For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Terrorist arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s son, Abdel-Rauf, stood teary-eyed before TV interviewers and lavished praise on his deceased father. He bragged that the late lamented, who was discovered dead in Dubai, “fought the Jews, hit the Jews, kidnapped and killed Israelis. He outfitted and dispatched suicide bombers.” That evidently made him an object for admiration, a source of honor and a claim to fame. Killing Jews is a noble objective, one to take pride in, to revere.
So when we Israelis point to Mabhouh’s gory record, it isn’t just our biased say-so. It’s hardly an unsubstantiated allegation, a pretext to justify assassination. His own son concedes this, indeed he crows about it as the paramount tribute he can pay his father.
And it isn’t a mournful son’s subjective or self-serving aggrandizement either. Hamas issued an official statement celebrating its latest shahid (martyr). Prominent in the Hamas-compiled catalog of Mabhouh glories are the 1989 abduction-murders of IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon.
By the boastful admission of both his kin and organization, Mabhouh’s hands were bloodstained. Hence, by the Arabs’ own rules of engagement, he was liable for reprisal. The principal code governing these rules is dam butlab dam (blood begets blood).
Because of this core premise Hamas now vows to wreak the most horrific vengeance on Israel, actual proof of Israeli culpability for Mabhouh’s demise being entirely immaterial. All Israelis are therefore fair game. This is the elementary protocol of the blood feud.
But here’s where we encounter our enemies’ cynical lopsided logic. By their own rules – assuming for argument’s sake that we submit ourselves to them – we should be perceived just as entitled as they to hunt down and kill whoever killed our own. Yet our retribution is condemned a priori as illegitimate. The right to avenge Mabhouh’s death is unchallenged, whereas the right to avenge Mabhouh’s victims is categorically denied. What is valid, in fact a sacred duty for one side, is intolerable and entirely villainous for the other.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"