Let’s make this clear–whatever feelings one might have about Israeli policy in the West Bank, the murder of the Fogel family in Itamar, three children (including a baby) and their parents, sleeping in their home, was a monstrous act. It wasn’t an act of resistance or rebellion, it was an act of butchery, and a reminder that, whatever crimes Israel may have committed, there are some pretty despicable individuals and organizations on the other side, who really do want to murder Jews (Jewdar thinks that the murder of a four-year old and three-month old in their beds is suitably divorced from the realm of geopolitics to ascribe more base motives to the killer).
That said, we would like to take this time to criticize Israel’s government for taking a moment which should be either a time of mourning or, if one wishes to be cynical, a time of exploiting mourning for world sympathy, and turning it into another typical PR disaster. A day after the murders, the Israeli government exploited them to call for four hundred more units of housing to be built in the West Bank.
From the perspective of the Israeli Right, this is wonderful stuff. it gives them a pretext to do what they wanted to do anyway. And it converts any sympathy the world might have had into anger at Israel. Which, of course, allows the Israeli Right to continue nursing their martyr complex and their feeling that everybody’s an antisemite and therefore, Israel never needs to modify its policies since that won’t change anything.
As for Jewdar, we hope that the survivors of the Fogel family should be comforted with the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. And while we recognize and respect the fact that some of them have a perfectly reasonable personal desire for revenge and to make use of this for their larger political goals, still, we would like to give the last word to Udi Fogel’s brother, Motti.
“All of the slogans we hear are trying to efface the simple fact that you’re dead, and nothing can efface that. This funeral has to be a private affair,” Fogel said, adding: “A man dies to himself, to his children. Udi, you are no a national event. You’re horrible death mustn’t make your life into a tool.”
“Udi, my young brother, you made me wake up today at 6:15 in the morning, and you know how hard that is for me. Everything I could say would be a cliché. If I could, I’d chase out everyone who came here and whisper to you, ‘Udi, let’s go play soccer.’