Raz Atias' grave
Photo: Moti Kimchi
Guns and abortions
Op-ed: Attack on anti-abortion group in tragedy's aftermath diverted attention from real problem

An 18 year old steals his father's handgun, tries to commit suicide along with his pregnant girlfriend, opens fire at police officers who arrive at the scene to save them and is killed when they return fire. Seemingly, such an incident should have triggered a public debate on these young gunslingers' sources of inspiration, but instead we saw an all-out attack on the anti-abortion group EFRAT. Extreme pro-abortion liberal circles took advantage of the tragedy to publicize their traditional fight against the organization, and all fingers were pointed in its direction.


Apart from the shooting police officers, who were cleared of any wrongdoing within hours, only EFRAT was asked to explain its role in the tragedy. Diligent television researchers worked around the clock to expose EFRAT's scheme, and telephone receptionists at the organization's hotline operators were recorded as they were trying to talk the researchers, who did not identify themselves, out of getting an abortion. The people of Israel got the impression that the crime was solved.


Of course, a public debate on the methods used by EFRAT and other organizations to convince women to get abortions is legitimate, but the focus on this particular debate in the aftermath of such a shocking incident is an outrageous diversion from the real problem that has been exposed.


No one really believes that preaching against abortions is the way to prevent the next tragedy. Even those who are against EFRAT should admit that, at the very least, it truly values human life. Its message is the exact opposite of the gun used by the incident's tragic hero.


Therefore, the microphones and cameras should have been pointed mainly at the adult environment that influenced the shooter: What message was it sending him regarding the sanctity of human life? What values was he raised on, if any? What movie was he thinking about when he opened fire on the police officers? What caused the young naval cadet and his girlfriend to make a suicide pact? Where did they draw their inspiration from? Who were his Facebook friends? Where did he hang out? And how did a 17-year-old girl get pregnant? This is a somewhat intimate issue, but it is actually a cultural one. After such a tragedy, we should courageously explore this issue as well.




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