60 years after a terrorist murder and Israel's Gettysburg address
It's just a few minutes until the holiday starts again, and then I will be offline until Saturday night.
60 years ago today (on the secular calendar), a young security guard at Kibbutz Nachal Oz on the Gaza border was murdered by Arab terrorists (Wikipedia and the Times of Israel notwithstanding, there were no Arabs who were known as 'Palestinians' in 1956). Roi Rotberg HY"D (May God Avenge his blood) had moved to Nachal Oz from Tel Aviv. He was eulogized by the IDF Chief of Staff, Moshe Dayan, in what Wikipedia calls Israel's Gettysburg Address.
In 1956, IsraeliChief of StaffMoshe Dayan gave a eulogy for a Roi Rotberg, a kibbutz security officer killed near the Gaza Strip,
calling upon Israel to search its soul and probe the national mindset.
Dayan's eulogy is considered one of the most influential speeches in
Israeli history, and has the importance in Israeli collective memory that the Gettysburg Address has in American memory.
became a kibbutz in 1953 and was frequently in conflict with Arabs who
crossed the nearby armistice line from Gaza to reap crops and conduct
The previous few months had been relatively quiet on the Israel's
borders with Egypt and Gaza, but escalated with several cross-border
shootings in early April. On April 4, three Israeli soldiers were killed by Egyptian forces on the Gaza border. Israel responded the next day by shelling the center of Gaza City, killing 58 Egyptian and Palestinian civilians as well as 4 Egyptian soldiers. Egypt responded by resuming fedayeen attacks across the border, killing 14 Israelis during the period 11–17 April.
Rotberg, the Nahal Oz security officer, was regularly involved in chasing off infiltrators, sometimes using lethal force.
On 29 April 1956 he was caught in a prepared ambush; Arab harvest
workers began to reap wheat in the kibbutz's fields in a spot where
Rotberg would see them, he did, but as he rode toward them to chase them
off others emerged from hiding to attack. He was shot off his horse, beaten and shot again, then his body was dragged into Gaza. According to Jean-Pierre Filiu, Rotberg's attackers included, "an Egyptian policeman" and "a Palestinian farmer." The body was returned on the same afternoon, badly mutilated, after United Nations intervention.
Yes, even in 1956, before there was an 'occupation,' Arab terrorists mutilated his body.
Today's Times of Israel includes a translation of Dayan's speech by Mitch Ginsburg. There is a lot here with which one could disagree (Dayan demonstrates far too much sympathy for the Arabs, and we know historically that he did not follow through to reach the conclusions he should have reached). But I have no time to discuss that right now. I'm just throwing it out there for you to think about.
daybreak, Roi was murdered. The quiet of a spring morning blinded him,
and he did not see the stalkers of his soul on the furrow. Let us not
hurl blame at the murderers. Why should we complain of their hatred for
us? Eight years have they sat in the refugee camps of Gaza, and seen,
with their own eyes, how we have made a homeland of the soil and the
villages where they and their forebears once dwelt.
Not from the Arabs
of Gaza must we demand the blood of Roi, but from ourselves. How our
eyes are closed to the reality of our fate, unwilling to see the destiny
of our generation in its full cruelty. Have we forgotten that this
small band of youths, settled in Nahal Oz, carries on its shoulders the
heavy gates of Gaza, beyond which hundreds of thousands of eyes and arms
huddle together and pray for the onset of our weakness so that they may
tear us to pieces — has this been forgotten? For we know that if the
hope of our destruction is to perish, we must be, morning and evening,
armed and ready.
A generation of
settlement are we, and without the steel helmet and the maw of the
cannon we shall not plant a tree, nor build a house. Our children shall
not have lives to live if we do not dig shelters; and without the barbed
wire fence and the machine gun, we shall not pave a path nor drill for
water. The millions of Jews, annihilated without a land, peer out at us
from the ashes of Israeli history and command us to settle and rebuild a
land for our people. But beyond the furrow that marks the border, lies a
surging sea of hatred and vengeance, yearning for the day that the
tranquility blunts our alertness, for the day that we heed the
ambassadors of conspiring hypocrisy, who call for us to lay down our
It is to us that
the blood of Roi calls from his shredded body. Although we have vowed a
thousand vows that our blood will never again be shed in vain —
yesterday we were once again seduced, brought to listen, to believe. Our
reckoning with ourselves, we shall make today. We mustn’t flinch from
the hatred that accompanies and fills the lives of hundreds of thousands
of Arabs, who live around us and are waiting for the moment when their
hands may claim our blood. We mustn’t avert our eyes, lest our hands be
weakened. That is the decree of our generation. That is the choice of
our lives — to be willing and armed, strong and unyielding, lest the
sword be knocked from our fists, and our lives severed.
Roi Rotberg, the
thin blond lad who left Tel Aviv in order to build his home alongside
the gates of Gaza, to serve as our wall. Roi — the light in his heart
blinded his eyes and he saw not the flash of the blade. The longing for
peace deafened his ears and he heard not the sound of the coiled
murderers. The gates of Gaza were too heavy for his shoulders, and they
There's more here. Chag Sameyach and Shabbat Shalom. See you on Saturday night!
It's embargoed until midnight tonight US time, but since I didn't get it directly from them, I'm not subject to the embargo. Freedom House has issued its annual report on freedom of the press, and has downgraded Israel because - wait for it - Israel HaYom hands out newspapers for free!
Israel declined due to the growing impact of Yisrael Hayom, whose owner-subsidized business model endangered the stability of other media outlets, and
the unchecked expansion of paid content—some of it government funded—whose nature was not clearly identified to the public.
For the uninitiated, Israel HaYom is owned by that villain Sheldon Adelson, and is handed out for free on street corners and at traffic lights throughout the country. It lives on advertising, and has become the number one circulating hard-copy newspaper in the country, much to the chagrin of Haaretz (which has almost no hard-copy presence and exists as a web site for foreigners) and Yediot Aharonot (previously the top-ranking tabloid). In fact, the Freedom House report reads like Haaretz talking points.
Every newspaper in this country has 'paid government content' - legal notices and the like. There are many more here than in many other Western countries because every government tender and every public offering of securities (among other things) has to be published in two newspapers. But the people issuing the tender (local authorities) and the issuer of the securities (to stay with those two examples) have the right to choose in which newspapers they will publicize. Moreover, Freedom House gives no indication of how the 'paid content' in 2016 compares to past years, nor does it give any indication how much more (if any) 'content' goes to Yisrael HaYom than to any other newspaper.
The result is that while Israel is still the freest country in the Middle East and North Africa, Freedom House has downgraded our press from 'Free' to 'Partly Free' and our worldwide rank has declined to 65 (62 countries are rated 'Free') - behind countries like Chile and Uruguay and most of Europe (Norway is ranked #1, Belgium, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands are tied for #2, the US is ranked #28 and the UK is ranked #41). Ghana was the only other country that declined from 'Free' to 'Partly Free' this year.
Israel's downgrading reeks of politics. Politics should play no role in this type of ranking. Shame on Freedom House!
I have written many times on this blog that I do not ascend the Temple Mount because my rabbis here in Israel have ruled that it is forbidden to do so until there is a sacrificed red heifer's ashes that can make us pure from the impurity of coming into contact with the dead (yes, that's the reason).
However, others do ascend to certain parts of the Mount, and this morning, two Jews had the audacity to prostrate themselves before God on the Mount in order to fulfill the command to bow before God on the Temple grounds on the three holidays (Pesach, Shavuot and Succot). Watch what happens.
Let's go to the videotape.
Can you imagine any other country in the world where everyone but the majority would have freedom of worship?
Two videos 'celebrating' first 'Palestinian' suicide bombing in Jerusalem in more than a decade
Over the weekend, Israeli media released videos of 'Palestinians' celebrating the first successful suicide bombing in Jerusalem in more than a decade. Watching these videos will give you an indication of the continued Jew-hatred here in Israel.
This one is from Gaza (and not Jerusalem as it says in the blog post where I got it). Let's go to the videotape.
And the second one says it's from Bethlehem, but is actually the Abu Srour family (which lives near Bethlehem) and is the same video I posted here.
Let's go to the videotape.
But give them a 'state' and they'll stop celebrating every time someone
tries to murder us, just like they'll stop educating their children to
murder us. Right....
The 19-year old terrorist who blew up a Jerusalem bus last Monday did not come from an impoverished home. In fact, he lived a life of privilege, much like the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. And that worries the Israeli authorities.
His uncles are prosperous merchants. He did not grow up in a refugee camp. He went on shopping trips to Jordan.
But the cover photo on his Facebook page
includes the image of Yahya Ayyash, a.k.a. “The Engineer,” the chief
bombmaker for Hamas, who likely was killed by an exploding mobile phone
planted by Israeli agents in 1996.
On Monday afternoon, 19-year-old Abdel Hamid
Abu Srour boarded the Egged No. 12 bus and placed a package between his
legs. His uncles think that it might have been his first visit to
His seat was above the vehicle’s gas tanks,
according to Israeli news media. His relatives scoffed at the idea that
Abu Scour would know how to make a bomb himself.
His high school grades were poor enough that he wanted to retake subjects and redo his exams.
Who gave him the bomb and how it was detonated is the object of a fast-moving investigation.
Hamas claimed that Abu Srour was a member of
the Islamist militant movement, although the Gaza-based terrorist group
did not assert direct responsibility for the bombing.
Israeli police announced Thursday that they had arrested several members of a Hamas cell in Bethlehem tied to the case.
The 'Palestinian Authority' tried to portray Abu Srour as a poor 'refugee.' But that's yet another lie.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health described
Abu Srour as a resident of the Aida refugee camp, a tough, politicized
neighbourhood of tight, twisting alleys where the walls are painted with
murals of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and covered with
the faded posters of dead teenagers hailed as martyrs, killed either
attacking Israelis or in clashes with Israeli troops.
But his relatives said Abu Srour was more of a
Palestinian preppy, the scion of a well-to-do and well-known clan of
eight prosperous brothers, who own and operate a string of furniture
outlets and are rich enough to take their young sons for holidays in
Jordan and to set them up with their own shops selling clothes.
“We are financially comfortable, you could say
very comfortable,” said his uncle Mahmoud Abu Srour, who was gathered
with relatives in a courtyard at a family house in Bethlehem awaiting
the return of his nephew’s body so they could bury him.
Abu Scour’s teenage cousins listened to their
uncles speak but kept silent. They wore pricey watches, skinny jeans and
Abu Srour’s father declined to speak on the
record. He was exhausted, he said. His family said his DNA was used to
identify his son. He said the body was unrecognizable to him.
Earlier in the day, the father denied in an
interview with Reuters that his son had any connection to Hamas, which
had announced Wednesday that Abu Scour was the bomber and that he was an
affiliate of the group.
“I never thought my son would do such an act,”
the father said. “My son did not make me feel, even for 1 per cent,
that he has feelings or thoughts like that. Never.”
But Abu Srour apparently WAS connected to Hamas and his family didn't totally discourage terrorism. It just tried to keep their children safe.
But on his Facebook page, there is a photo Abu Srour with a Hamas flag.
Israeli news media also reported that before he died, Abu Srour had
given his mother a photograph of himself wearing a Hamas scarf. The
Jerusalem Post reported that Abu Srour’s relatives gave out sweets on
the street to celebrate his martyrdom in the bomb blast.
And of course, the family is blaming the victim - Israel.
As if we're the ones who are ambivalent or worse about our children's involvement in terrorism....
In case I don't get to post again before the holiday starts, a Chag Kasher v'Sameyach (Happy and Kosher Passover) to all of you. And since there's still a little time left, let this Passover - and if not this certainly the next one - be celebrated with the paschal lamb being sacrificed in the rebuilt Third Temple in the Holy City of Jerusalem. There's plenty of room for a tent for all of you to stay in my backyard :-)
At Legal Insurrection, Miriam Elman reports that the loony Jewish Left, lead by 'Jewish' Voice for 'Peace' (JVP) has published a Haggada this year. I have my doubts that anyone who reads this blog is going to want it in their house, but....
I was curious to see what they do for the end of the seder, when we all say "Next year in [rebuilt] Jerusalem. Here's the answer.
Question 4. “Next Year in Jerusalem!”
We now end our Seder meal once again with the proclamation “Next Year in Jerusalem!” And so
we ask: what will we do to ensure that Jerusalem lives up to its name as a city of peace? How will
we respond as the Jewish state increasingly implements policies that claim this holy city in the
name of one people only? Do we dare to dream of a city divided or a city truly united for all its
...and if we do believe that Jerusalem must be, once and for all, a true City of Peace, what are we
willing to do to make it so?
As we close tonight, go around your table and say goodnight and one thing that you are taking
away with you from this evening’s seder.
Next Year in Jerusalem! Next Year in al-Quds! Next year in a City of Peace!
Kumbaya.... Totally delusional. Either the Jews will control Jerusalem or the Arabs will make it Judenrein (Jew-free).
But as Miriam reports, the loony Jewish Left has done much more than publish a Haggada.
The effort is spread on social media through this week’s trending
hashtags #LiberationSeder and #IfNotNow (see samples below). It’s a five
city (Boston, NYC, Chicago, Bay Area, and Washington, D.C.) series of “seders in the streets”
and in various buildings that house major Jewish organizations in order
to appropriate the holiday’s rituals and texts for an anti-Israel
The explicit goal of these publicly staged seders is to replace the
essential Passover themes—the retelling of the exodus from Egypt and the
Jewish people’s redemption in the land of Israel—with messages
concentrated on the “fight for Palestinian liberation”.
Let's go to the videotape.
Even more, it’s a bizarre program of anti-Jewish propaganda that has a
precedent. As I describe below, in the 1920s some deluded Jews in the
Soviet Union also enlisted in a campaign to eliminate the true meaning
It gets worse and there's a lot of it. Read the whole thing, but please don't let it ruin your Passover.
In Bethelehem, 'Palestinians' celebrate bus bomber
We now know who blew up that bus in Jerusalem on Monday. Abdel Hamid Abu Srour, 19, a resident of the Aida refugee camp near
Bethlehem who is suspected of detonating an explosive on a bus in
southern Jerusalem that left 20 others injured, died on Wednesday
following multiple surgeries. Yes, we even try to save the lives of those who come to murder us. Crazy, aren't we?
The 'Palestinians' in Bethlehem held a march last night to support Abu Srour. His mother handed out candies.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-four years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 11 to 32 years and seven grandchildren. Three of our children are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com