Just at the end of the shiva period for her son, Naftali, Rachel Fraenkel offered condolences to the parents of Muhammed Abu Khdeir’s parents and condemned the killing. Every government official from the Prime Minister to local mayors, from politicians on the far right to those on the far left, along with Israel’s chief rabbis and the Israeli news sources have condemned the teen’s murder.
Adding my name to a long list of Jewish and Israeli bloggers’ condemnations felt at least like something tangible to do with the disbelief and shame that the killing evoked across the Jewish world and throughout Israel.
Objections have been leveled against those who point out that in Palestinian towns, people react with celebration, rather than with shame, to the murders of Neftali, Eyal, and Gilad; that unlike Israel’s government, the Hamas government praises kidnappings, advocates for continued such “operations,” and in this case increased their rocket firing at Israeli cities once the three boys were kidnapped. The killers of the Jewish boys are hailed as heroes, while the perpetrators of the murder of the Arab Israeli boy have shamed their whole country and will be shunned as well as jailed.
These differences represent contrasting values but not so for some, like Anshel Pfeffer who writes in Haaretz “We are all to blame...” for Muhammed’s death. And yet, certainly all Palestinians are not to blame for the terrible murders of Gilad, Eyal, and Naftali.
Isn’t acknowledging Israel’s basic humane values especially important when those values are betrayed?