Dear Chaverot, Dear Friends,
Yesterday marked one of the bloodiest days in recent memory, with the stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, the attempted hit-and run that became a stabbing at Gush Etzion, and more violent riots in Kafr Kanna and other Arab communities in Israel, .
More Israelis have been murdered from attacks by terrorists from the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the last month than in the past two years combined. The dismal statistic comes as uncertainty and fear of more violence prevailed in the wake of two deadly stabbing attacks in Tel Aviv and Alon Shvut on Monday.
Furthermore, more than 100 Israelis have been wounded in the past month due to terror attacks with perpetrators coming from the West Bank.
Almog Shiloni and Dalia Lemkus were killed Monday
Last week, Druze border patrol officer Jadan Assad, 38, and Yeshiva student Shalom Baadani, 17, were killed when a Palestinian terrorist rammed into a crowd of people at a Jerusalem light rail station.
A week prior, right-wing activist Yehuda Glick was shot outside of a convention in the heart of Jerusalem advocating Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount.
His attack came a week after three-month-old Haya Zissel Braun and 22-year-old Ecuadorian Karen Mosquera were killed by a terrorist who also drove a car into a Jerusalem light rail station.
The two terrorist stabbing attacks yesterday claimed the lives of two young Israelis and left three others wounded during a day of unrest across the Holy Land.
The first stabbing took place at a train station in central Tel Aviv, where an 18-year-old Palestinian youth attacked a young Israeli soldier – Almog Shiloni . The soldier was stabbed repeatedly in the leg while the assailant tried to seize his automatic rifle. A passerby who tried to intervene was lightly wounded.
The injured soldier was found without a pulse by first responders, and underwent emergency surgery. He later succumbed to his wounds. He has a twin brother.
Tel Aviv residents have begun to voice concern for their safety; Monday’s attack marked the first in the metropolis since the start of the wave of terrorism that has swept Jerusalem and its nearby settlements.
Eitan, a resident of Lod, also expressed concern as he uses the train station where the attack occurred on Monday every day. “I left the train station now and looked right and left, I was not indifferent like I usually am. We are seeing that (the attacks are) going beyond the borders of Jerusalem, (they) have arrived in Tel Aviv, and this means it is not the end,” he said. “An appropriate response is required here. These are attacks that are very hard to stop and I am very hesitant of the situation,” Eitan added.
The second attack occurred a very short time later at a bus stop near the Judean cluster of Jewish communities known as the Etzion Bloc – not far from where the three teenagers were abducted earlier this year. . There, a Palestinian man attempted to carry out yet another vehicular terror attack by ramming three people waiting at the bus stop. When that failed, he leapt from the car and began stabbing his intended victims.
26-year-old Israeli woman Dalia Lemkus. was killed after being stabbed in the neck, and two other people were wounded, one seriously, before a nearby security guard shot and subdued the attacker.
Both terrorists were arrested. The first was identified as a follower of Hamas, while the second is a known member of Islamic Jihad. In other violence, Palestinian Arabs stoned public buses and Jerusalem’s light rail, causing damage, but no injuries.
A day earlier, an Israeli man narrowly escaped being lynched when his car was surrounded at the entrance to the Arab town of Tayibe. A local man saved the frightened Jewish victim by pulling him away from the scene just before his car was torched.
The latest escalation of violence is being pinned on last Friday’s killing by police of a crazed knife-wielding Arab man near Nazareth. Kheir Hamdan was among thousands who were violently demonstrating against Israel when police showed up in the village of Kfar Kanna. Hamdan rushed the police van and began hitting the windows with his knife before being shot.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected such justification for this new wave of violence, and vowed that those behind it would fail in their effort to “kick us (the Jews) out of here.”
a meeting of his Likud faction on Monday, Netanyahu said that “all those who are shouting against Israel and demonstrating against it — you are welcome to move to the Palestinian Authority or to Gaza, Israel won’t stand in the way.”
Security forces are bolstering their presence in major cities and the West Bank, in the wake of the two deadly terror attacks yesterday, as Israelis cope with a growing sense of insecurity and the government strives to restore their sense of personal safety.
Palestinians who have work permits to work in Israel, say they have children to feed and the violence achieves nothing, and harms them and others that just want to provide for their families. It is a pity that the moderate Palestinian voices are neither heard nor considered.
Also yesterday, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef asked the papal ambassador to Israel, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, to enlist the help of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in easing the tension and violence in Jerusalem and Israel that has beset the country in recent weeks.
Yosef met with Apostolic Nunico Lazzarotto at the offices of the Chief Rabbinate in the capital and said that religious leaders should use their influence to impart to the adherents of their faiths the central concept of the sanctity of life and the requirement to refrain from shedding the blood of others.
“Jerusalem was given by God to the Jewish people thousands of years ago and we do not need to concede our sovereignty over it, but at the same time the Bible says ‘My house will be a house of prayer for all peoples,’” Yosef told Lazzarotto
“Therefore we must allow people from all faiths to pray there if they so wish, while our utmost desire is to prevent bloodshed and to reduce the tensions, [because] the purpose of faith is to bring good and peace to all, and not the opposite, God forbid,” the chief rabbi continued.
Let us pray that he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.