November 20, 2018

Istanbul and Hallel

After the Istanbul airport terror attack that left 49 dead and hundreds wounded, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement, “Make no mistake, for terror groups, there are no differences between Istanbul, London, Berlin, Ankara or Chicago.”

Too bad he left out Tel Aviv. Too bad he left out Kiryat Arba.

Because just two days after the Istabul horror, a 17 year-old Palestinian terrorist named Mohammad Tra'ayra, climbed over a fence in the Israeli town of Kiryat Arba, burst into a  home, and stabbed to death 13-year-old Hallel Yaffe Ariel as she slept.

The girl’s blood on the floor, walls and mattress of her childhood bedroom is no different, no less precious and holy than the blood staining the entryway to the Istanbul airport.  the brutality and senselessness no less profound, the sorrow of her family — of us all — no less deep.

What did Erdogan, the self-styled leader of Sunni Muslims, say following her murder? 

Nothing. And that’s a second tragedy.

Because unless and until Muslim leaders condemn all terror, whether it takes place in Istanbul or New York or Paris or Hebron, terror will continue to spread.  Accepting terror anywhere is accepting terror everywhere.

For decades, Israel has been the canary in the coal mines for international terror.  No matter how brutal the Palestinian tactics — killing schoolchildren in Ma’alot,  pushing a wheelchair-bound old man off a cruise ship, blowing up diners at a pizza restaurant — the vast majority of Muslim leaders have either remained silent or rationalized the murders.  Before the 1967 Six Day War, acts of terror against Israelis were justified as part of a war for liberation.  After 1967, the rationale for killing innocents has been that it is a war against occupation.  

The sickness continues. After Hallel’s murderer was shot dead by an Israeli security guard, his parents quickly pronounced their cowardly son a “martyr.”  Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said nothing, and, according to a report in Haaretz, the coward’s family will receive compensation for his death from the PA.

By giving terrorists a pass in their attacks on innocent Jews, the Muslim world helps them perfect their tactics and elevates murderers to heroes.  And then they are shocked, shocked, when these delusional young men and woman inspire others to use these same tactics against innocent Turks, Parisians and Saudis. 

You reap what you sow.  The same sick terrorist minds who believe they are giving the Jews what their Muslim leaders think they have coming, now are getting the same violence coming at them.  If not one of them will condemn the murder of a 13-year-old child in her bed, not one of them should be surprised when the next stabbing takes the life of one of their own sons and daughters. There was zero justification, zero, to take the life of Hallel.   Stabbing an innocent in cold blood is inhuman and despicable. It is anti-peace and, therefore, anti-Palestinian. And the Palestinians who justify it can and will go to hell until they figure that out.

A day after the murder, a Palestinian peace activist named Nadiya al-Noor said it best.

In a column on the Times of Israel website, she wrote, “Let me tell you something. Stabbing pregnant women in the stomach is not ‘resistance.’ Shooting people at a cafe is not ‘resistance.’ Driving your car into pedestrians is not ‘resistance.’ Bombing a bus is not ‘resistance.’ Breaking into a woman’s home and murdering her in front of her children is not ‘resistance.’ And stabbing a little girl to death in the one place where she was supposed to be safe is certainly not ‘resistance.’ Terrorism is not resistance. Terrorism is an unjustifiable crime.”

This is the simple truth Erdogan and other Muslim leaders must begin to convey to their people. And they can add this as well: It starts with the Jews. It never ends there.

ROB ESHMAN is publisher and editor-in-chief of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal. Email him at You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @foodaism and @RobEshman.