While we were regrouping from a Tisha B’Av with no new Beit Hamikdash, life took a turn for the better when two monumental wrongs were redressed.
Headlines throughout the Jewish world announced the imminent appearance of a long-awaited Jew. No, not the long-awaited Moshiach but Jonathan Pollard, for whom we have waited for nearly a lifetime. Thirty years he has spent languishing in a federal maximum security prison. It is important to understand two common misconceptions related to Jonathan’s case: The White House is NOT releasing him, pardoning him, granting him clemency or commuting his sentence. The White House is merely not “opposing” his request for parole, which is his legal right to seek after serving 30 years of a life sentence. He served, longer by far, than any spy convicted of “espionage.” And this is the second point and essential point. Many have accused Jonathan of “treason,” a crime he never committed. Effectively, the distinction between treason and espionage is that treason is providing assistance to an enemy; Jonathan provided information to Israel, an ally of the United States, making his reprehensible acts fall under the title of “espionage.”
Last week brought justice to a second open and festering wound: Samir Kuntar. Hamodia is not the place to recount the acts of terror committed by Kuntar in the Nahariya attack of 1979. Few readers could stomach the graphic depravity of this monster, who was found guilty of 4 murders. He was released, coincidentally, after 30 years, as part of the 2008 Israel-Hizbullah prisoner swap. Justice from “on high” was meted out to Kuntar as he was reportedly killed by a drone in a targeted surgical strike in Lebanon last Thursday, closing the book on this most heinous, murderous terrorist.
The scales of justice were balanced, albeit too briefly, then quickly thrown out of balance, when on Friday a Molotov cocktail (an incendiary projectile) was tossed into an Arab home in the village of Duma in Yehudah and Shomron, killing Ali Saad Dawabsheh, an 18-month-old child, and leaving his four-year-old brother and mother gravely injured. Investigators indicate the perpetrators were almost certainly Jewish terrorists. To be clear, the act of arson was an act of terror, and if in fact committed by Jews, no less reprehensible than acts of terror committed by Arabs. If the terrorists are a group of Jewish settlers as believed, I renounce them as my partners in the enterprise of settling the Land. There is no quarter for killers in a Land whose purpose is Torah. Their actions were illegal, anti-Torah, immoral and against the laws of society. The government and people of Israel have unanimously and correctly condemned this atrocity. Authorities have promised that those responsible will be caught and punished to the full extent of the law — and so they should.
The terror attack against the Dawabsheh family was arson with the tragic killing of the baby, Ali Saad. The nation of Israel will rejoice when the terrorists are brought to justice, as it did when the terrorists who murdered Mohammed Abu Khdeir last summer were apprehended.
Though it is true that extremism within the settler movement in particular and Judaism in general is virtually unheard of, shamefully it exists and must be eradicated. Today is not the day to congratulate ourselves for making fewer terrorists and saying, “But we are not as BAD as our neighbors,” but to remember that we as a nation were tasked to “be a Light unto the nations” in a world benighted by deranged philosophies and values. Embracing foreign values is not how we fulfill our unique mission. We shall not venerate our terrorists but condemn them according to their vicious crime. Restoring the scales of justice to balance can occur only through the righteous pursuit of justice unbiased by a sentence handed down through the media or by demagogues making political points by “outdoing” each other in condemning the (presumed) Jewish terrorists.
Meir Solomon is a writer, analyst, and commentator living in Alon Shvut, Israel, with his wife and two wonderful children. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.