We Have Learned Nothing

Thursday's attack was not aimed only at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, but at the entire Zionist project. Anyone who thinks otherwise is indulging in self-delusion.

We have learned nothing from the rift in this nation after the murder of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The left has learned nothing, just as the religious sector. This is the main conclusion from the acrimonious public debate after last week's terrorist attack at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem.

If this attack continues to be used as a political tool, it will become a terrorist attack on religious people. That would be sad and unnecessary.

Religious people repeatedly recount the severe trauma they suffered because of Rabin's assassination. They speak of the tears they shed at Rachel's Tomb, or while traveling to or from there, after they heard of the murder, which occurred on the anniversary of the death of one of Judaism's matriarchs.

The left made a grave error in laying the responsibility for the murder on the right wing, and on the religious right wing in particular. In so doing, the left besmirched the religious right and in effect denied it the right and will to participate in the general atmosphere of mourning.

In this way, ridiculous conspiracy theories were born. This also spawned the statement that Rabin's murder was no different from any other murder. But beyond all that, the memorial day for Rabin's death became a secular event instead of one that unified the nation (as opposed to only the left wing), whose prime minister had been assassinated.

One might have expected the religious public's leaders to learn the lesson and act very differently from the way they reacted to the attack on Mercaz Harav. It seems the deep social rupture, coupled with a strong impulse to engage in political battles, prevailed over any lesson.

The religious public's spokespeople accuse the government of being responsible for the attack. Some of the students from the yeshiva complained that a terrorist attack at a university would have been regarded as more serious. Education Minister Yuli Tamir was approached by an angry mob when she visited the yeshiva.

But the right wing is not the only guilty party. People on the left could have refrained from counting the settlement-related sins of the yeshiva's alumni, students, and the alumni's students. In so doing, they implied they might have had it coming.

After all, the settlement project won't be going anywhere during the mourning - and apparently it won't be going anywhere for a long time after that. We need to remember that children are children, and a place of learning is still a place of learning. The attack was not aimed only at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, but at the entire Zionist project. Anyone who thinks otherwise is indulging in self-delusion.

Once again it emerged that we have lost our ability to remain united even in our grief. Again, it became apparent that even when we are suffering, we prefer to lay the blame on our political adversary rather than wipe away our tears.

The position of leftists who say that the settlers are not their brothers is understandable, even if one doesn't necessarily agree. The position held by rightists that the leftists aren't Jewish is likewise understandable, even if unacceptable. What is not understandable is the myopia of each side, which refuse to acknowledge that we are one people, whether we like it or not, and that we are forced to live together whether we desire it or not.

These squabbles are so ridiculous at a time when we are being butchered. We are like Siamese twins clawing at the single heart we share. On the other hand, the people who dispatched the terrorist must be pleased.