Early this morning, four rabbis were murdered in Jerusalem as they gathered for morning prayers. The attackers left behind bibles and prayer shawls soaked in Jewish blood. The victims left behind 24 fatherless children. Our prayers are with the victims’ families.
This was a premeditated act of terrorism. The attackers — two cousins from East Jerusalem — entered the synagogue when they knew it would be filled with worshippers and began shooting and hacking while shouting” Allahu Akbar” — Allah is great. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has claimed credit for these murders. And Palestinians in Gaza have been dancing in the streets and handing out sweets to celebrate the bloodshed.
According to the terrorists’ relatives, they killed the rabbis to protest what Israel is doing on the Temple Mount — the place where the First and Second Temples stood and which is now the site of two important Muslim mosques. But what exactly is Israel doing on the Temple Mount other than exercising surprising restraint? Israel liberated this site — the holiest site in Judaism — in 1967. Yet in deference to Muslim sensibilities Israel has allowed a Muslim Authority — the Waqf — to continue governing the Temple Mount. And in further deference to Muslim demands every Israeli government including the current one has forbidden Jews from praying at the Temple Mount. Non-Jews are merely allowed to visit in small groups.
These events should demonstrate an important fact about Israel’s conflict with her neighbors: sometimes restraint is not rewarded. And sometimes, the truth just doesn’t matter. Murderous grievance can flow from complete myth or pure hate. The Christians being crucified, beheaded and murdered by similar Muslim extremists throughout the middle east have fallen to the same evil.
Let us pray for the families of these victims. And let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And let us insist upon telling the truth as the best way to protest these murderers and their lies.