It seems that last week the calendar was up to its tricks again. Last year there was a virtual industry discussing the very rare occurrence of the first night of Chanukah coinciding with Thanksgiving. This year, for Tuesday, November 11, the calendar tossed up a convergence of dates making the eons mentioned above seem like a single grain of sand in the hourglass of the ages. Never before, nor, presumably, again, will there be the convergence of memorial dates for another absolute polar-opposed pairing of personages: Rabbi Meir Kahane, Hy”d, and, lehavdil, Yasser Arafat.
This seemed to escape the notice of the media; not one word was inked noting the irony.
The media was distracted — focused, justifiably, on more pressing matters: the events of the day before. On November 10, a spate of terror rocked Israel: two stabbings and two killings. There was the murder in Tel Aviv of 20-year-old Almog Shiloni, Hy”d, First Sergeant of the Nahal Haredi battalion, and the brutal vehicular assault and stabbing of Dalia Lemkus, Hy”d, 26.
The two murders represent a sort of macro and micro version of terror for Israel, and for my family. Tel Aviv, it is joked, may be physically located in Israel but it is emotionally a part of Europe or New York. Tel Avivians live in a bubble, often oblivious to the challenges the rest of the country experiences. It is easy to be a “limousine liberal” in such a place; life is beautiful on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea with hi-tech money and big business driving the Israeli economy. The problems of the “unfortunate” who can’t (read “choose not to”) live in Tel Aviv rarely have an impact on our siblings living there. Occasionally their bubble bursts when a SCUD or Katyusha strikes, but the realization that “we are all in the same boat” passes and life reverts to reverie. The stabbing of First Sergeant Shiloni shook them out of their inertia.
Who was First Sergeant Almog Shiloni? Rabbi Dov Lifshitz of the Nahal Haredi Rabbis NGO, who got to know Almog during his training and military service, described Almog as “a true fearer of G-d…. He was a commander whose subordinates admired him.”
Dalia Lemkus lived in Tekoa, a beautiful community 20 minutes from Alon Shvut, with absolutely breathtaking views of the Judean desert. The interesting thing about Tekoa is that it is a “mixed community” of Jews of all levels of religious observance attempting to create a thriving, harmonious “Big Tent” approach to Judaism. By all accounts, Dalia embodied devotion to Am Yisrael in her work, in her chessed, and in her life.
The time and place of Dalia’s murder cannot be ascribed to “happenstance” or the “confluence of events.” This murder occurred at precisely the spot, just outside the Alon Shvut security gate (yes, my community) where the three boys — Gilad, Eyal, and Naftali, Hy”d — were abducted and murdered last June. She was murdered at the bus stop where she was waiting, because the memorial to the three boys is located there. While standing at the bus stop, Dalia was first incapacitated by the terrorist’s van in an attempted vehicular murder. Then, when she was helpless, she was stabbed viciously and repeatedly, murdered at the base of the monument memorializing the three boys.
That bus stop has become a symbol of the indomitable spirit not to be cowed by our enemies as we live in the Land where our Fathers — Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov — walked, raised families, and started the Jewish people. Dalia was killed at that spot because she is the daughter of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. She was killed on that day as a human sacrifice to the genocidal monster, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Yasser Arafat, may his memory be a curse on his followers.
Almog in Tel Aviv was also an offering to the Cult of Personality and Cult of Death that the deranged among the Palestinians observe. Make no mistake: the Arabs at large and the Palestinians in particular engage in “human sacrifice” — whether by killing Jews, the “other” in their midst, their moderates, their wives and daughters in “honor killings,” and their own children by offering them up as jihadists.
These are my “neighbors,” honored and venerated by the “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas, putative president of the Palestinian Authority.
By murdering Almog and Dalia, two young lights of the Jewish nation, the anniversary of Arafat’s death was “celebrated” just as he lived his life: murdering Jews. He would have wanted it that way.
Meir Solomon is a writer, analyst, and commentator living in Alon Shvut, Israel, with his wife and two children. He can be contacted at msolomon@Hamodia.com.