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Attacks in Itamar and Jerusalem Leave Jewish People Wounded and Confused

March 23, 2011

The Jewish world is still reeling from the murder of five members of a Jewish family, the Fogel family, in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, and now we are hit with the news of the bomb in Jerusalem's central bus station. Master of the Universe, how much more pain can we bear?

Beyond our sorrow over the dead and wounded, we lament the spiritual impact this tragedy has on the Jewish people. On the one hand, so many Jews are returning to Torah, so many Jews are studying Torah and learning its truths. The spread of Torah is the most powerful antidote to the false ideal of Zionism, which claims that the Jewish people no longer needs to wait for the messiah in order to reestablish itself in its homeland.

But the Satan, the Evil Inclination, fearing that his plan to pull Jews away from Torah and into Zionism will one day fail, has resolved to keep subjecting the Jewish people to more and more trials of faith. He has been granted permission to inspire savage individuals to commit acts of terrorism against Jews in the Holy Land, knowing that Jews will react by strengthening the forbidden state even more, believing that it is their only protection against more such attacks.

And indeed, the Satan seems to have achieved his goal. Look at the Israeli government's reaction to the massacre:

The ministerial committee on settlement affairs decided Saturday night, March 12, to approve the construction of hundreds of housing units in several West Bank settlements, a move responding to the fatal stabbing attack on a family of five in the settlement of Itamar on Friday.

The approval of further settlement building follows several long months wherein no construction was approved. The move involves measured construction of several hundred housing units within settlement blocs.

Some 500 housing units are due for construction in the settlements of Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, and Kiryat Sefer.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said, “I would not stop with 400 units, we need at least 1,000 new housing units for each person murdered.”

“After this terrible and shocking murder, nothing will comfort the families,” Yishai said. “The [Palestinian] Authority is raising a generation of murderers.”

And Agudath Israel included the following in their statement of reaction:

May the world be left with something too: a better appreciation of why Israelis might be reluctant to trust the intentions of people who hate them so viscerally, and of authorities whose media and school textbooks feed demonization of "Zionists" to their violence-prone culture.

The horrific events of the last two weeks have greatly deepened Jewish mistrust of Palestinians and are therefore going to make it more difficult for Jews to abandon Zionism. Thus these events were both tragedies and trials. May G-d have mercy on His people and not send us any more of either.