Photo: Yisrael Bardugo
I'll start by declaring that all of us condemn the acts committed by Yaakov Teitel in every way possible. Murder is a terrible and intolerable act. There is no need to demonstrate how deeply Judaism objects to and rejects any act of violence, and particularly the most terrible act, murder. There is no forgiving the killer.
After this important introduction, I wanted to focus on the codename that has accompanied the main headlines in respect to this affair – the bombastic statement: "Jewish terrorist."
Imagine that: We have a recent Jewish Nobel Prize laureate, a Jewish representative in the NBA, we have an anti-Semitic Jew called Goldstone, and now, Thank God, we finally have a Jewish terrorist too. It's so great you arrived, Teitel; what would we do without you?
Authorities believe Yaakov Teitel of Shvut Rachel murdered two Arabs, planted pipe bomb which injured Hebrew University's Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell, as well as multiple explosive devices in other incidents. Lawyer: He's mentally unstable
In Israel these days, if an affair is not given a code comprising two or three words, it doesn't really constitute a dramatic story. Take a look at how many such items we saw this past year: The starving mother, the abusive rabbi, the Jewish terrorist, and others.
The one common attribute to these stories is that they all pertain to religious people. I have no desire to defend them in my article, but I do wonder about the editor who sits in the dark rooms of the media world and comes up with the catchy phrases behind the scenes. I also wonder why do these headlines are given to affairs involving a religious or haredi person.
Here are a few recent examples of stories that did not prompt a "Jewish terrorist" headline even though they could have easily fit the bill: Michael Fischer, who murdered his family, Asaf Goldring who slaughtered his helpless young daughter, and others. These stories were not given codenames such as "the massacring cop" or "the leftist butcher." It appears that only religious people prompt the most creative minds within the secular media world to come up great creativity.
The identity of the victims is irrelevant; regardless of whether they are Jewish or Arab, a murderer is a murderer, and if a person who murdered his wife and three children does not fit the "terrorist" category, I see no reason to do so when the victims are members of a different ethnicity or in case the murderer is religious.
I wrote this article for a general media outlet, thereby taking the risk that this item too will get a two- or three-word title, as befits the fact that I'm an ultra-Orthodox man. Here's my proposal: The scrawling orthodox.