This week would have been my daughter's 21st birthday.
She won't be here to celebrate it, though. Five years ago, a Palestinian terrorist ended my Malki's life while she stood in line in the Sbarro pizza restaurant in the center of Jerusalem. Fourteen other innocent Israelis, including seven children, perished with her. One family was decimated - both parents and three of their eight children died.
That terror bombing elicited responses from leaders around the world. But not many. And certainly nowhere near as many as Israel's November 8th attack on Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip. That misfired artillery shell has unleashed a torrent of anti-Israel rhetoric both within Israel and beyond. After the first 24 hours, it drew 2,026 articles on Google. Fifty Sri Lankan civilians were killed in another artillery shelling that same day. By comparison, only 141 stories reported on their deaths.
Those 20 Palestinian victims generated immediate and heated finger-pointing and chest-beating. The European Union's spokesman called it a "profoundly shocking event." Italy's foreign minister saw it as "an escalation of violence I think is unacceptable." United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, found it such a "shocking development" that he promptly convened the Security Council. The Pope's representative in the Holy Land declared that he was "full of sorrow."
Three weeks later the Beit Hanoun tragedy still features in media headlines.
Five years ago when my child was murdered in cold blood, Mr. Annan could not find the time to address the media. He sent a spokesman to read his statement deploring not only that terrorist bombing but "all acts of terror" - familiar code words for Israel's actions against Palestinian terrorists.
The EU President's response oddly pointed out that the Sbarro bombing "mainly claimed the lives of innocent civilians." Which of the men, women and children having lunch in that restaurant was not "innocent" is anyone's guess.
The Vatican did not react at all.
But who can blame foreign leaders when Israel's own pundits and leaders set the same tone.
Gideon Levy, who writes for Israel's pre-eminent daily, Haaretz, fancies himself a champion of the weak and vulnerable. The day after my child's cold-blooded murder by a Hamas bomber, Levy wrote the following in his weekly piece detailing Palestinian suffering:
"These children, every child in the world should have protection as though he were a VIP. Every child in the world is a VIP."
Levy did not mention the seven Jewish children whose graves were dug that day because he did not mean those children. He never does.
Haaretz consistently runs three or more articles of Levy's every week. In the wake of Beit Hanoun, his op-ed, "No one is Guilty in Israel" ranted and raved with characteristic disregard for fact or context:
"Nineteen inhabitants of Beit Hanoun were killed with malice aforethought", writes Levy, "The IDF bombards helpless civilians… the ritual slaughterer slaughtered… The [Israeli] air force was already hastening to carry out another targeted killing…"
Levy's colleague, Amira Hass, the only Israeli journalist who lives in a Palestinian town, Ramallah, was equally indifferent to my child's murder. The first piece she published in Haaretz after the Sbarro massacre made no mention of the fifteen victims. Instead, it was an emotive tirade about the Palestinian right of return, reminding her readers of two major Jewish settlements close to Jerusalem that she fears "won't be evacuated": the city of Maaleh Adumim and the Jerusalem satellite community of Givat Ze'ev.
Murdered Jewish children do not move Hass either.
But after Beit Hanoun, Amira Hass found plenty of words to grieve for the dead. With her customary flood of mood-setting but irrelevant detail she wrote of Zahar whose son had been killed and who lay in the Beit Hanoun hospital:
"After the first shell… her 14 year old daughter May helped her find her headscarf, skirt and pants, but she had no time to cover her head."
Benny Zifir, Haaretz' television critic, could not resist the left-wing urge to equate Israel's responses to terrorism with Nazism. Carefully avoiding the taboo "N" word, he denigrated two local journalists who had prided themselves on mentioning the Beit Hanoun deaths on their current affairs program. He made this gross comparison:
"[It] reminds one of the French parodies of those who claim they were once in the Resistance. When you ask them what their act of resistance was they reply that when the Germans matched in their town they didn't go out to the balcony to cheer them on."
Even Haaretz' editors, normally more moderate than their columnists, have joined the fray. Beit Hanoun is no different from Sderot in their eyes. After the fatal Qassam attacks of November 17, their editorial, "Two Miserable Towns", equated their "mutual misery and mutual intimidation". Somehow the editors are no longer able to distinguish between the targeting of innocent women and children and deaths in the course of combating terrorists who deliberately strike from the heart of residential neighborhoods.
Our Prime Minister couldn't apologize quickly enough. His abject contrition would have been far more appropriate five years ago after the Sbarro bombing. But as mayor of Jerusalem, he, along with then Prime Minister Sharon and his government, saw no reason to apologize for their failure to protect civilians within their county's borders.
Not one government official (other than Rabbi Benny Eilon MK) visited or called us after our Malki's murder. In a radio interview this week, government minister Gideon Ezra took a giant step toward empathy with the enemy over his own nation. Even the journalist was taken aback when Ezra referred to the Beit Hanoun deaths as a "massacre". Only when his choice of words was questioned did he add that "oh, yes - Sderot is a massacre as well".
The family of the latest terror victim, Sderot's Yaakov Yaakovy, was outraged by the failure of even one government official to attend the funeral or pay them a shiva call.
"Why doesn't anyone come to us?" his son asked, "If he were Moroccan, they would be here," he added.
While this is surely no comfort, I can assure the family that such conduct has typified our overnment throughout this six-year long war, regardless of the victims' ethnicity.
While the Israel's Left lumbers Israel with blame over Palestinian deaths, the Palestinians themselves seem as nonchalant about death as ever. They recklessly fire rockets from close proximity to civilian dwellings and often with children standing at their sides.
A few days prior to the Beit Hanoun deaths, terrorists holed up in a mosque brazenly surrounded themselves with unarmed women to serve them as human shields.
What can the future hold for us now that our pundits and leaders have adopted the extreme Left's moral compass? What will become of us, a nation that glosses over the murder of its own children in favor of its enemies' children?
Tzvia Greenfield, a staunch left-wing Meretz politician, sees the alarming writing on the wall. She said this of her colleagues, a few days ago in a caustic Haaretz piece entitled, "The Fault of the Left":
"Too many in today's Israeli Left doubt the justice of the very existence of the Jewish State."
And, sadly, too many of the Israeli Left are at the helm of this nation.
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