The Lessons Learned from Jerusalem Synagogue Attack

The attack by two Palestinian terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) early today at 7:00AM Israel Standard Time at the Kehillat Yaakov synagogue in  Jerusalem sent a shock wave through Israel and the Jewish diaspora.
Rabbi murdered J'm synagogue
The perpetrators shot and slaughtered four rabbis; three Americans and one  Briton, dual citizens,six other worshipers were wounded  at early morning minyan prayers   CNN reported:

The four killed were all rabbis: Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 58; Aryeh Kopinsky, 43; Moshe Twersky, 59; and Calman Levine. Goldberg was a dual British-Israeli citizen, and the other three were U.S.-Israeli citizens — which is why the FBI is investigating the attack, according to a U.S. law enforcement official.

An arm of a Jewish worshipper wrapped in tefillin (phylacteries) was chopped off by one of the two assailants. Blood according to one of the eyewitnesses was splattered over the pews, prayer books and prayer shawls or tallit of the dead and wounded.

Watch this CNN video of the bloody carnage left behind at the Kehillat Yaakov Synagogue attack:

Palestinian Cousins who perpetrated
the Jerusalem were Members
of the PFLP

A third  suspect is still being  pursued by Israel police.  The perpetrators came equipped with guns, knives and a meat cleaver to conduct their barbarous rampage on the early morning worshippers at the Jerusalem synagogue.

They were shot dead by two police officers who rushed to the scene, one of whom was attacked by the perpetrators and  succumbed to his wounds in hospital bringing  to death toll to five victims. The perpetrators came from the Jebel Mukhaber section of East Jerusalem.  One of them had worked at a grocery near the Kehillat Yaakov synagogue.  That gave rise to comments on a CNN report about today’s  synagogue  attack   by  long term US Middle East negotiator  Aaron David Miller. He called it the new wave of  “proximity” violence. The perpetrators were allegedly motivated by the  apparent suicide of a Palestinian Bus Driver, Youseff  al Roumani , who hung himself at an Egged Bus terminal.  Palestinians seeking revenge seized upon al Roumani’s death alleging it had been perpetrated by Jews.

Jeff Dunetz of Yid with a Lid blog posted a graphic portrayal of the synagogue attack, “Murder in Jerusalem Synagogue-Terrorists Slaughter At Least Four during Morning Prayers”:

This is the first time Palestinian terrorists have targeted and murdered worshipers inside synagogue (there have been attacks outside synagogues).
Shas Party member Aryeh Deri, who was in the Shul during the attack  told Army Radio there was  blood on the pews and floor, with wounded and dead worshipers still wrapped in talit and tefillin. “They were shouting ‘Allah Akbar,’ as they carried out the attack,” he said, and he tried to call police as the murder spree unfolded.

Vic Rosenthal, an American Israeli of the Abu Yehuda blog, posted his views of this latest Palestinian slaughter, This is the Jewish state — get used to it.  He had just finished walking his two grandsons to pre-school in Jerusalem when news broke about the attack. He inserted a Tweet from the head of the Israel Zaka emergency service on the horror at the scene:

I cannot remember a sight as shocking as the scene in the synagogue. Jews wrapped in prayer shawls and [tefillin] wallowing in puddles of blood … images we saw only in the Holocaust. Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, head of Zaka emergency service cited by from Avi Mayer via Twitter.

Palestinian Cartoon ‘celebrating’ Jerusalem Synagogue Attack

Today’s murderous Islamikaze attack at the Kehillat Yaakov synagogue signaled that nowhere in Jerusalem are Jews safe from barbaric attacks.  This was only surpassed in recent memory by the 2008 attack by a Palestinian who machine gunned and killed eight Yeshiva students in Jerusalem.  It is also reminiscent of the historic slaughter of 200 Jews in Hebron in 1929.  The Second Intifada was perpetrated by the late Yassir Arafat over the Temple Mount visit by the late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon on September 28, 2000. More than 1,038 Jewish Israelis were killed in suicide bus bombings and attacks perpetrated by Palestinians terrorists.  One grisly horror during the Second Intifada was the heinous suicide bombing of a group of holocaust survivors gathered to celebrate a Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya on March 27, 2002; 30 were killed and 140 were injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. The bomber was identified as Abdel-Basset Odeh, a 25-year-old from the nearby West Bank city of Tulkarm.  Use of cyanide was planned in the Park Hotel bombing.  The IDF launched Operation Defensive Shield following the Park Hotel bombing.  The Second Intifada didn’t end until 2005, nearly a year following Arafat’s death.

PM Netanyahu announced that this latest abomination would be “dealt with a heavy hand”.  Already Israeli police and security forces are combing through the Jebel Mukhaber looking for other terrorists and perhaps getting ready to evacuate for destruction the houses occupied by the two perpetrators.  While President Abbas may have condemned today’s Jerusalem synagogue attack, he nevertheless has been inciting violence in East Jerusalem over alleged Jewish presence on the Temple Mount,  what Muslims refer to as their Noble Sanctuary.  Curiously, while Hamas hasn’t claimed responsibility it welcomed the synagogue slaughter “as a heroic act”.  Palestinians in Gaza were celebrating the murderous Jerusalem synagogue attack with sweets.

This morning, Ted Belman, editor/publisher of the blog Israpundit, a Canadian-Israeli residing in Jerusalem, held a Skype  discussion about the messages that today’s synagogue attack conveys.  Listen here.

For Israelis, Belman believes the implications of today’s attack were best captured in the  Abu Yehuda post by Vic Rosenthal and a recent Jerusalem Post column by Martin Sherman.  Rosenthal wrote:

We know that despite the fact that last week John Kerry announced after meeting with Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian leader “restated his commitment to nonviolence and to restoring calm,” official Palestinian Authority media continues to broadcast incitement against Israel and Jews (see also here).


We know that the Palestinian Authority as well as Hamas-linked media have been stirring up trouble by claiming that Israel intends to take over or destroy the al-Aqsa mosque.

It’s time for a reevaluation of the relationship between Israel and the PA, as well as its Arab residents. I suggest that we start with the passage of the Basic Law that defines Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and follow up with the annexation of Area C, the parts of Judea and Samaria that are under Israeli control and where all the Jewish communities are. Areas A and B, where 97% of the Arabs live, can be granted political autonomy, but must remain under Israeli security control — borders, airspace, etc.

Is this a problem? Too bad. A completely sovereign ‘Palestine’ in the territories is inconsistent with the continued existence of a Jewish state. This is true regardless of the “aspirations of the Palestinian people.” This isn’t something that can be negotiated; it’s a fact of geography.

“Israel Alone but Afraid”

Last Sunday, The Lisa Benson Show explored the conflict between free speech and incitement to violence on a program, presciently titled, “Israel Alone and Unafraid”.  Our two  guests were Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, adviser  on domestic counterterrorism to the British government and expert witness at the UN Human Rights Council on IDFconduct of operations against Hamas. Also appearing was Dr. Raphael Israeli, noted author, lecturer and retired Hebrew University Scholar on Islamic and East Asian Studies. They drew attention to the common tactics that Hamas and the Al Aqsa brigade of Fatah-PLO to manipulate blood libels and Islamic doctrine to justify attacks against Jews, Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East and in the West.  Col. Kemp suggested that incitement to violence should be made subject to domestic legal prohibitions, subject to rules of what constitutes free speech in the West. Dr. Israeli addressed why his term Islamikaze, derived from a book of the same name, reflects  the Islamic doctrinal imperative to commit barbarous jihad against unbelievers that we have seen in the Jerusalem synagogue attacks and others in Great Britain, the EU, Canada  and America.

Listen to the Lisa Benson Show discussion with Col. Kemp and Dr. Israeli.

Sherman, in his usual elegance wrote in a Jerusalem Post, “Into the Fray” column, On the cusp of carnage:

After years of counterproductive concessions and compromise, it is unlikely that the situation is still retrievable by consensual means, and remedial measures will require coercive action on a wide scale.

What is called for today is not a repetition of reticent restraint, but the demonstration of ruthless resolve.

Unless the Jews convey the unequivocal message that any such challenge to their sovereignty will be met with overwhelming lethal force, they will increasingly be the victims of such force at the hands of their Arab adversaries.

As discussed with Belman  this may mean revising Israel’s Basic Law to conform to what we in the US know is the  legal doctrine propounded by the revered US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. That is the limits of free speech verging on incitement, the famed yelling fire in a theater paradigm.  But there is more that  might be considered by Likud and junior coalition partners in the  Netanyahu government on the verge of a new election campaign.  That is punishing sedition by sitting Members of the Arab Knesset list seeking Israel’s destruction  at the hands of its Muslim fundamentalist enemies.  Witness Salafist Israeli Sheik Rael Salah perennially  jailed for violent incitement to create a Caliphate  in Jerusalem.  He and others like him should be deprived of citizenship and ejected from Israel.   Israel should foster loyalty among its Muslim citizens by including them in service to the State. Israeli Arab Muslims already have the fourth highest level of living standards in the region and live under the rule of law; something they can’t claim elsewhere.  Minority Christians and Druze  in Israel know that. They readily admit, the Jewish nation is the only safe place for Druze and Christians in the Middle East with civil and human rights. They demonstrate that loyalty by serving in the IDF and the border police.

The message for Americans.

The wake up message to Americans is that the Administration has fostered this violence by suggesting that Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, must be divided to provide a capital for a Palestinian State.  That is exemplified by the mantra of the West Wing and the State Department that  no peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will continue to  inflame violence by Salafist jihadists like the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.  That myopic delusion must end. For the incoming GOP controlled Congress, it means sending a message  in Twitter terms to #defundthePA and #depopulate Gaza instead of reconstructing it. Israel has valued allies in the new 114th Congress, perhaps those initiatives could be brought to the fore for  possible legislative action. Already we read of stirrings by Congress to deal with possible Administration unilateral action  implementing a  P5+1 deal with a nuclear Iran, Israel’s mortal threat in the region. In the meantime, Israel knows that notwithstanding the attempts at isolating it by the Administration and by some members of the EU, America has the Jewish nation’s back.

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