Unbearable. Another terror attack!!
This one on Friday afternoon. A car ramming at a bus stop in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem.
See a video of the way the terrorist veered suddenly and directly into the bus stop.
The report that came through immediately after the attack, before Shabbat, was that a six-year-old boy, Yaakov Yisroel Paley (right, below), had been killed and several others injured, two critically.
Over Shabbat, Yaakov’s eight-year-old brother, Asher Menachem succumbed to his injuries.
Their father, Avraham Noach Paley, and ten-year-old brother were also injured. Avraham is in serious but stable condition. On a respirator and sedated, he does not yet know of the loss of his two boys.
Please, pray for him: Avraham Noach ben Yehudit.
The brother, Moshe, who had been lightly injured, came out of the hospital quickly and was able to be with his mother for both funerals, for Yaakov on Friday afternoon and Asher on Saturday night.
An uncle of the boys, brother to their mother, described them: “There was something very special about them in terms of goodness and purity. Let’s hope that these will be the last victims from the people of Israel, who will only see goodness, salvation and comfort.”
I found his lack of acrimony amazing. I myself felt fairly overwhelmed with anger.
The boys’ mother is showing extraordinary resilience. She has several other children and says she must remain strong for them.
Twenty-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman, a rabbinical student, also died of his injuries over Shabbat. He was standing at the Ramot bus stop with his wife of less than six months; they were on their way to his parents for Shabbat. He wife was uninjured, but was splashed with his blood. She is inconsolable.
Three others were injured in the attack. Two men in their twenties, both in serious condition, and a ten-year-old boy in good condition.
The terrorist was an Israeli Arab from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, near Hebrew University on Mount Scopus.
There were reports that he was mentally ill. While that may have been the case, it was discovered that he praised terror organizations such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Lions’ Den on social media.
He was shot dead at the scene – varying reports said by an off-duty police officer and by a civilian.
As is par for the course, sweets were handed out in Gaza and elsewhere in celebration of this attack.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad put out a message: “We affirm …this blessed operation, which healed the hearts of our people…” This chilling statement reminds us whom we are facing.
Public Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir was enraged by this attack, and focused on the fact that several times now the perpetrators of attacks have not been Palestinian Arabs but Arabs with Israeli citizenship or Jerusalem residency cards. Issawiya, in particular, he said, had become a terrorist hotbed: Several attacks and attempted attacks of late had involved Arabs living in Issawiya.
What Ben Gvir proposed was “Defensive Shield 2” for eastern Jerusalem. Defensive Shield, initiated by the IDF in 2002 in Judea & Samaria, was in response to the Intifada.
The response to this was not positive and he was accused of trying to exceed the authority of his ministry. His response:
“I certainly have the authority. The intention of a [Defensive] Shield 2 operation is not to release tanks into the streets and targeted areas, but to start enforcing the law.” (Emphasis added)
And with this he had made a very significant point. Among the steps he has instructed police to take is to detain and arrest 150 terror suspects already known to the Shin Bet. And the question is why they have not been detained and at least interrogated to date.
Most important is this:
“’East[ern] Jerusalem has become an ex-territory in the heart of the State of Israel, and a hotbed of terrorism and enormous crime: this includes nationalist and civil crime as well as wild incitement in mosques and in educational materials,’ a source close to Ben-Gvir said.
“The source explained that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority…have their tentacles in the eastern part of the city and that this infrastructure must be rooted out.”
It is reported that the police are not in favor of this, as it might “inflame” the situation rather than decrease tension. What this apparently means is letting terrorism fester relatively undeterred so that things remain quiet – until there’s another explosion, of course. This is a leftist perspective, and a most regrettable one. In the end we pay.
My take: Ben Gvir knows what he’s doing but his stance unfortunately rattles people who see him as too “radical.” He talks tough.
Of course, the question, again, is how we have come to this place??
The most controversial part of what he proposes is “sealing off” Issawiya. I am not clear precisely what this would entail. One version I encountered said that there would be checkpoints for all those coming out of that neighborhood, which really doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me, even if it would cause major traffic delays. (Guaranteed: weapons would be caught in the possession of some coming out.) Residents of the neighborhood would not be prevented from coming and going – but it is being interpreted as a “collective punishment.”
I am much more concerned about saving Jewish lives than I am in saving the residents of Issawiya from inconvenience.
Ben Gvir is discussing his plans with the prime minister and the Security Cabinet. There are additional aspects that we will be hearing about. Demolition of illegal housing in eastern Jerusalem is continuing; the house of this most recent terrorist has been sealed and will be taken down. He wants those who are inciting (in the mosques, in particular) to be arrested; and he is talking about the death penalty for terrorists down the road.
The past Saturday night, funerals were held for two victims of the terror attack, Asher Menachem Paley and Alter Shlomo Lederman.
During the time of those funerals, left wing “crazies” continued their demonstrations – in Tel Aviv, and here in Jerusalem (not far from me). Demonstrations ostensibly to “save” the country from the “anti-democratic judicial reform” being planned by the coalition.
The demonstrators did not cancel their protests out of respect for the deceased. And their failure to do so was despicable – perhaps the collective action that is most telling regarding who they are.
Ruthie Blum wrote incisively about this situation (emphasis added):
“All those who took to the streets in the immediate aftermath of such horrors should be ashamed of themselves. They won’t, of course. They’re too busy moralizing about the ‘death of Israeli democracy’ to mourn dead Israelis.”
Last night, a visibly shaken Present Yitzhak Herzog addressed the nation.
He feared for Israel’s future, he said, with regard to differences concerning the judicial reform:
“We are in the midst of fateful days for our nation and for our country. We have for quite some time now not been in a political debate but on the brink of constitutional and social collapse.”
He then proposed principles for moving ahead on judicial reform with some compromises. He was not suggesting no changes be made. You can see his proposals here:
Herzog asked that the proposed reforms not be brought to the Knesset for the first vote at this time.
The coalition expressed readiness to discuss compromise but refused to delay the first reading.
MK Simcha Rothman RZP), chairman of the Law and Constitution Committee running the discussions on the Judicial Reform bills said that Herzog’s request that the proposals be delayed is an opposition move; he would not countenance a delay in moving ahead. But that did not mean he was opposed to negotiation. Already by February 9th, Rothman had said “We are ready for negotiations, but without preconditions.”
And now, Rothman said (emphasis added): “I welcome the president’s initiative to hold a real dialogue to deal with ways to correct the judicial system and to restore the relationship between it and the other branches of government.
“Long before discussing the various details and significant questions about the basic laws…I need to say how touched I was to hear the president’s words, which were said out of sincerity and concern for the unity of the people….
“There are parts of the president’s proposal that are correct in my eyes and other parts that I believe need to be adjusted to solve the problems we are experiencing and that we promised our voters to address. However, with honest talks between the opposition and the coalition, I believe we can narrow the gaps and strive for a plan that will enjoy broad agreement.”
Justice Minister Yariv Levin said there are positive elements to the president’s proposal and that talks should begin right away. But he was also wary of the opposition using a delay as a tactic to stop the process, and so indicated that the legislation would go forward. Before a bill becomes law it must pass in the Knesset for three readings, with a period of time – weeks if not months between the first and subsequent readings. Levin said there would be time to conclude negotiations before the second or third vote.”
Today the Law and Constitution Committee in the Knesset voted to advance the legislation for that first vote in the plenum.
And so they came out again by the tens of thousands, to Jerusalem, to demonstrate against the process that was moving the legislation for judicial reform forward. How many even remotely understand the legal issues, rather than absorbing what their leaders have told them?
Please note carefully what Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), head of the opposition, said at the rally:
“I want to tell you what is happening right now in the Knesset…I want you to know: They hear us…They hear the call of real strength. They hear our power and our commitment. They pretend they cannot hear us, and they pretend not to care, but they hear and they are scared…
“On the outside, they are laughing cynically…but on the inside, in the inner rooms, they are trembling…
“They hear us, and suddenly, they discover that we are not willing to play the game the way they planned it. We are not here just to pay taxes and send our kids to the military. We will not shut ourselves at home while they try to turn the State of Israel into a dark dictatorship and silence us…
“…we will not stay quiet as they destroy everything that is precious and sacred to us…
“The struggle won’t end today. It will be long…
“We will fight in the streets, will fight in the building, we will fight until we win.”
See him for the destructive and delusional rabblerouser that he is.
This is not about judicial reform. This about a refusal to accept a democratic election that put the right-wing into power. He is doing incredible damage to the nation.
The reforms incorporated in the legislation will increase democracy, not weaken it, as Lapid et al would have the multitude of protesters believe. See a brief video from Kohelet explaining this:
Commentator Caroline Glick has written, “It’s not about democracy: The left isn’t worried about democracy. It doesn’t like democracy. It likes its oligarchy.“
And she provides multiple examples of the hypocrisy of the left on this issue. The leaders against the reforms not so long ago were for them.
Don’t miss this and be sure to share it.
Where are we now?
Levin (left) and Rothman issued a joint statement inviting opposition leaders to meet — as soon as this evening — at President Herzog’s official residence in Jerusalem to discuss the compromise proposal, without preconditions.
Lapid has now responded that he will only join negotiations if the legal process is halted. This is something Levin and Rothman will not countenance. They are convinced that once it is stopped, pending resolution of differences, it will never be started again. And I am certain they are correct.
Benny Gantz (National Unity Party) has provided the same response.
Tonight, Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted:
“I call on the leaders of the opposition: Stop this. Stop deliberately dragging the country into anarchy. Get over yourself. Show responsibility and leadership because you’re doing the exact opposite.”
He explicitly referred to Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai, who said, “Dictatorships only become democratic again with bloodshed.”
I will be returning with additional news and analysis in very short order.
We will weather this, with the help of the Almighty. As you pray for the recovery of Avraham Noach Paley, please, pray for Israel as well.
Sadly, I must end with news of additional terror attacks.
A 20-year-old Israeli man was stabbed by an Arab terrorist Monday afternoon in the Old City of Jerusalem. The stabber was apprehended: a 14-year-old. The victim, brought to the hospital, is in good condition.
This evening, just hours later, a Border Police officer was stabbed at the Anata Checkpoint in eastern Jerusalem when an inspection on a bus was in process. A civilian security guard responded by shooting at the attacker; the Border Police officer who was stabbed was hit by a bullet. He is in critical condition.
The Arab attacker in this instance was 13-years-old.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.