This morning, I discovered this graffiti scrawled fifty yards from the school in which I study. For those who don’t read Hebrew, it says “Jews! Vengeance!” It is a call by Jewish extremists to attack Arabs in the wake of the murder of the three yeshiva students. As is well known by now, one Arab youth was burned to death, allegedly by such extremists.
There is no place in Judaism for such sick and profane individuals who call for death and retribution against Arabs. To the credit of Prime Minister Netanyahu he has acted swiftly to condemn such behavior and vows to punish Jewish criminals who injure Arabs. Incredibly, I have read comments by some who say, “Well, it’s not like we are ISIS in Iraq-how come the media always picks on us”? Is that now our standard for moral behavior-that at least we are not as bad as those depraved murderers?
The Torah portion for this Shabbat tells the story of Pinchas, a zealot who murders in the name of religion. Our rabbis made it clear that Pinchas is no role model for us. However, it is clear that some misguided Jews did not get the rabbinic message.