West Bank riots flare up after Palestinian baby’s funeral


An Israeli policeman was lightly wounded in one of several riots and attacks by Palestinians following the funeral of a baby who died in a fire near Nablus allegedly started by Jewish extremists.

The officer was wounded in eastern Jerusalem when he was hit by a stone hurled at him by a Palestinian during a riot near the Temple Mount Friday, Army Radio reported. Security forces arrested a suspect in connection with the incident.

Separately, unidentified individuals opened fire on an Israeli vehicle near the West Bank settlement of Kochav Hashachar. The car was hit by bullets, but the people inside were not hurt.

In a third incident, rioters in the Jerusalem-area Palestinian village of Isawiya threw firebombs and stones at police officers, resulting in no injuries.

The attacks occurred hours after the burial of Ali Saad Dawabsha, an 18-month-old baby who died in a fire started by unidentified individuals at his home in the Nablus-area village of Duma. The arsonists left Hebrew-language graffiti about revenge at the site, and Israeli police suspect Jewish extremists caused the fire.

Several of Dawabsha’s relatives, including his parents, were injured in the fire. His older brother has burns in 60 percent of his body. The arson occurred amid a string of violent attacks by Jewish extremists, including a near-fatal stabbing at the Jerusalem gay pride parade Thursday and the torching last month of a church in the Galilee.

In a statement to Palestinian media, Hamas said that “now every Israeli is a legitimate target” following the arson, according to Ma’ariv. The terrorist group also called for “a day of rage” to protest the killing and to “defend the Al Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the Dawabsha family at the Israeli hospital where several of them are recovering, spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the phone Friday and said that everyone in Israel was shocked by the “reprehensible terrorism against the Dawabsha family,” his office wrote in a statement.

“We must fight terrorism together regardless of which side it comes from,” said Netanyahu, adding that he had ordered the security forces to use all measures to locate the murderers.

Abbas’ spokesperson has blamed Israel’s settlement policy for the killing and vowed to bring the case to the International Criminal Court.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement released in both Hebrew and Arabic that Israel had not done enough to combat Jewish extremists:  “I feel a sense of shame, and moreover a sense of pain. Pain over the murder of a small baby. Pain that from my people, there are those who have chosen the path of terrorism, and have lost their humanity.”

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis remembered with tears and laughter at funeral


My immortality, if there be such for me, is not in tears, blame or self-recrimination.

But in the joy you give to others, in raising the fallen and loosening the fetters of the bound.

In your loyalty to God’s special children – the widow, the orphan, the poor, the stranger in your gates, the weak – I take pride.

 

As was often the case, Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis said it best, even at his own funeral service, in the excerpts, (a portion of which is reprinted above), from his poem “For Those Beloved Who Survive Me,” printed in the program.

Despite the rabbi’s admonition, there were tears at the funeral service on Dec. 21 among the more than 1,500 speakers friends, congregants and admirers who overflowed the large Valley Beth Shalom sanctuary and into adjoining rooms. Rabbi Schulweis died on Dec. 18 at 89.

But there was laughter, too, as rabbinical colleagues, family members and others profoundly touched by the rabbi’s warmth and wisdom recalled anecdotes from the rich life of the man who was arguably the most influential synagogue leader of his generation.

Three rabbis who had worked closely with him, Joshua Hoffman, Stewart Vogel and Noah Farkas, recalled Schulweis’ modesty, erudition and their difficulty in addressing their revered mentor as “Harold,” despite the latter’s insistence. “For most of us, the voice of God was Rabbi Harold Schulweis,” Vogel said. But he was also marked by “rabbinic humility.” Vogel added.

Rabbi Schulweis’ younger cousin, Harvey Schulweis, observed that when the former spoke “he looked into your soul, and there was no one else in the room but you and me.”

As if to illuminate these words, sunlight, reflected through a stained glass window, streamed across the bimah.

Janice Kamenir-Resnick, whom Schulweis enlisted as co-founder of the Jewish World Watch, thanked her mentor for “making us leave our comfort zone” and for “opening your mouth and opening my eyes.”