Earlier today, as Israel was getting ready for a new day, one filled with sunshine after two rainy ones, terrorists attacked again in the most inhuman, cold-blooded way.
Two terrorists infiltrated a synagogue in one of Jerusalem’s quietest neighborhoods. The terrorists knew that 7 a.m. is the busiest hour in any synagogue’s day. They knew that it would be filled with a group of innocent worshippers there for morning minyan. Unarmed men wrapped in tallit and tefillin, focused on their prayers, make an easy target.
The terrorists, East Jerusalem residents, attacked with axes, guns and knives. They murdered four men and severely injured five others, including two police officers, before being killed themselves by police.
Terror is terror is terror. It is the personification of evil; and those who perpetrate it are vicious, cruel people.
But planning an attack in a holy place, while people are focused in prayer, far from any political scene or controversial territory is beyond what Israelis are familiar with, beyond our nightmares. It is nothing but a cynical, base and wicked act.
This morning’s attack brings the total number of civilians murdered in recent weeks to a terrible 10. The irony is not lost on us: It is a minyan of Israelis from all ages and backgrounds, killed for living in this country, for being Jews.
It is a Jewish custom to wrap the bodies of the dead with a tallit at funerals. Today, four Jews will be buried wrapped with their blooded tallit, including yeshiva head Rabbi Moshe Twersky, the grandson of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, one of the principle philosophers and founders of the Modern Orthodox movement.
We find ourselves in troubled times, but we draw strength, knowing that you stand with us.
Today’s terrorists violated innocent prayer. We should join forces and renew this prayer, hoping for a full recovery for the five wounded men and shalom for Israel.
Leah Garber, Vice President, JCC Israel Center