17 Cheshvan 5778
6 November 2017
The News on the Israeli Street
Palestinian terror in the last 24 hours . . .
The endless, internationally-unreported, reign of Palestinian terror continued unabated on Sunday with numerous attacks on Israeli women, children, and men throughout Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem.
*”Rock” and Molotov attacks took place at A-Tor, Sloan, Balata, the T-Tuku Junction, Tekoa, Lubban a-Sharqiya, Gush Etzion, An Anun, Hevron, Hizma, Hawara, and a myriad of other places.
*One “rock” attack took place in Givatayim of all places. Palestinian workers high up in a building at a construction site in the Borochov neighborhood of the city began throwing concrete blocks and other building materials at a kindergarten located beside the site.
At a kindergarten.
In an obvious attempt to kill Israeli children.
Ninety of the kindergarteners, aged 3 and 4, had to be evacuated. Eventually the police arrived and arrested two terrorists.
*Meanwhile Hamas fired 16 “experimental missiles” into the sea. All of southern Israel remains on highest alert awaiting the Islamic Jihad response to the bombing of its tunnel on October 30th.
Speaking of that tunnel bombing . . .
The IDF announced yesterday that it has recovered the bodies of 5 Islamic Jihad terrorists who were killed in the tunnel collapse.
They were all found deep underground on our side of the border.
To repeat: they were all found under Israel.
Now a debate has erupted as to what to do with the bodies. The prevailing opinion at the moment seems to be to hold on to them until the body parts of our two soldiers that were killed in 2015 are returned.
An Elor Azariya case update . . .
Incredibly, as if they have not done enough to demean Azariya already, Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and the Military Advocate General both issued a statement yesterday opposing a pardon for our Hevron soldier.
What is particularly galling about the statement is that Eizenkot had demanded that Azariya not apply for a pardon from President Rivlin until after he had ruled on a possible reduction of Azariya’s sentence.
Now that he has ruled (reducing the 18 month sentence by 4 months), Eizenkot is publicly trying to convince Rivlin not to give a pardon. In fact, Eizenkot’s role in the affair should have been over, but he continues to try to keep Azariya imprisoned.
At every stage of this absurd affair, the Chief of Staff and Military Advocate General have behaved in the most unsavory and unprofessional manner.
The Incredible Case of Evyatar Turgeman
With battles taking place on the Syrian border, the Lebanese PM resigning because of threats on his life from Iranian/Hezbollah elements in his country, the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh apparently being targeted by a ballistic missile fired from Yemen, the story of the supposed renaming of the Tomer Elementary School in Bet Shean might seem insignificant.
But what it says about the divisions in Israeli society speaks volumes about the problems in this country today.
Who was Evyatar Turgeman?
He was a 20-year-old Staff Sergeant in the IDF who was killed in a firefight with terrorists in the Khan Younis section of Gaza on July 22, 2014. By all accounts, he died in a heroic attempt to save his fellow soldiers.
Evyatar was born into a religious family in Beit Shean and graduated from the religious school system at Yeshivat Hakotel in the old city of Jerusalem. He joined the IDF and became a member of the elite Paratrooper Brigade. He was one of 62 IDF soldiers from Beit Shean who fought in the Gaza War (Operation Protective Edge).
At Evyatar’s funeral, his elder brother Yinon gave this eloquent and moving eulogy:
“My words have been written during these days of awe. Days of courage and heroism, of the spirit of giving, the spirit of love and brotherhood. Days of Israeliness.
These are days during which we can actually see the things that our minds have always believed — that we are an amazing and steadfast people, as strong as a rock. We have roots that no wind in the world could ever destroy, not even the brutal and murderous wind blowing out of Gaza. Ancient roots, nourished by our forefathers — Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Indeed, during these days of hardship and struggle, our past — our history — rises up to give strength to the war of the present and to the building of the future.
During this time of pain and loss, the pain belongs to the bereaved families. A hole has been opened in the heart and soul of each and every family which has lost a loved one. So, too, a hole has been created in the heart of all of Israel.
I cannot let these days pass without trying to examine them, and to understand and breathe in the special fragrance which exudes from my people of Israel at the height of its glory. The people of Israel during the days of Operation Protective Edge.
The greatest pain of all — a pain which pierces the heart and opens up a wound which will bleed forever — has served to reveal the spirit, the strength and the bravery that is in each one of us. We are a nation well-versed in pain. We learn from our fighters, from our beloved sons who have given their lives in this war for us. They have taught us the secret of victory — the combination of courage and humility, of heroism and kindness.
We are no longer ashamed to declare that our lives are great, that our goals and ideals are immense. Ours is a people which thirsts for life, which loves life with a love that is so great that it knows no bounds. By virtue of this love, we know not fear. Staring straight into the face of death, we sacrifice life in order to preserve life.
We, the Turgeman family of Beit She’an, mourn the loss of Evyatar Moshe, our son and brother, who fell on the 24th of Tammuz, 5774, in Khan Yunis. We are just one of the many families of Operation Protective Edge. A family in pain, but proud to be another link – small, but so powerful – in the chain of Israel’s redemption. A chain of heroism and humility, a chain of fighters who gave everything for the continued existence of Am Yisrael in its land.
We grieve. We cannot yet grasp the scale of our loss and the longing for what is no longer, for what might have been built by these heroes. But we also understand. We are proud. With God’s help, we will learn to rejoice for those who will be born at this time. For the heroism of our fighters and their victory over death. For Israel’s unity and solidarity — to each other and to our leaders. We are privileged to be a part of this enterprise.
Thank you for your heroism, your kindness, your brotherhood and your love at this time.”
In 2015, Hesder students from Yeshivat Hakotel dedicated their annual weekend of serving as counselors for Bnei Akiva Youth Movement’s Shabbat Irgun to the memory of Evyatar who had been a fervent Bnei Akiva member and the leader of the youth movement in his home town of Beit Shean.
At the time, a friend of his said this:
“Evyatar was serious about everything he did. Already in our first year at Hakotel he knew what he expected from himself. He was straight as an arrow and very serious about learning Torah; something you don’t see in many 18-year-old boys. We want to expose the Bnei Akiva kids this weekend to the traits that Evatar personified – genuine integrity, and a clear conviction to holiness and serving Hashem.”
Evyatar always strove to live up to his name which means “God is Great.”
All of which brings us to this year.
At which time the Beit Shean Municipality decided to change the name of the local Tomer school to “Evyatar.”
It was a wonderful gesture. A celebration was planned for this week and preparations were made. Evyatar’s parents were especially gratified by the honor being given to their son.
But then something went awry.
A group of parents of children at the Tomer school decided that they opposed the name change primarily on the basis that the Tomer school is a “state school”, and Evyatar graduated from Israel’s religious school system.
To put it a different way, they objected to having their children attend a school named after an orthodox Jew.
And so, after a week of heated debate, the Beit Shean Municipality caved in to the parents and decided to freeze the name change. Three days ago, the Education Ministry canceled the celebration that was to have taken place, with an official commenting:
“All this farce is disgraceful, painful and unfortunate. Eviatar’s father feels that his son has fallen twice.”
Your humble servant feels the same way.
There was no discrimination when the 62 sons of Beit Shean went off to fight for our country, but in death, discrimination has reared its ugly head.
The parents of the Tomer school who fought against the name change, the Beit Shean Municipality which caved in to the parents, and the Education Ministry should all be embarrassed and deeply ashamed.
If this is what we are coming to in Israel, we are in serious trouble.
Evyatar Moshe Turgeman
May his memory always be blessed.