Friday, March 7, 2008

Eight Dead Students

My daughter carefully laid her plans for today. One of her closest friends gave birth the other day, and was scheduled to come home from the hospital today, and Nechama was involved in the celebrations. Before dawn, however, she received a call from another very close friend, telling that her brother was one of the eight murdered students at Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav (he was 15). So that changed her plans. Funerals take precedence over celebrations that can be delayed. Then, in the early morning, she was called by Magen David Adom. There will be gigantic funerals today, and we need all the volunteer medics to staff the full fleet of ambulances, to be present near the crowds in case anything happens. So she changed her plans again. Potentially saving lives - even if only being on duty for a case that won't happen - takes precedence over being at the funeral with her friend.

Any reasonable person can automatically make the distinction between civilians killed in a battle between armed men, some undoubtedly even by "friendly fire" of their own side, and the premeditated cold blood murder of students sitting in a library, including the seeking out of those hiding behind the stacks. If you can't see the distinction, there isn't really much to discuss, is there.

No matter what the media tells you, Israelis know from first-hand knowledge that they try not to hit civilians. Not always successfully, but the intention is the foundation of morality. And no matter what the apologists may claim, Palestinian society as a society, not only as individuals, does not recognize the distinction.

It's hard to see how peace can be achieved between two societies which are so fundamentally different.

1 comment:

Lydia McGrew said...

One AP story I read about it (it seems to have disappeared now, which is fine) saw fit to say in the first paragraph something to the effect that the Yeshiva is "at the center of the settlement movement." It made me angry. It seemed to imply that somehow the ideology (for want of a better word) of the religious Jews in the yeshiva made them somehow understandable targets. It was pretty odious, just for that line to be there in an article about a massacre. But it reminds me of one of the things in _Right to Exist_ that made an impression on my daughter when she read it--journalists always have to make it appear that they see the pattern in things, that they can tell us what the events "mean" in some grand sense, and that they have some special access to this. They had to say something that would make it sound like they knew why the peaceful yeshiva students were targeted. Couldn't just say an evil murderer came in and slaughtered them, could they?