies can improve is a worthy endeavor, but it is also a red herring. The worship of brutality, elevating hatred to a virtue, is independent of anything that good people do.
May the Almighty avenge the blood of Yigal, Gilad and Naftali. May the All-Present comfort the families among the mourners of Zion and Israel.
For help understanding how good people start down a slippery slope that ends up with them supporting cruel and dangerous cultures you might want to go back to the origins of socialism – The Tower of Babel.