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.
The cruelty of the public execution of a young man who had family and friends, as it was the case with Vittorio Arrigoni's killing, is always awful. And this is clear. What isn’t clear to the European public is that it is patently evident that the killers are his old Islamic Jihadists friends from Gaza. But they could have been Afghanis, or Iraqis. In 2002, Daniel Pearl was killed in Karachi with similar methods because he was a Jew; in 2004 the decapitation of the American Nick Berg in Iraq was filmed, the Jihadists said, to give a clear message to the West; the Italian Fabrizio Quattrocchi was executed because he was an enemy of God, an enemy of Allah and Vittorio Arrigoni, as his butchers say it in the video, in the words that scroll across the screen, because he was spreading western immorality in Gaza and because Italy fights against Islamic countries. It has been repeated again and again that Hamas, with whom Arrigoni was on friendly terms, has condemned the crime. But in actual fact it doesn’t matter if the assassins are members of Hamas or not. They have been, they will be, they are all controlled by Hamas. Even Al Qaida, which has a presence in Gaza, is seen by Hamas in a better or worse light, depending on the moment. But Hamas is always top dog in Gaza.
Hamas is responsible for the captivity of Gilad Shalit; it was responsible for the armed destruction of the UN recreational camp for children, which did not abide by Islamic dictates; it was responsible for arresting 150 women under the accusation of witchcraft and the execution of several of them; it is Hamas that has introduced by law death penalty, whipping, cutting off hands and crucifixion, according to Sharia. Hamas killed the 32-year old Christian book salesman Rami Khader Ayyad, guilty of selling Bibles. Not all those who carry out these operations, or which Hamas gives orders to fire Qassam missiles against Israel, are members of the terrorist organization that rules Gaza; indeed at times it pretend to fight them. Hamas is a movement, a party, a fundamentalist State. Its statute stipulates that it wants to destroy the Jewish State, to exterminate Jews and impose an Islamic caliphate on the entire world. Salafite fringes and those linked more to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, those influenced to a greater or lesser extent by Iran or Al Qaeda and based in the Gaza Strip, join up and leave Hamas by turns. The fact that Hamas has now disowned the killers of Arrigoni is not of the slightest importance. In any case, they were still employed by Hamas as members of the Al Qassam Brigades.
To understand the death of this Italian activist, one important fact must be grasped: his death was triggered by the spurious way he mixed his humanitarian ideals with the cause of fundamentalist Gaza, by the fact that he mixed his life with that of his potential enemies, that he thought about as his best friends. But fundamentalists do not have stable affinities. Only their interpretation of Quran counts. Hamas Gaza, where Arrigoni has been killed, is for us a land ruled by awful and distant laws. Arrigoni loved the Palestinians, but he remained a total foreigner for them. It is for us unconcivable, even if you are a militant like Arrigoni, to live alongside those who fire missiles on civilians, wear belts packed with explosives and hand out sweets when an Israeli family is killed in Itamar, including a three months baby, a four years old child and another of nine.
This is a crucial issue: when you go to Gaza, or Afghanistan, you have to realise that our conception of life, is complitely different from any Islamic political conception of life. You can die because you are Jewish, because you are Italian, or Christian, because you are an apostate, or a corrupt Westerner... the extremist mentality, make no bones about it, cancels out friends and allies. No matter how much you have worked against the Zionist power or that you have called Zionists rats (and Arrigoni did this), nothing is of any worth if you break their rule, a rule which will remain unclear until the knife blade comes. Arrigoni was fan of political Islamism because he was an enemy of the Jews, but this did not save him from a cruel execution in front of the camera, just as the one of many others friends or enemies of Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, never mind.
So it is intellectually sad and even dangerous that a demonstration in front of the Italian Parliament blamed Israel and Italy for Arrigoni’s death; or that the ISM, the pro-Palestinian NGO Arrigoni belonged to, attributed moral responsibility to the State of Israel. These reactions seem to be triggered only by ideological hatred. But what is more striking still, with sincerest respect for the figure of the President of Republic, was the statement of condolences which Giorgio Napolitano rightly delivered; instead of laying the blame on Islamic fundamentalism, he asked that a negotiated solution be found to the conflict which sees bloodshed in the region. With the same coherence, he could have invoked any good cause: the fight against world hunger, or child prostitution. Yet instead, Israel is being summoned to face some mysterious responsibility. But the fault is only of Islamic fundamentalism; what is the point of dragging the pained witness and victim of Hamas terrorism into the question?
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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!"