Killing a Palestinian Baby Twice

What would the sages say about these new Jews, the neo-fanatics? They would decree destruction because of unjustified hatred.

Shoham Smith
Shoham Smith
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Screenshot from wedding video shows men burning a photo of Ali Dawabsheh, a Palestinian baby killed with his mother Reham and father Saad in the arson attack on the family home in Duma.
Screenshot from wedding video shows men burning a photo of Ali Dawabsheh, a Palestinian baby killed with his mother Reham and father Saad in the arson attack on the family home in Duma. Credit: Courtesy of Channel 2
Shoham Smith
Shoham Smith

A cluster of men awash in ecstasy, guns waving in the air, a firebomb and knife that keeps stabbing a photo of a baby who has already been murdered – what a barbaric, cannibalistic, terrifying way to hold a wedding party.

But there is method to the madness and this voodoo worship. Avenge but one of my two eyes on Palestine, sing the celebrants. An eye for an eye, and a house for a house. This young, distinguished couple – he has a diploma in church arson, she a proud daughter of Kahane Lives – does not suffice with building a home in Israel. His method is to burn a Palestinian family for every home established in Israel. And you kill a Palestinian baby twice, as in the Dahlia Ravikovitch song.

I examine these unbelievable images (although in our reality everything is believable) and think about another celebration, a meal from 2,000 years ago hosted by one of Jerusalems rich residents, to which because of an unfortunate mistake someone he hated rather than someone he loved was invited. The legend of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza is one of the most famous of the destruction of Jerusalem. Its heroes are rich and insensitive, and his uninvited guest, Bar Kamtza, makes every effort to fit in the celebration. He is prepared to pay for his portion. He is prepared to pay for all the diners. However, the rich man rejects all his generous offers and sends him away in front of all the invited guests. They watch the scene, and none of them protests. No one gets up to defend the guest or leave the feast.

Now, watching the horror show on screen, the hilltop youths wedding of blood, the sages harsh legend pales in comparison and seems like a softened version for toddlers. Silence has turned into dance, rejection into murder. And its not Jerusalem that is recalled at their happiest hour, but evil, hatred, racism, murder, all portrayed through ritual objects.

What would the Talmud sages say about these new Jews, the neo-fanatics for whom firebombs and rifles are their faith? If we draw conclusions from legend, the sages would not define them as wild thorns and they would not see in the disturbing pictures, like the prime minister does, testimony as to how important a strong Shin Bet is for all of us. They would decree upon them, and upon all of us, destruction because of unjustified hatred. We have brought the destruction upon ourselves. However, many – too many – deny this.

I am reminded of another photograph – not of a wedding, but displaying just the opposite. The scene portrays a good example of the humanity of Nasser Dawabsheh, the uncle of the baby Ali, in a lamentation he delivered at the solidarity rally held in Rabin Square a few days after the terrifying murder and of the audience that listened to him in silence, respect and powerlessness.

Even if things look obvious, perhaps it is better to reexamine the gaping chasm between the extreme right and the extreme left. The main characteristic of the extreme right is unrestrained violence. The more extreme they are, the more violence is legitimate and extreme. Only the extreme right murders innocent civilians because of their ethnicity, their positions or sexual tendencies. Only the far right dances on blood.

An extreme leftist is characterized by growing preparedness to give up, to compromise, to take responsibility for the conflict. They demonize all this. They demonize anyone who tries to do what Bar Kamtza did and failed to do.

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