Israel says goodbye to Rose
Photo: George Ginsberg

What happened to us?

Jewish murderers were the exception in exile; did Israel create new type of Jew?

Last Thursday, when we sat at the newsroom and watched the news reports on the recovery of little Rose’s body, several fellow employees walked up to me and asked: “When you were young, did you believe that a Jew is able to commit such crime?”


Of course not, I replied spontaneously, and immediately added what I have been arguing for years: During our almost 2,000 years of exile, there were barely any murderers among the Jewish people. We had thieves, many of them even, as well as robbers and burglars and conmen; we also had prostitutes and pimps. But you could count the number of murderers on one hand. For close to 2,000 years in exile, Jews adhered to the sixth commandment: Thou shalt not murder.


Indeed, early in the 20th Century we saw several Jewish murderers among the gangsters in New York and Chicago, but they were the exception. This state of affairs was maintained for dozens of years, and also during the first years of the new Jewish state.


I still remember, as if it happened yesterday, the sense of consternation that overwhelmed us in 1949 when a Jewish man killed another man in Tel Aviv’s Meir Park. The entire nation was shocked. “A Jew murdering a fellow Jew here in Tel Aviv? How could it be?” people asked. Yet to anyone who lives in Israel today, these words would seem not only naïve and disconnected from reality, but also belonging to a whole different world.


For years now there has not been a day where someone isn’t murdered in Israel, and at times even a few. In the modern Jewish state people murder because of a parking dispute, a quarrel between dog owners, or the wrong comment uttered in the direction of a girl outside a nightclub. Many have been murdered “just for the hell of it,” not to mention the random victims of the wars among the various crime families.


No end to cruelty 

And everything starts in school; even at elementary schools. Students pull out knives, gangs (including female ones) torture and blackmail others, students assault teachers, and parents assault principals.


A grandfather murders his granddaughter, a father murders his daughter, and mothers murder their babies. There is no end to the brutality, cruelty, and absence of minimal sensitivity for human life. In the State of Israel of all places, where the founders and first citizens dreamed of being a “light unto the nations,” a model to other countries and nations, in this state, which saw the Jewish people return after 2,000 years in exile, so many Jews have lost any sense of restraint or humanity.


No, my friends. When I was young, at the darkest place ever known by humanity, the Auschwitz death camp, I did not believe that a Jew could commit such crimes. I certainly did not believe it when I survived the inferno and arrived at the new Jewish State. Is it possible that our country created a new type of Jew?


פרסום ראשון: 09.14.08, 18:01
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